How to De-stress during Business Travel

October 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel is inevitable these days, as companies hire fewer people and give them bigger territories to manage. Bigger territories translate into stress that accompanies your travel like its own baggage; if left unattended, it can lead to some serious health issues. Just because you have to be on the road doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Here are some effective ways to de-stress on the road.

1. Your itinerary. Make it a point never to fly into a city the same day you have a meeting or are scheduled to speak at a conference. Too many things can go wrong, and when (not if) they do, you’re setting yourself up for increased anxiety and distraction. Going in the night before allows you to start the day refreshed, prepared, and organized. Feel free to fly home the same day the meeting ends, but don’t schedule your travel so tightly that you’re frazzled by the time you meet your client.

Your business travel doesn't have to be stressful. Silhouette of a man walking through an airport.2. Create a strategy for the airport. Scout out an off-site parking facility that takes reservations and provides efficient shuttle service to and from the terminal. Doing so will save you time and energy traversing the parking lots looking for a spot. Next, as if we haven’t said this enough, get TSA PreCheck. Again, time saved is mental energy gained.

3. Look for all the ways you can streamline your experience. Mark Weinstein, senior vice president and global head of customer engagement, loyalty, and partnerships at Hilton, said in an Entrepreneurship.com article, “[I choose] brands whose apps let me choose my own seat on the plane, hotel room, or type of car . . . so I join all the airport trusted traveler programs, and, whenever possible, choose a hotel that allows me to check in on my phone and use it as a room key.”

4. Set a travel budget for each trip, as well as the year. We all know that money changes everything, and aligning your expenses with your budget will help you focus on what you’re there to achieve, not on what’s flying out of your wallet. Create a plan and stick to it, and you can nip that potential worry in the bud by utilizing online price comparison sites to find affordable lodging, car rental, and dining.

5. Finally, schedule personal time during your trip. Setting boundaries — no meetings after dinner or no early-morning meetings or no email checking after a certain time of the evening — will help you feel in control of the process and afford you much-needed time to decompress, debrief, and detach. All those things are good for your health, both mental and physical.

As you travel keep this in mind: Tomorrow is another day, and each day has enough trouble of its own. Give yourself the gift of time — it’ll improve your travel, your meetings, your physical and mental health, and allow you to return home de-stressed and possibly even refreshed.

How do you de-stress during you business travel? Spring for a massage, or relax at a coffee shop after the day ends? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: RobertBMueller (Pixabay, Creative Commons 2.0)

Which is Better for Air Travel, Aisle or Window? Your Choice Says a Lot About You

October 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The debate has raged since the dawn of air travel: Which is better, the window seat or the aisle seat?

A few years ago, Expedia polled their readers to find the majority preference. The results may surprise you.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they prefer the window seat, while only 45 percent say they always choose the aisle seat. Almost no one wanted the middle seat. (No great surprise there.)

According to University of Washington psychology professor Jonathan Bricker, these choices say things about each traveler. Those who choose the aisle value their freedom, he said. They can get up and go to the bathroom without asking anyone. They’re also all business. This means they’re probably going to be up working or reading a book. They also tend to be claustrophobic. Proponents of this seat choice also cite access to overhead bins, the ability to get up and walk around on long-haul flights, increased legroom, and priority exiting when deplaning.

The seat you choose for your air travel says a lot about you. This is a picture of an empty SuperJet plane with blue seats and blue carpets.Those who cast their vote for the window seat value privacy, Bricker adds, and are nesters, making their own cozy space in the corner. They’re also dreamers, so chances are they’re staring out the window until they fall asleep on their pillow against the wall. These fliers also claim there’s is the superior choice because they control the window shade, are rarely asked to switch seats so family members can sit together, and aren’t inconvenienced by fellow passengers because their seat location isn’t on the way to the bathroom.

Regardless of your own preference, you can be fully informed about the options for your seat preference by using seatguru.com. Before making a reservation, choose an airline and destination, and all the flights for that day will be specified by type of aircraft. Selecting the “View Map” button allows you to see detailed seat configurations for the flight you’re considering, which will help you select just the seat for you. (Or you can just risk it and buy your ticket on your favorite airline, and then choose your seat.)

