The prospect of a long haul flight where you are stuck inside a cramped plane for hours on end is not particularly thrilling, even when you know the end destination will make it all worth it. With the booming business district of Beijing around 11 hours from London Heathrow and the United States of America around eight hours away, some business trips can get off to a slow start.
So how do you turn the situation to your advantage and get the most you can out of long haul flights?
Get your nose down
A plane is the perfect place to get some work done, primarily because you are confined to your seat and because you have hours ahead of you with nothing else to do. Make the most of your travel time by taking your laptop and key documents onto the plane and getting your head down to finish that big presentation or tie up any loose ends. You’ll step off the plane feeling fully prepped and ready to go with a less cumbersome to-do list.
Remember to take USB sticks and any other gadgets you might need with you as well as headphones to block out any unwanted noise that could prove distracting.
Familiarise yourself with your destination
Whether you’re spending 24 hours or a whole week in your destination, it is well worth making sure you have at least a basic knowledge of the culture so that you know what to expect. Not only will you know how to conduct yourself but you will also impress the clients you have flown out to meet, especially if you can master a couple of phrases.
Get hold of a guidebook before you board the plane and get up to speed before you land.
Kick back and relax
Chances are, you’ve been incredibly busy in the run-up to a business trip and you’ll be rushed off your feet when you arrive at your destination, whether you need to prepare for a presentation or meet up with new or long-standing clients.
A plane is the only place you are not expected to be able to reply to emails, calls or texts so enjoy the peace and quiet and take some time to yourself before the madness begins when you’re back on solid ground!
Get some shut-eye
You might want to use this time to sleep, firstly to starve off boredom and secondly to help you adjust to your new time zone. Figure out beforehand how much you should sleep, taking into account the duration of your flight, the departure time and the local time of arrival.
Once you have considered all of the inputs, you can formulate a sleeping strategy. Remember to pack the appropriate gear into your hand luggage to help you drop off to sleep, including a comfortable travel pillow, masks and earplugs to shut out light and noise.
Whether you are planning to sleep or work, it might be worth considering the benefits of an aisle seat, where you won’t be disturbed by row-mates who need to stretch their legs or use the facilities.