Airlines offering premium in-flight service to business travelers

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Airlines offering premium in-flight service to business travelers

Savvy executives and frequent business travelers know that serviced apartments and corporate housing are the ideal alternatives to often-costly corporate suites in chain hotels. Offering the standard of service and quality they expect, these accommodations provide executives with a comfortable and convenient experience without breaking the bank. However, when it comes to actually reaching their destination, some business travelers have fewer options, especially when it comes to air travel. In an attempt to cater to frequent corporate clients, many major carriers in the U.S. are offering luxury bedding and other amenities to make their passengers feel right at home, according to The New York Times.

Taking luxury to new heights
The news source reports that Delta has become the latest airline to offer superior-quality bedding to customers booking seats on flights lasting nine hours or more. The carrier's "Westin In-Flight Heavenly Bedding" is being offered in conjunction with the Westin Hotels Group, and aims to offer business travelers a more luxurious in-flight experience. 

Other airlines, such as American, Cathay Pacific, United, Virgin and Lufthansa have all made substantial upgrades to their executive-class cabins in recent years to appeal to stressed-out executives. Carriers have introduced features such as enhanced mood lighting and high-end, in-flight entertainment options as well as designer amenity kits and the ability to reserve in-flight meals via email before boarding. Many airlines see these improvements as a valuable investment in their business, as frequent corporate travelers are often willing to pay for such amenities, especially on long-haul flights.

"If an airline can maximize comfort and the passenger perceives this is the way to go to get the best sleep, it could have a significant impact," Peter Vlitas, senior vice president for airline sales and marketing for Protravel International, told the news source.

In addition to offering executives a more tempting travel experience, carriers are capitalizing on many organizations' willingness to upgrade business travelers to premium seats. Data from Egencia, the business arm of tourism travel website Expedia, reveals that approximately 45 percent of companies are willing to bump passengers up to business or first class on flights lasting more than nine hours.

Taking care on the road
Travelers know that by staying in furnished extended stay housing and corporate apartments, they can arrive at the big meeting refreshed and ready to do business. However, long-haul flights can take a toll on even the most experienced road warrior. For this reason, Condé Nast Traveler magazine recently outlined some tips that individuals embarking on long flights can take to stay refreshed while traveling.

JJ Virgin, a nutritionist and co-host of TLC's "Freaky Eaters," told the news source that drinking coconut water can be more beneficial when flying long distances than just water alone, as the minerals it contains provide an essential boost to travelers' skin - the perfect antidote to the pressurized air in an airplane's cabin.

Similarly, eating well can have a significant impact on how well passengers feel. If executives need to make the most of their time in the air and remain productive, a bag of walnuts could be the ideal alternative to the salty prepackaged peanuts offered by most airlines. Walnuts contain Omega-3 oils that are good for the skin, and also have anti-inflammatory fats to help hungry executives feel full longer. Nitrate-free salmon and beef jerky also make excellent alternatives to walnuts for healthy nutritious snacks.

Taking appropriate care of themselves is essential for frequent business travelers. Whether they choose to make simple changes to their in-flight habits or opt for luxurious amenities, there are many ways for executives to stay focused, arrive at their destination feeling refreshed and concentrate on the tasks at hand.