The one thing the aisle and window seat travelers agree on? Both hate the middle seat. If you’re that person who actually prefers it, Bricker says you’re most likely a “chatty Kathy,” an extrovert who likes to talk, talk, talk. Either way, you’re welcome to it.

What’s your favorite seat? Would you pay extra to know you could sit there? Or do you just buy your ticket and hope for the best? Share some stories with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: SuperJet International (Wikimedia Commons)

The Benefits of Bleisure Travel for Business Travelers

October 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

That proverb has a lesser-known second phrase which dates back to 1825: “All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

With so many people spending significant amounts of time away from home on business, family relationships can suffer. What if there was a way to bring the family along on a trip, build in some leisure time, and come back from the trip not only accomplishing your purpose but getting away as well? You can do that, and it’s called bleisure travel, a portmanteau of business + leisure. And it’s a great way to make business travel a little more enjoyable for you and your family.

Here are several ways to plan bleisure travel.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it's especially fun if you're near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it’s especially fun if you’re near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

If you’re going to a popular tourist area, say Orlando, for business, the company is paying for your airfare and your hotel. Why not take your family with you? If you do that, you’re already down there, and that’s one less airline ticket you’ll buy personally. Plus, the room is already paid for, regardless of who’s in it. (If the hotel charges more for more guests, you can personally pay the difference.)

If you don’t think you’ll be able to divide your attention between work and the family, arrange for them to arrive at the end of your scheduled business and extend your stay at the hotel over the weekend or the entire week. We’re not suggesting you bill the company for those extra days, but that’s one less logistic you have to think of when planning your time away with your family.

Those who are entrepreneurs or self-employed could write off part of the expenses related to the business travel even if the family is in tow. For example, if you are representing your company at a trade show, the miles you drive to that event and the lodging costs for the days that coincide with your work can both be expensed to your business, even while your family is off doing their own thing. While you may not be able to do everything the family does due to your obligations, you can capitalize on the fact that you can meet up with them at the end of the day to share meals and have some special experiences.

Another type of bleisure travel is the “busman’s holiday.” The Oxford Dictionary defines that as “a period of holiday or leisure time spent doing something similar to one’s normal occupation.” A professional writer who attends a writer’s conference, a contractor who takes a week off work to participate in a Habitat for Humanity building project, and a travel agent who goes on a cruise so they can share their firsthand knowledge of the experience with their clients are all choosing a busman’s holiday.

Have you ever taken a bleisure travel trip? Where did you go? What did you do for the vacation portion? Share some stories with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

 

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)

Uber and Lyft Overtake Taxis for Business Travel

September 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve been hearing rumors for a while, but now there’s data to back up what many have been saying: Uber and Lyft are being used more than taxis for business travel.

According to a report by Certify, a travel expense management software company, at the end of the third quarter of last year, ride-hailing services accounted for more than half of all business travel receipts in the ground transportation category.

The taxi has long been a favorite mode of transportation for business travel.In its analysis of 10 million receipts, Uber was clearly the favorite, and it’s easy to understand why. Both Uber and Lyft provide a simplified, streamlined experience: reservations can be made online; an estimate of the cost is provided before a reservation is secured; users can track the car’s arrival; cars are clean, newer models; and, their drivers are friendly and knowledgeable about their city. No money changes hands, and detailed receipts of the time, date, route, and credit card used are emailed, avoiding fraud by either the user or the driver.

“We continue to see interest in the ride-sharing economy,” Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify, told USA Today. “Small to medium businesses were the early adopters. Now, more Fortune 500 companies are adding them to approved vendor lists.”

Some business travel operators are more skeptical about using ride-sharing services because of the surge pricing, different prices for choosing different sizes of vehicles, and the option some offer, for a lesser fare, of picking up of other passengers along the way to your destination. Taxis provide fixed rate, regardless of the vehicle or the route. Analyzing the ride-sharing options in order to create a policy for their use is something businesses are grappling with because it’s not as simple as hiring a taxi.

