By Dave Darsch, founder of This Way Up, @DaveDarsch
Think of your transatlantic travel as a fine dining experience optimized for business travelers: the appetizer (before you board); the main course (during the flight); and the dessert (when you land).
Here's what you need to do to get the best out of all three courses:
Before: Choose Your Productivity
There are generally two flight choices from USA East Coast cities to Europe, one around 5:00 pm, and another around 10:00 pm. If you need to be productive just after arriving, then take the 5:00 pm. This will allow you to land in the morning and have a full day. If you do not need to engage immediately, then take the later flight; enjoy your final productive day in the USA, (and you will find it easier to sleep at the more normal hour).
- Also, take advantage of the carry on bag. A fresh set of clothing, comfy slip off shoes, eye mask, ear plugs and 2-3 critical toiletries.
- If you can request an early check in at the hotel in Europe, do so. That first shower and a quick change of clothes is priceless.
- Avoid coffee or caffeine based products for at least 6 hours before boarding.
During: The Time in the Air.
A window seat is by far preferred. First, you will not get interrupted by the other passengers with the "excuse me, I have to . . .". And you have the opportunity to lean against the window, instead of that uncomfortable feeling of leaning on the shoulder of the passenger next to you.
While WiFi is becoming popular on most Transatlantic flights, avoid the temptation, it is not completely reliable anyway. For years, business people prepared before they boarded the flight. You can do the same and enjoy some sleep or simple reflection of the tasks at hand when you land.
Lastly, you will hear this repeatedly. The air in an airplane will dehydrate you, so after you have passed through security, buy a liter or quart of water, it will be a wonderful and convenient way to retain your hydration.
After: Those First Few Moments.
If you have a workday ahead of you, and your hotel has early check-in, take the opportunity to shower and freshen up. If you were not able to have the hotel option, then most airlines have clubs that you can pay a minimal fee and enter for a shower and a morning snack with coffee tea and something light.
If you are a late arrival, enjoy the hotel, however avoid going to bed until a few hours before the normal bedtime in the new time zone. My rule of thumb is to stay up until approximately 8:00 pm the day you land. It truly does allow your body clock to adjust more rapidly.
In either case, get outside and allow your body to naturally adjust to the local rhythm of the sun. Some (but not all) studies suggest that taking 3 milligrams of fast-release Melatonin prior to bedtime for several days after arrival in a new time zone can ease the transition from the jet lag and increase daytime productivity.