Travel News

Executive tips for air travel

We learn the secrets to a smooth flight from five regular Business Class travellers.

Arlington, United States

Top-tier executives on the move: they’re the ones who can tell you where the best airport lounges are around the world, how to tackle jetlag, whether to roll or fold and the best hotels to do business. These are high flyers of repute who’ve had more practise than anyone. Here, we ask five regular Business Class travellers the secrets to a smooth flight.

Ann Sherry, executive chair of Carnival Australia

Flight count: 60 to 70 domestic trips per year; 10 international trips per year.

Suitcase of choice?

“I like my bags strong, light and on wheels and always bright red so I can identify them easily on the carousel. I’ve never owned a black suitcase.”

Roll or fold?

“I’ve learnt to roll since I’ve been in this job and now I roll everything except my suits, which I pack in plastic and paper so they don’t crush.”

Favourite airline lounge?

“Virgin Australia’s club is fabulous – the food is by Luke Mangan, whose food also features on our P&O ships. Qantas International First Lounge is also a favourite – I particularly enjoy the luxury of having a facial in the lounge before my flight.”

Shannon Bennett, chef, restaurateur and Nespresso ambassador

Flight count: roughly six international trips per year.

Pre-flight routine?

“I always try to work out the day I travel, and drink plenty of fluids. I change my watch to the time at my destination, and always try to book an overnight flight so I can sleep.”

And on-board?

“Sleep and no alcohol – unless George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan or Matt Preston are on board with me, in which case a glass of wine is mandatory.”

Favourite travel item?

“If I’m travelling light, I pull out an old leather satchel I picked up in Italy at a flea market years ago. I love this bag – it’s unbranded, has a lot of character, and seems to get better with age.”

What’s in your carry on?

“I usually don’t check in my baggage, so all the essentials are with me: Dr Dre Beats wireless headphones, and an iPad with Zinio magazines.”

Christine Holgate, CEO, Blackmores

Away for 150 nights per year.

How do you pass the time when flying?  

“I take out my laptop as soon as I’m able and work away until it runs out of charge, then I’ll try to sleep.”

Essential cabin item?

“A tube of Blackmores Natural Vitamin E cream, Blackmores Bio C to support my immunity, and my iPad.”

Who do you fly with when you’re working?

“Qantas, because every country should have a strong national airline, and it’s important to support them.”

Favourite hotels for business?

“Grand Hyatt Melbourne and Grand Hyatt Shanghai – both deliver exceptional service, have stunning views and are in the heart of the city. They offer canapés in their club lounges every evening, too, which is a great, safe way to grab a bite when I’m travelling alone.”

Emmerentia Wilding, general manager, Estée Lauder, Aerin and Tom Ford Beauty, Australia

Flight count: one to two domestic trips per month; four or five international trips per year.

What do you fly in?

“Your footwear choice is vital – it must get three ticks for comfort, ease of slipping on and off and not needing to be taken off during security screening. I opt for a pair of Tods loafers or Nike Running shoes (in a neutral colour). As for clothing, I usually lean towards “athleisure”, or if I need to look a little smarter straight off the flight, dark jeans, T-shirt & blazer. “

What about on-board entertainment?

“I always have my Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and my iPad preloaded with reading options.”

What are you looking for when you finally check-in at your destination?

“Hotels that offer 24-hour access to a gym and really good coffee. Great hotels I’ve found recently are Loews Regency New York, the Excelsior Hotel Gallia, Milan, which offers a complimentary chauffeur service to the city, and the Grand Hyatt Melbourne – all distinguished by exemplary service.”

Michael Issenberg, chairman and CEO, AccorHotels Asia Pacific

Away for seven weeks out of eight.

Carry on or checked baggage, Michael?

“I never check a bag for work trips – my Samsonite carry-on and briefcase go with me everywhere.”

How do you feel about airline food?

“As much as I’d like to indulge, I always eat lightly because anything too heavy can make it harder to sleep. Wherever possible I get a good workout the morning of an overnight flight. It’s hard to stay healthy on the road unless you make it part of your routine.”

How do you tackle jetlag?

“I immediately start to adapt my sleep cycle to the destination. If it’s evening where I’m headed, I’ll try to go straight to sleep. Or I’ll try to stay awake to get into the same time zone. Sadly, I have given up drinking alcohol on flights and I find this really helps.”

This article is presented by **American Express. Go the distance with Membership Rewards.

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