As cities determine what regulations ride-sharing services will have to abide by, both companies may plateau, due to restricted availability, say, at airports. But as long as travelers continue to utilize the service, those regulations may not do much to deter growth.

Do you take Uber or Lyft for your business travel? Or do you stick with taxis and car rentals? Share your stories in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Henning 48 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

Busting Five Budget Business Travel Myths

September 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Everyone works hard for their money, and nobody likes the idea of parting with any more of it than necessary. In fact, everybody likes a deal. But when it comes to budget business travel, some of the advice you may have received is nothing more than myth and urban legend. Here are several:

Myth: Unlock your phone for international travel. This is completely unnecessary, unless you are going to be in an area of the world where you will need to be able to make calls whenever you want and you know you won’t have access to any reliable wifi. If you know you’ll have access to wifi, checking in is simply a matter of scheduling a time and finding free or paid wifi. There are other ways to communicate than just voice-to-voice. Apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype make it easy to communicate offline via text or even make Internet-phone calls while abroad.

A rented Nissan Micra in Donegal, Ireland. Beware the business travel myths about rental cars!

A rented Nissan Micra in Donegal, Ireland

Myth: Rental cars are inexpensive overseas. While this may be true, what most Americans don’t know is that the price of fuel everywhere but the US is much more expensive. This turns something that appears reasonable into something that is costly. Public transit is much more developed in foreign countries, so utilize the local buses and trams, and use rail passes for the majority of your around town travel. Ride sharing also exists in foreign cities, so familiarize yourself with those apps before you leave. If it’s necessary to rent a car, consider Transfercar, which connects travelers with cars that need to be relocated, or BlaBlaCar, which allows drivers with available passenger seats the opportunity to sell them to travelers needing a ride.

Myth: Exchange money before you leave the US. With the right credit card in your wallet, this is completely unnecessary. Many credit card companies offer cards with no transaction fees for foreign withdrawals. You will pay a small fee if you use an ATM, but it’s minimal compared to the service fee charged by a bank. One caveat: notify your bank or credit card company of your plans to travel outside the US so your funds won’t be frozen for suspected fraud.

Myth: Book your flights and hotels very early. While there is some truth to securing your accommodations well before your departure, the same rule of thumb does not apply for booking airfare. You only need to plan six to seven weeks in advance in order to get the best price. Watching fares for a few weeks before then will give you the best intel about the fare drop. In fact, travel experts advise it is unwise to book your flight more than two months out.

Myth: Grocery shop instead of eating out. This advice has been proliferated by people who haven’t lived in a big city. (Okay, it was us! We recommended it! But we stand by this advice in most cases). Groceries in major metropolitan areas — New York, London, Toronto, Paris — are known for having higher prices, and the stores are not always easy to get to, especially if you don’t know where to look. You have to take a taxi to get there, traffic is terrible, and if you drive your own car, parking can be an issue. If you’re in a smaller city, then you won’t have as much of a problem.

However, if you’ve done your homework and saved on the other parts of your trip, why would you miss out on experiencing local fare just to save a few bucks? How often do you get to this part of the world, or get this chance to experience this local culture? Be sure to visit some of the best restaurants in the area and try to experience what that city has to offer.

Don’t be deceived; international travel doesn’t have to break the bank. But don’t just take our word for it; investigate your options and make wise decisions, and you’ll find affordable, memorable travel is possible.

What are some budget business travel “myths” have you found and debunked yourself? Do you know any conventional business travel wisdom that we’ve all shared but it turned out to be untrue? Share your ideas in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Joseph Mischyshyn (Geograph.ie, Creative Commons 2.0)

How to Network and Be Productive on the Road

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Business travel can have a lot of perks and benefits: seeing new cities, meeting new people, gaining new knowledge, and closing important deals. But one of the unspoken downsides is the feeling of being cut off from what’s going on at the office and at home. Those feelings can lead to productivity paralysis, but there are ways to maintain and even increase your productivity while on the road.

