It's no secret that traveling for business can be stressful and bring out the worst in us. It can be unpredictable and frustrating if you don't get the result you were hoping for. And if you are fatigued from too many business trips, there's a chance you may burn out.
Regardless of whether you travel weekly or semi-annually, the following items are a major faux pas. Some can even get you in major trouble. Avoid these actions and set an example, especially as a representative of your company/employer.
Your fellow passengers and travel employees will be grateful.
1. Don't ignore the flight attendants and pilots.
As a business traveler, you probably have the in-flight safety instructions memorized. However, that doesn't mean you should ignore them. It is their job to ensure passenger safety and hearing it one more time is not going to hurt. It may save your life.
If a pilot makes an announcement, do make an attempt to listen. I've had a few chatty pilots who like to make lengthy announcements about the destination or flying conditions. Again, it is their job to inform you.
2. Don't harass the crew.
On the other hand, don't harass the crew or call the attendants for every little thing. Additionally, unless its an emergency, if the crew is serving drinks and meals, let them finish their tasks. I've seen travelers insist on more drinks or additional trays of food while the attendants are still serving passengers. You're more likely to get what you want if you are patient.
3. Don't recline your seat during mealtimes.
If you've ever tried eating while the seat in front of you is reclined, you know all too well how awkward and uncomfortable that can be. This is still true, regardless of what class you are seated in.
4. Don't subject fellow passengers to your feet.
If you must take off your shoes, put slippers on. I understand that shoes appropriate for business travel aren't the comfiest but a pair of slippers that you can easily store go a long way. Do not put your feet up, on the wall, or on the back of someone's armrest.
5. Don't ignore body language if trying to network with fellow passengers.
As a business traveler, you sometimes get to sit near celebrities, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. While there may be an opportunity to introduce yourself and lay out your elevator pitch, doing it at the wrong time may backfire. If the person seems receptive, I approach during mealtime or when we're being served drinks.
I approach carefully and follow their lead. If they are not doing anything, I might make a comment about the food or something the pilot said to break the ice, then introduce myself. If it goes well, ask for their business card.
6. Don't disturb passengers with a harsh reading light.
This may be picky but I remember being on an international flight and a passenger diagonally behind me decided to turn on their overhead light. I understand having it on but the light was so bright that it woke several of us. Fortunately, the passenger realized how bright it was and brought out a small reading light instead.
7. Don't try out new medication or indulge in too much alcohol.
This may be a given but I've seen fellow business travelers on numerous occasions use the time in the air to drink too much and ruin a networking opportunity that they clearly could've had.
The same rule applies to medications, particularly sleep medication. I once took a new medication to help with motion sickness and got so groggy that I nearly missed my connecting flight. I even had a hard time staying awake at the conference I was speaking at the next day.
8. Don't hesitate to speak up if you are not feeling well.
If you aren't feeling well, let a flight attendant know. They are trained to assist and can help you find relief.
9. Don't use someone else's luggage space.
I know that sometimes this can't be avoided but try to keep your luggage in the same row that you are seated in. I've seen travelers put their luggage towards the front of the plane, leaving those passengers unable to store their own items.
Like anything, common sense and consideration of your surroundings and the people in them will help your travels go much more smoothly.