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5 Tips for Working in the Air

by Justine Smith  |  April 22/2013  |  ,

Business Travel Tips

When was the last time you got any work done on an airplane?

A marketing consultant friend of mine – I’ll call him Frank – used to get so frustrated by how little he could accomplish in the air. After a string of failed attempts and two missed deadlines, he knew that unless he could figure out how to be productive while travelling for business, he’d never have enough time in his schedule to properly run his business.

So Frank began making tweaks and over the years became really good at working on the go, tripling his business in the process.

If you have to fly regularly, you can find ways to be productive. Here are 5 tips from Frank:

Dress for success

No matter how long your flight is, wear the most comfortable clothes you can. Frank always wears hooded jackets with pockets so he can carry his wallet and phone on his flights. Think about function just as much as comfort to get the most done. Wearing a suit on a plane will reduce your arm mobility and make you much hotter than you need to be. If you need to come off the plane looking professional, bring clothes to change into that way you can still maintain the look without suffering during the flight.

Request the best

If your client is willing to pay for it, ask for first class to ensure maximum comfort. You’ll have more room to work and be around fewer people. Since first class is highly unlikely for most, make the best of what you have by requesting a few things in coach. First, see if you can get a seat in the middle section of the plane to avoid distractions from stewardesses who work up front and passengers who head to restrooms in the back. Also requesting a window seat will ensure you don’t have to get up anytime the person sitting next to you wants to move around.

Equip your trip

With the right equipment on hand, anything is possible. Here are some essentials to have while working in the air:

  • Laptop or tablet: This will obviously be your gateway to any documents you need to write, edit, or review. It’s hard to be productive on a smartphone, but you can do that too if need be.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: Block out distractions with noise-cancelling headphones, or use they to listen to soothing sounds, music or videos while you work.
  • Travel pillow: Keep your head propped up comfortably to reduce neck strain while you do your work.

Prepare for air

While some flights offer wifi service, there’s no guarantee you’ll have Internet access so make sure you’re prepared to work offline by creating an agenda of activities you can do without the Internet. To ensure you’ve got everything you need to complete your work, use a tool like Snagit to take screenshots of web resources.

Learn to avoid stress

Every now and then, something will come up that makes working in the air impossible. Instead of fretting about it, bring a learning resource with you – Frank keeps business eBooks on his laptop – so in the worst case scenario, you can sit back and enjoy some learnings that will also positively impact your business.


  • smiles

    I cannot LIVE without the noise cancelling headphones. I have downloaded white noise on my Ipod and I don’t even SEE the screaming kids, best thing I ever did


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