Network with people as a way to stay productive on the road, and lay the groundwork for future relationships.Network. It may be an informal hotel happy hour or the opening reception at a conference, but meeting new people in these environments often has unexpected positive results. You might learn about a new line of products or meet a potential client, or strategize about working the vendor floor at a trade show. This casual collaboration will stimulate your productivity and simultaneously boost your serotonin (one of the brain’s chemicals responsible for happiness).

Schedule downtime. Restorative activities such as a massage, spa treatment, a quick workout, or even a leisurely walk can help clear your mind and allow you to shed stress and refocus. Team building activities can enhance productivity by providing an opportunity to decompress from the treadmill of work, work, work.

Use flight time. But not in the way you think. Choose uninterrupted mental space by not logging on to the plane’s wifi as a way to relax. Read a book for enjoyment or catch a much-needed nap. Or if you have to stay productive, work offline on projects that require intense focus. Then you’ll arrive either refreshed or with a sense of accomplishment. Both are needed for productivity.

Attend a meetup for work or your hobbies. In most big cities, there are meetups and group gatherings for just about any topic. If you’re a writer, there may be writing events in the city you’re visiting. Or business networking groups. Or industry association chapters. Check out Meetup.com or your favorite group’s website to see if there are any meetings going on while you’re in town.

Choose a home away from home. Staying at the same hotel chain wherever you travel allows you to acclimate to a new city faster and relax more thoroughly in what becomes a known environment. You know the brand, you know the system, and you even know what the room will look like. You’ll feel at home no matter where you go. And if they have any networking happy hours, try to spend an hour meeting your fellow travelers.

Phone home. While you’re away on business, you might have a tendency to experience tunnel vision. Don’t cut yourself off from colleagues who may need you to touch base so you stay up-to-date on the work they’re doing on your behalf. The same goes for friends and family. While you’re working so hard to be productive on the road, they’re making decisions that may require your input or having experiences they want to share. There’s comfort in connection, so schedule a time to check in with your significant others when you’re not rushed or preoccupied.

Making these choices while you travel will allow you to make the most of your time away and hit the ground running on all fronts once you return.

What do you do to stay productive or to network with others? Let us hear from you in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: shanegaughan (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

How Much Should You Tip at Hotels?

August 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In this country, tipping is a combination of good manners and best practices. Whether you agree with it or not almost doesn’t matter, because this is how the travel and service industries operate. You tip at restaurants, you tip your cab driver, you tip at hotels — it’s a part of travel etiquette.

But there are a lot of questions about who you should actually tip at hotels, so we’ve found some different resources on the subject and here’s what you should do if you want to become a champion of etiquette. Here’s just a short list of the most visible staff you need to consider tipping:

The lobby of the Bellagio Hotel. Staying at a place like expects that you tip at hotels.

The Bellagio Hotel – Definitely a tipping environment.

  • Shuttle driver: Typically receives $1–$2 per person or $4–$5 per party. Consider if they help with your bags or provide helpful information specific to your location.
  • Valet/parking attendant: Receives $2–$5 for delivering your vehicle. Tipping the parking attendant is optional.
  • Door Staff: The rule of thumb should be, the worse the weather, the higher the tip. Because they usually hail cabs and help with luggage or shopping bags, this rate fluctuates between $2–$5.
  • Bellman: If you have a particularly heavy bag or large quantity of them, consider tipping the bellman $2–$5 per piece of luggage.
  • Front desk attendant: If you’d like to ingratiate yourself to someone who could upgrade you to a better room, tip $5–$10 to the front desk attendant. But don’t assume that just because you do, they will. That’s a bribe.
  • Concierge: It’s not recommended, but is always appreciated. If you have a difficult request, it’s nice to tip at least $5. If it’s a more difficult request, tip a little higher.
  • Housekeeper: The one person who should always receive a tip. The most invisible of all a hotel’s staff, this army keeps your room tidy and your towels folded. Leaving a tip for them on the desk or nightstand is risky, though. Ask the hotel if it provides envelopes or place it under the pillow to ensure they receive your expression of gratitude.
  • Room service: If a tip might already be applied to the cost of the meal, a tip of a few dollars is all that’s expected. If not already accounted for, 20 percent of the bill is standard for room service delivery, especially if it’s late at night.
  • Waitstaff: Waitstaff at the hotel’s restaurant should receive a minimum of 15–20 percent of the bill, but be advised that this usually applies only in the US. Check with the front desk or concierge when traveling abroad to determine local standards.
  • Bartender: They receive similar gratuities of 15–20 percent of the tab. If you’re of the mind to tip per drink, $1–$2 is sufficient.
  • Restaurant bussing & Buffet attendants: Another group that is often unnoticed in a hotel dining room or restaurant is the waitstaff that bus the buffet. If they are refreshing your drinks, clearing plates, or procuring extra helpings, they should be compensated accordingly, and the average is usually $5. Don’t expect your primary waitstaff to split the tip with them.
  • Pool or beach attendant: The norm here varies according to the service being performed on your behalf. For towel or drink service, $1 per item is fine, but if they are moving chairs or setting up umbrellas, $5 goes a long way toward securing prime poolside real estate.

