When you’re up in the air, take this precious personal time to gather your thoughts, catch up on work and even learn something entirely new. Rather than regarding your flying time as hours to be got through between departure and arrival, change your mind set to cherish this opportunity sitting in comfort away from the distractions and demands of home and office life.
Working and networking
1. Time for tech
Check all your devices are fully charged and you have extra batteries. Remember to take a universal plug and chargers for your phone and laptop. You can even catch up on emails in the air. Wifi is on board American Airlines flights and being rolled out across British Airways’ fleet from early 2017.
2. Keep your hand luggage organised
Jane Ainley, from Heathrow Worldwide Cabin Crew, advises: “Keep your laptop and documents to hand at the top of your hand luggage. Be realistic with the amount you take on board in relation to the available space you have to work.”
Barbara Soltysinska, CEO of Indahash, a platform connecting brands with digital influencers, says: “Having reliable access to email and social media and making good use of your time is crucial for a business traveller. I travel with a book, my iPhone packed with audiobooks, earplugs and sometimes a pillow to rest or take a power nap, and always, always a spare battery or a powerbank for my phone. I also keep a wi-fi router - just in case.”
3. Strike up a conversation with a fellow passenger. Yes, really.
You might treasure your solitude and worry that if you start chatting you’ll be stuck with a garrulous in-flight neighbour, prevented from working or relaxing. But research has shown the considerable benefits to connecting with strangers, including an increased feeling of wellbeing and a more positive journey experience with no loss in productivity. We humans are social creatures, not made for isolation.
Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder from the Booth School of Business in Chicago discovered that the average conversation was just 14 minutes long, so in that time you could have an increased sense of positivity from making a new connection and perhaps even a great new business contact.
4. Pack a pen
Flights are a great time to gather thoughts and jot down ideas without distraction. A little blue sky thinking may be just what you and your business needs. “It’s also useful to keep a pen near you for those landing cards and declaration forms,” says Francesca Armstrong, Chief Operating Officer of hospitality company, Connoco Group, who clocks up nearly 200 days a year flying.
5. Discover something new
Always wanted to learn a new skill or been meaning to brush up on an old one, but never seem to find the time? Flying is the ideal time to dedicate to increasing your skill set, without any of the interruptions of life on the ground.
6. Drink water
Keep your concentration by keeping hydrated during your flight. Drink plenty of water and moderate your intake of alcohol, tea and coffee. You can find other flight wellbeing tips here.
7. Move about
However interesting your work or entertaining the in-flight show, make the effort to stand up and walk up and down the aisle every few hours. Do some simple stretching exercises to relieve muscle tension. Check out the in-flight wellbeing video for stretches to try.
8. Give yourself a break
Don’t spend every second of your flight packing in work. You can meditate your way to relaxation, thanks to a new in-flight channel on British Airways’ long-haul routes. Sit back in the comfort of your plane seat and unwind with the new Headspace video channel, designed to help you de-stress by practising simple meditation and mindfulness exercises, from overcoming jet lag to getting the most out of every minute of your journey.
9. Recharge with some sleep
“Try and plan your sleep on board to work for your new destination,” advises Tina Burton, British Airways’ European PR Manager. That way you’ll arrive feeling refreshed and you’re already taken the first step to beating jet lag.
10. Boost your concentration with a light meal
“Enjoy meal times and then work straight afterwards followed by a rest before the second service,” recommends Jane Ainley, from Heathrow Worldwide Cabin Crew.