Picture the scene. You’ve planned your Executive’s business trip to a tee. It is perfect. The itinerary is flawless, the hotels are top notch, the ground transport has been planned to whizz your Exec around the city. You are confident your Executive will be able to cope with all of the business trip details while you are sitting at your desk in your office. Your Executive waves goodbye and you think phew! … And then you get the dreaded phone call… ‘I’m stuck in traffic and I’m going to miss my flight’… Ahhhhhhhh!!!!
No matter how perfectly we plan our Executive’s trips there is always the potential of something going wrong. It is how we cope with these delays and problems that make us super duper Assistants. Here are some tips if your Executive does experience a travel delay:
- Be prepared. It is always, always worth checking the weather in the places that your boss is travelling to. It kinda goes without saying that if there have been any weather warnings or any unusual weather there will be travel delays and you should be prepared for this.
- Make a temporary hotel reservation. Some hotels do not charge until you turn up at the reception desk so it is well worth making a reservation just so they have someone to put their hesad in case they are stuck in the city. Ideally you want to book a hotel attached to the airport or one that offers a shuttle service to the terminal so that your Executive doesn’t have to worry about ground transport.
- Make sure your Executive is a member of the loyality scheme for the airline and the hotel. Members can use the lounge and they generally get treated better.
- Prior to the trip ensure your Executive has the phone number of the hotel, your Travel Management Company and the Airline stored in their phone. Tell them the numbers are there in case of emergency.
- Just be aware of alternative flights on other airlines that are flying around the same time as your Executive. You may be able to book them on or get your Travel Management Company to switch the booking asap.
- Use social media. Many airlines and airports will post up to date information on their Twitter feed before they get round to telling people on the ground. It is also worth sending a tweet or two to the airline… a little complaining never hurts!
- It isn’t just weather that can delay a trip. If there are any strikes that are taking place while your boss is travelling this can cause huge delays. Air traffic Controllers, Baggage Handlers, public transport workers often go on strike, but they will announce it in advance so that travellers can plan accordingly. The airliners may say they are running a usual service, but from experience this is not the case.
- Book early morning flights where possible. Any flight delays will be much worse as the day goes on so make sure your Exec is on the early flight so they are the first to leave.
- Most Executives will ask you to book a complete flight (rather than a connecting flight) but if your organisation has a small budget for flights it is worth noting that a continuous flight will not be as affected by delays.
- Always inform the local office if your Executive is experiencing delays. They may have arrangements in place tht you are not aware of.
- Most Executives don’t check in luggage these days, which is a good thing. This helps when airline staff have to pick who can quickly run across a terminal to catch a different flight. Travelling light really does help in these situations.
- If your Executive decides to hire a car to make it to the next part of the trip do make sure you let the airline know. They may cancel the rest of the trip and put your Executive down as a ‘no-show’.
- If your Executive is stuck on a plane that is sitting on the tarmac the airline can only keep them there for up to three hours. This is worth letting your Executive know they can ask get off after that point.
For lots more business travel tips we recommend you come along to Assist Travel. Taking place on Friday 9th September in London it is the conference for PA’s who book business travel for their Executives.
Discount for Practically Perfect PA readers
Our early booking fee of £100 is still available for Practically Perfect PA readers and you can book your place right now. This is the only event in the UK specifically for PAs who organise business travel. I would love to see you there! To get more information about the conference you can visit the Assist Travel webpage or you can book directly through Eventbrite.