Before you succumb to the feeling that giving a tip at hotels is akin to being a human ATM, remember that those serving you are working hard, possibly harder than you, to make a living. They’re providing you a service, and it’s good etiquette to show your gratitude.

What do you usually tip your service providers? How do you handle the question? Let us hear from you in the comments below,on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Business Travelers Need Smaller Carry-On Luggage on Regional Jets

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Not all business travelers jet off to major cities or other countries. Many business travelers have clients in smaller cities, and that means that if you travel by air, it’ll most likely be via a regional jet.

There’s nothing wrong with regional jets, except when it comes to overhead and under seat storage space for carry-on luggage. You can determine if your plane will be a regional jet simply by entering your flight number on SeatGuru. The overhead bin size will be specified in the data about the plane. Most will accommodate bags up to 18″x14″x7″.

If you normally fly via these types of aircraft, your more traditional carry-on luggage gets gate-checked for plane side retrieval. While setup doesn’t require you to trek to the baggage claim, you may end up waiting several minutes for your luggage to re-emerge. Nothing wrong with that, unless you need to make a tight connection. In that case, you might consider investigating smaller carry-on luggage instead.

Travelpro has a wide variety of bags that will increase your chances of avoiding gate check and still provide you with many options for traveling with your business and personal essentials.

Let’s start with the Crew™ 11 Rolling Tote. Don’t be deceived by its size: this bag has been designed to do double duty and features a built-in business organizer with pockets for cables and smartphones, separate padded tablet and laptop sleeves, as well as a generous compartment for a change of clothes.

Tpro Bold 2 Backpacks are ideal for business travelers on regional jets.

Tpro Bold 2 Backpacks are ideal for business travelers on regional jets.

The Crew™ 11 Spinner Tote has the same features as the aforementioned model, but steps things up a notch with Travelpro’s patented 360-degree MagnaTrac® self-aligning wheels. The Platinum® Magna™ 2 Spinner Tote is crafted with premium fabrics, leather accents, and high-performance MagnaTrac® self-aligning wheels, and has a dedicated business organizer compartment as well as a Worry Free Warranty backing.

The Platinum® Magna™ 2 Backpack is checkpoint friendly, allowing you to pass through security without removing your laptop. The Crew™ Executive Choice™ 2 Wheeled Brief sports a full business organizer, complete with an external USB port with dedicated Power Bank storage pocket for keeping your electronics charged on the go (Power Bank not included). Its clothing compartment is more than adequate for one to two days change of clothes and has hold down straps to keep contents secure.

The T-pro® Bold™ 2.0 Backpack streamlines your travel experience without compromising on features. Dedicated pockets organize your business essentials, and a generous interior cavity provides space for the efficient packer to accommodate not only a laptop, but a set of clothes and toiletries.

Finally, if you’re looking for a non-rolling, soft tote style answer to overhead bin limitations, the MaxLite® 4 Soft Tote weighs in at just under 2 pounds, but will accommodate a change of clothes and select business essentials. It also fits under the seat in front of you, leaving the overhead bin available for others. (Or in the overhead bin, leaving you a little more foot room.)

