If you’ve ever been a road warrior, you know that the following is true. Spending hours upon hours on a plane several times a week, every week of the year, even the smallest benefits can make a profound difference. It’s sad but true that happiness is measured in on-time arrivals and exit rows, but such is the nature of frequent business travel.
According to the latest Orbitz for Business / Busienss Traveler Magazine Quarterly Trend Report, what business travelers want is changing. During the recession, cost was paramount, as cash-strapped businesses put pressure on employees to keep expenses under control in a bid to protect profit margins. Now that economic conditions are changing, travel priorities are too.
Ancillary services are gaining importance, as passengers are looking for ways to be comfortable again, especially if looser travel budgets are resulting in more time on the road. According to IATA, the airline industry is likely to pull in an aggregate $8.9 billion in profits from ancillary services this year, indicating that the money is likely to come from somewhere.
Let’s take a look at the five things the white collar travel folks are beginning to crave:1. A seat in the aisle: this isn’t surprising; everyone wants the chance to stretch out, even if it means the risk of getting slammed by the beverage cart.
2. Priority access at the security line and early boarding: hey, nobody wants to wait, right?
3. Airline lounge or club access: if you’re going to be stuck in an airport, you might as well enjoy it.
4. A seat at the front of the plane: boarding isn’t the only priority – business travelers want to get off quickly, too.
5. Extra leg room in coach: sense a theme here?
Like the opportunity to keep one’s dignity while flying, baggage check didn’t make the top five. Though among the most used ancillary services for leisure travelers, it came in sixth for business travelers, likely because frequent fliers have learned to avoid checking their bags at all costs. Interestingly, the least-used ancillary services are priority standby for an alternative flight and internet access, though I expect the latter to increase as it becomes more widely available.