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Monday, May 20, 2024

How to travel for business during a pandemic

Young woman at the airport checking for the flightYoung woman at the airport checking for the flight

Recently updated on September 8th, 2023 at 08:51 pm

Ping! Yes, it’s what you think it is. Yet another Zoom invite landing in your inbox for a virtual meeting. Let’s just say that this has become a lifeline for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year or so.

As meaningful and important as virtual meetings have been during this time, it isn’t without its shortcomings. Think a bunch of faces squished into a grid all talking at once or video streaming being turned off resulting in less expressive dialogue. What about that colleague whose attention floats back to their social media feeds, while important business is being discussed or the ever-popular “you are on mute”, “unmute yourself” and so it goes.

As 2021 gets closer to the third quarter of the year and much talk of vaccinations being rolled out fills the air, there seems to be a glimmer of hope that we might soon be witness to consumers and businesses being more open to air travel. Even though the virus will still be lingering around for a couple of years to come and air travel has changed, the value of business travel and face-to-face meetings has not. Safe ways to travel exist, which will result in better ways of doing business.

Brian Kitchin, Executive Manager Sales and Marketing says, that there is solid evidence to suggest that there’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings. “One can be tempted to conduct planning sessions and workshops online, but according to a Forbes survey 84 percent of executives say they prefer in-person meetings as it builds and maintains good business relationships and create a sense of trust within and between organisations.”

Travelling for business is indeed possible currently, but one needs to tick all the boxes to keep the health of everybody in the air and on the ground front and center to make the rewards of meeting in person way more, than the potential risks. Brian Kitchen suggests some tips on how to make safety your number one priority when travelling for business.

  • Before your trip: Stay up to date on travel restrictions and the latest info on testing requirements. Put together a safety pack that includes enough masks, hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes that you might need.
  • Getting to the airport: If you need to use Uber or Taxify, lower the windows as you enter to create sufficient air circulation, wear your mask, sit in the back behind the driver and load/unload your luggage yourself.
  • Be one step ahead: Airports are traditionally known as places that can be crowded during peak times. Make sure you are one step ahead of the crowds by utilising online tools, such as online check-in 24 hours beforehand, use pre-seat selection and choose a window seat away from passenger foot traffic, which could offer a bit more protection. Print or load your boarding card on your mobile device well in advance to avoid standing in queues. This will keep contact and exchange of hands to a minimum. Keep your mask on at all times and sanitise your hands at every station. At security clearance keep to the required social distancing protocols.
  • We have lift-off: Even though our aircraft is cleaned after every departure we recommend that you keep your mask on at all times, avoid touching your face and use antibacterial wipes to clean your seat, armrest, tray table, seat-back pocket, air vent, headrest and window blind before getting comfortable. Avoid taking multiple items out of your hand luggage and if you need to use the bathroom take your wipes with and don’t forget to wash your hands.
  • Breathe easy: Whilst keeping your mask on for the duration of the flight you can breathe easy knowing that our aircraft have HEPA (High-Efficiency Particle Arrester) filters that will filter 99.999% of dust particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria, ensuring the highest possible quality of cabin air.
  • Before you get off: Stay seated until you get told to disembark and sanitise/wash your hands as soon as you are off the aircraft.
  • At the office: Keep that mask on and follow the office health and safety protocols. Keep those wipes and sanitiser at hand. Maintain social distancing at all times and use the elbow pump instead of handshaking, if you absolutely have to have physical contact.
  • Home sweet home: Spray and disinfect your luggage before taking it inside your house. Wash the clothing you wore and sanitise your ID/passport, credit cards, employee card or any other frequently touched items you might have used on your trip. Take a well-deserved shower.
  • Use Corporate Direct: Who will offer you a complete business travel solution that includes, the best fare of the day on British Airways (operated by Comair) or kulula.com with a dedicated Corporate Travel Consultant allocated to your account. The Corporate Direct service also offers a complete Corporate Travel Account Management solution, such as instant invoicing and monthly reporting. For those who need to make last-minute changes, there is an after-hours assistance service and all other travel needs are covered with extensive preferential car hire and hotel accommodation to choose from, to name a few.
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