How do you manage your carry-on luggage when you’re flying on regional jets? Do you have a favorite bag or even a technique to get your bag on board? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Business Travelers Can Continue to Carry Laptops in their Carry-On Luggage

July 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The United States Department of Homeland Security has ended a four month ban on laptops in carry-on luggage on U.S. bound flights from the Middle East and North Africa. The ban was originally enacted because terrorism experts were concerned that explosives could be concealed in electronics as large as laptops and mobile tablets. It affected ten airports and nine airlines that are based in the Middle East.

The King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was the final airport to have the ban lifted, after they and the other airlines and airports implemented new security measures designed to check for explosives in the large electronics.

Officials visited the ten airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, and confirmed that the security measures were in place.
Business travelers on Etihad Airways and other Middle East airlines were concerned about a laptop ban.
The airports originally affected include Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah, Saudia Arabia; Riyadh, Saudia Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; Dubai, UAE; and Abu Dhabi, UAE. The carriers most heavily impacted by this ban were Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, and Turkish Airlines.

A ban on the citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen still remains in place, although several U.S. court hearings are challenging those restrictions.

The aviation industry has been trying to come together with a united message to governments and stakeholders about regulation and supporting the industry,” Will Horton, senior analyst at Australian aviation consultancy CAPA, told Reuters.

The ban was nearly expanded to cover all flights into the U.S. from the Middle East and Europe, which had international business travelers concerned. Since many business travelers have long been practitioners of “carry-on luggage only” travel, this could have had serious ramifications on business travel in general.

Instead, the U.S. accepted new security and screening measures from the airports in Europe and Middle East, other than the original ten airports, thus preventing the expanded ban. And now that the U.S. has lifted their ban on the remaining airlines, business travelers can continue to carry their laptops and tablets in their carry-on luggage.

That was a bit of a close call for business travelers, but we can remain productive. We’ve also talked about how to function without a laptop, should a similar ban return. How would you cope if the ban were instituted? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Alex Beltyukov (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

Business Travelers Rejoice! Global In-Flight Wifi Connectivity Growing in 2017

July 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Years ago, business travelers used to love or hate their flights. It was either a much-needed escape or a stint in solitary confinement. Like it or not, you were unreachable for the duration of your flight. No phones, no wifi, no Internet. If you didn’t bring out some printouts or reports to read, you didn’t have anything to work on.

Now, apart from the smaller seats, you can function as if you never left your office at all.

According to Routehappy’s 2017 wifi report, Global State of In-Flight Wifi, there is more in-flight connectivity than there has ever been. They found that 39 percent of global flights and 83 percent of U.S. flights’ actual seat miles — miles flown multiplied by the number of available seats — offer wifi connectivity as an amenity. There are also 60 airlines worldwide that now offer in-flight wifi over most regions of the globe.
Business travelers will be able to use their wifi enabled cell phones more in 2017. This is a man texting on a plane.
“2016 was the year that airlines outside the U.S. committed to high-quality, in-flight wifi at a rate only previously seen by U.S. carriers, and 2017 will see those commitments come to life,” Routehappy CEO Robert Albert said in a Business Travel News article.

Three carriers boasted the highest wifi availability: Delta, United Airlines, and Emirates. Only one US carrier, Virgin Airlines, was able to claim 100 percent availability on all its flights.

This bodes well for customers of Alaska Airlines, which acquired Virgin in December 2016. Meanwhile, JetBlue had just completed retrofitting all its planes with wifi service, but it is only available on its flights across the continental US.

While wifi connectivity is more and more prevalent on US and international flights, making the best use of it still requires a bit of planning. Downloading documents or entertainment options at home, such as podcasts or television episodes, before you fly will increase the speed at which you can access them while connected to your flight’s wifi system.

Business travelers, how important is wifi to your in-flight productivity? And will you pay for it, or only use it if it’s free? And will it be just as important to have on the flights that fall under the laptop ban? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Tom Woodward (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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