One key aspect of planning a flight itinerary, especially for business trips, is scheduling, and often times this is overlooked in favor of price. However, if you’re trying to make a good impression to your hosts in a faraway land, making sure you’re not exhausted or that you’re not looking like you’ve skipped 3 days of showers is absolutely key. One way to do avoid the flying zombie look is scheduling your itineraries around your preferred landing time in your final destination.
This scheduling is a lot easier when flying domestic, be it in the USA or in Japan. If you are scheduling flights for a quick meeting in Osaka, you could easily fly out of Haneda on a 7AM flight to Itami, have your meetings and a bite to eat, and then fly back to Tokyo on a 6pm flight, and everyone will be home by 9pm. In America, this scheduling is slightly more difficult, especially if you’re flying trans-continental.
Long haul flight itineraries that have varied final destination arrival time selections are not common, but they’re out there. If you’re flying the New York-West Coast route, there’s quite the menu of options. Flying trans-pacific gives you fewer options, but I’ve landed both mid-morning and close to 9pm on occasions.
Here’s my opinions on how you should make choices on long-haul flight arrival times.
If you’re landing at your final destination anytime after 4pm but before 6:30pm, bank on being able to get dinner, but if you’re landing after 6:30pm, you’re going to probably be getting dinner later than 8 or 9pm depending on how far away from the hotel/your home the airport is. After you have dinner, you’re probably going to crash from jet lag or tiredness. If you’re wanting to try to avoid jetlag and have more regulated sleep during your trip, I suggest immediately grabbing a small bite to eat, getting a shower, getting more food, and doing something around that area until around 11pm…or whenever you usually go to sleep. You’re probably going to wake up early the next day, so utilize your time wisely.
If you’re scheduled to land in the morning, you’ll have the whole day ahead of you. If you’ve got a meeting around lunch, freshen up in your hotel if you’re able to, and keep eating throughout the day. However, there will be no avoiding the facial signs that you’re jetlagged…your eyes will tell. If you’re negotiating a deal and you’re trying to get a good advantage, keep your wits to you, and if you’re working with a local colleague on this deal, maybe have them do a lot of the talking. The more you show on your face that you’re tired, the more the client is going to try to take advantage, so be careful.
I never recommend having a business meeting the same day that you’re landing in the city the meeting’s occurring. I always suggest to give you and your team some breathing time before big meetings in different cities. Familiarizing yourself with the surroundings of your hosts’ city will bring the familiarity levels up, and if you’re negotiating a bidding contract, knowing the area is a key advantage to have against other bidders for contracts. The more time you spend in a city though will result in a higher hotel bill, but having significant rest and meals, as well as a relaxed trip itinerary, and knowledge of the area, all of this will help you and your team have a successful business trip.
Hope this is good advice. I try to think of topics for this blog that people don’t usually take into consideration when planning flights and business/personal trips. Let me know any questions or topics you’d like to see here.