Business Travel Tips for Beginners

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Business Travel Tips for Beginners

You’ve just started your dream job and one of your first tasks is to go on a business trip.  You may be wildly excited at the achievement, but also worrying about the corporate travel aspect.  No need to get stressed, we have some great tips for beginners when it comes to travelling on business.  If you’re one of the many who’ve never flown before, this is the guide for you.

Before the trip, once your reservations are confirmed, your travel agent will issue an electronic ticket (paper tickets are rare nowadays), an itinerary and confirmation number via email.  Once you’ve checked in online (in the 24 hours before the flight), you will be assigned a seat and issued a boarding pass (which can be printed or saved on a mobile device as a screenshot for quick and easy to access without the need for Wi-Fi) which you’ll need to pass through Security and board the flight.

The earlier you check in, the more likely it is you’ll get a great seat.  Familiarise yourself with the airline’s size and weight allowances for carry-on and checked luggage to ensure you’re within the limits.

Make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to clear Security – this is usually around 90 minutes before flight time for domestic flights and 120 minutes for international flights.

When you arrive at the airport, boarding pass in hand, you’ll need to check in any luggage at the ticket counter.  Make sure your bags are labelled (inside and outside) and that you avoid items that are prohibited from checked and carry-on luggage when packing.

Never leave your bags unattended and never carry items for somebody else. 

When you arrive at  Security, show your boarding pass and official ID (passport or driving licence).  You’ll go through the security screening process where you and your carry-on items will be scanned to detect any threats.

Your carry-on bag, your shoes, jacket, belt and pocket contents should be placed in the bins provided.  Liquids in the carry-on must comply with the 3-1-1 ruling and laptops must be removed from their sleeves.

You will walk through an open scanner whilst your personal property will go through a scanner on a conveyor belt.  Once through, you can recover your possessions and it’s time for your journey to begin in earnest.

First of all, check the flight boards to confirm your departure gate and time so you know how much time you have to have a snack or visit the airport shops.  You need to be at the departure gate at least 30 minutes before departure as boarding closes 10 minutes before take-off time.

When boarding is called your boarding pass will be scanned and you can proceed to the jetway leading to your plane.  You may be offered the opportunity to place your carry-on in the hold free of charge if the plane doesn’t have sufficient space.  Your carry-on will be checked at the gate and returned to you in the same manner at your destination.

Flight attendants will welcome you on board and direct you to your seat.  Row numbers can easily be seen at eye level so finding your seat will be easy.

Stow your carry-on in the bin above the seats or under the seat in front of you.  Make sure you keep the items you need in flight with you (reading material, electronic devices, glasses, etc.) as accessing the overhead bins during the flight may be inconvenient.

Long flights usually offer a meal on board, whilst flights under a couple of hours often offer drinks and snacks – some airlines charge in-flight for these.  It’s perfectly okay to take your own food onboard, but be mindful about avoiding pungent or aromatic consumables out of consideration for your fellow passengers.

Wi-Fi is available on some flights, though speed is likely to be slow and the package may be pricey.  If the plane offers in-flight entertainment (in the shape of movies, music or TV shows), you may have to pay for headsets.

Smoking is not permitted on any flights, including the use of vapour and e-cigarettes.

If you have a connecting flight, airline personnel will usually direct you to your next gate.  Your luggage will probably be checked through to your final destination (verify this to make sure) whilst you can reclaim gate-checked bags at this point.

When you disembark at your final destination, follow signs to the baggage claim area (if you’ve checked baggage) to collect your bags.  With so many bags of similar appearance make sure you check that you have the correct ones (adding a brightly-coloured tag or tying a ribbon around the handle can help with this).

If you’re on an international flight, you’ll need to clear immigration (before baggage claim) and customs (after baggage claim) before leaving the airport.

Make sure your passport and other travel documents are easily accessible at all times – it’s a good idea to carry them on your person in a zipped pocket or a specifically designed travel documents wallet.

Now you’ve completed your first flight, future flights will be less stressful as you’ll know what to expect.

Happy travelling for the future!