Friday, May 01, 2009

Business Traveller Tip - take it off, take it all off

First in my new segment of Business Traveller Tips is what to wear. I am not going to argue for a throwback to the early days of air travel when people dressed up and treated the affair as an adventure but I think there are good reasons for having two "outfits" for the flight. I have one set of clothes for getting on board and one set for sitting on the flight.

For boarding I wear business casual. Smart pants (or very good jeans) and a collared shirt. I do this for two reasons. Upgrades do not happen as often as they used to but they still do. I have had two occasions in the last 4 years where I have been upgraded from long haul business to first. In terms of segments flown it is not that often but it is often enough to dress well. The second reason is it means one less pair of work pants to pack - which contributes to a tip I will write soon on what to pack for business travel.

For flying I wear either very loose cotton clothes. I supposed you could call them pyjamas but really they are just non descript cotton pants and a t-shirt (OK, you can call them pyjamas). When I change into them I take the business casual clothes that I have been wearing, put them on a coat hanger and hang them up in the coat rack.

Of course this is not necessary for short haul flights but in long haul it is one of my top tips. Loose clothing not only keeps you comfortable, it helps with circulation and is more attuned to the air and temperature atmosphere of a long flight. This is not just a business class or above recommendations. I do this also when I am flying long haul economy. It is harder to hang up your clothes in long-haul economy but you would be surprised how often crew members will hang clothes up for you if you ask very nicely. If they won't I always can find an overhead locker somewhere which has enough space to lay my clothes flat so that they are in fine shape when it is time to land. When I fly economy I bring my own fold up clothes protector just in case.

If you are unable to go the full clothing switch-aroo then the minimum recommendation for all flights is that you take of your shoes and belt before you sit down. Even on short flights your feet will swell and your belt will bite into you (especially up the back of the bus). You will be amazed how the simple act of taking of belt and shoes will improve your comfort levels.

So tip number one is brought to you by Barry White - take it off, take it all off.

thanks to ddjang over at flickr for the photo


grahamkingaby said...

Tim, you are so right about getting comfortable on longer distance flights.

A couple of extra tips that I'd add after many years of long-haul experience are;

1. Airport Zen. Avoid all hassles at the airport; give yourself as much time as you can, don't go shopping, get to the best lounge that you have access to and generally chill. If you are delayed, well that's just a thing that happens every now and then. In short stay cooooool.

2. Get into comfortable clothes as soon as you are in the cruise and the seatbelt signs are off. Most airlines have complimentary light cotton PJ's in Business Class on long-haul flights these days which I find are ideal.

To explain waiting until the seatbelt signs are off to get changed I personally have the three issues of being English, a pilot and an insurance guy. My piloting and insurance industry experience tell me that the most dangerous phase of flight is during take-off and landing - keeping shoes on is a good idea in these stages of the flight if you have to exit an airliner quickly following an emergency. I’ve also been in the situation of being ‘deplaned’ while sitting on the ground ready to push-back from the gate because of a technical fault with the aeroplane.

Walking through the terminal in your best maroon Jammies is not a good look. The Englishman in me worries about this a lot along with fears about the post-crash video and the social stigma attached to being improperly dressed in public (like I said, I’ve got issues).

3. Booze and video. I like to have a glass of wine or a couple of beers as soon as the first service comes through the cabin. I don’t watch too much TV and try to get off to sleep as quickly as I can.

4. Work only if you have to. Better to have a smooth relaxing flight and get to your destination ready to go than to spend ten hours at the laptop in flight and arrive needing a day to get over the jet-lag.

5. Showers. If you have an hour to kill in the lounge take a shower – try it, it really takes the edge off the trip.

Happy landings…..


Madame BOOT said...

Don't lie - you get the trollie dollies to hang up your pants for you

Tim Hughes said...

@graham - thanks for the great comment (though you are stealing a lot of the material I have planned for future posts, especially the shower!!!!). On item 2 - I agree with your points on not falling out of the sky in your bed wear but I remain the eternal and damned optimist. I get changed before take off. I find that by the time we get to 30k ft and the seat belts signs go off, the queue for the toilets is 20 minutes long. But I agree again that you have to get changed before landing - even at a stop over.

Get A Trip said...

I guess foremost I am glad I do not need to wear formal business attire anymore. Still I wear business casual if going to a workshop or business related function. So changing midair sounds like a bit much for me perhaps thats why I could never succumb to too much office ethics in the corporate world. Bottom line: If you are going to feel more comfortable wearing business casual yet have to dress for success, then arrive early, but do not make your flight a nightmare. I will hand it to you Barry, you know your subject matters well.

Tim Hughes said...

@GAT - thanks for comments. I wear biz casual as well but still find that I can save space in my bag if I wear smart pants and a clean collared shirt on the plane then straight away change into light cotton pants/shorts and a t-shirt. BTW name is Tim - pleased to meet you.