Author: Jeanne Mackenzie

Peloton Bikes Available In Room At Westin Hotels

Peloton-available-westin-hotels

I’ve always been one to exercise while traveling for business.  My stress level is higher than normal and needs to be under control when business is the mindset.  So when I read the USAToday article about Peloton exercise bikes being made available in some Westin Hotels, I was so EXCITED!!

Peloton Bikes come to individual hotel rooms

Guests are now able to choose a hotel room with a Peloton bike as a “room category” for their stay. Currently, this is only available in select cities including; Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Boston. They will have access to 5,000 on-demand classes taught by instructors through the bike. But these Peloton options are growing fast. In other locations like Austin, Detroit, Denver, New York City, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, the Peloton bikes will be available in hotel’s fitness studios.

Business travelers looking for more exercise options

As it turns out, I’m not the only one exercising while on the road. A recent study found that 65% of travelers say they exercise less while on the road. Though they do try — 83% said they factor in wellness programs into their travel planning. As Millennials begin to travel more, they are also pushing for more exercise options. Nearly 40% of Millennials traveling planned to cycle while on the road. Easy access to Peloton bikes appears to be a no-brainer for the future of hotel amenities.

High-scale exercise options to hotel guests are the new rage. Hotels around the world are teaming up with the hottest and trendiest studios.  Boot camps, spin classes, hula swimming, and personal training sessions are popping up across the globe. Could this be the latest in hotel networking and mingle hours provided by hotels?

Perhaps gone are the days of getting up before dawn to claim a treadmill or elliptical machine alongside other stressed-out travelers. With an in-room bike or scheduled class, exercise can take place at a more reasonable hour with more fun.

Free TSA Pre-Check Status Is Ending

free TSA Pre-Check

If you have traveled frequently in the last month, you may have noticed a major change. Most airlines are no longer providing free TSA Pre-check status like they have in the past. Those receiving TSA Pre-Check for free will now be offered it less and less. The Transportation Security Administration has begun limiting access to its expedited physical screening lanes. Only those who have paid for and enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler programs—TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI will be offered on a consistent basis. My thinking is that every once in a while they want to make sure you are still going by the rules and have you go through regular security lines for a full review.

Applying for TSA Pre-Check

Though an application and approval process is required to receive TSA Pre-Check status, it is very easy.  Interested fliers apply online, submit to a background check, and then visit one of more than 380 enrollment sites across the country. This in-person appointment with a TSA agents can be scheduled online as well.  I enrolled in Global Entry early in 2016 and loved how it expedited my re-entry to US. If you travel 3-4 trips a year, it is well worth the $85 for five years ($17 a year) or Global Entry is $100 ($20 a year).  Learn more about the application process in our ultimate TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry guide.

TSA Pre Check alternative payment methods

Some airlines are offering payment by using your miles. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines require using 10,000 miles, while Southwest  needs 9,000 rapid rewards points.  Delta Air Lines is using miles, but instead offering Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members the ability to select Global Entry application vouchers through Choice Benefits. This loyalty program feature is only available to Delta elite Members. JetBlue is also offering TSA Pre Check for free to elites, similar to Delta’s system.

If you love not having to remove shoes, leaving laptop in your bag, along with your Ziploc bag of liquids don’t delay because the necessary face-to-face appointments are filling up fast.  In other words—don’t wait until right before your next trip to apply as you will be sadly disappointed.

Any questions about TSA PreCheck eligibility contact TSA at (866) 289-9673 or submit questions to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook.com/AskTSA.

A Great Delta Flight Experience With Rough Beginnings

Delta-airlines

We’ve all had those flights—when everything goes wrong. That’s exactly what happened on my recent trip on Delta, but it surprisingly ended on a high note.  Finishing a presentation in South Bend, IN with my co-worker last week; we were connecting through Atlanta on our way home to Salt Lake City, UT. A typical route for any seasoned business traveler, I boarded the plane expecting the usual. Little did I know the delays, complications and cancellations that were waiting for me. Over the course of the next few hours we would move from one plane, to another, and then to the third and final flight to finally get to Atlanta, only to miss my connection to Salt Lake City. Fortunately, I became better acquainted with some delightful fellow travelers and experienced Delta’s amazing employees and new technology in action.

Delta flight faces initial setbacks

The hiccups started when we spent the first 20 minutes on the plane waiting for a working deicing machine. Once we took-off, 15 minutes in to the flight our pilot announced we would be returning to South Bend due to a rudder problem.  Fortunately, our pilot was amazing.  He was informative, positive, and very concerned about his responsibility as our pilot. A few minutes prior to landing he then reassured us that protocol required fire engines and an ambulance to be waiting upon landing.  One passenger nearby was seriously upset about the possible negative outcomes.

We landed, moved everyone to another plane, and sat in the same seating.  The crew on board and the gate folks at South Bend were amazing—calm, informative, and respectful of all travelers.  They also announced that any connections leaving before 9pm would likely be missed, so travelers should reschedule. We pulled away from the gate and our pilot, who I affectionately dubbed ‘Captain America’, very calmly came out of the cockpit and used the loudspeaker in front of us. In a comforting and personal way, he announced that a sensor light needed to be repaired before we could take off.  Encouragingly, he said it would only take 10 minutes.  Personnel were already on their way to repair it, and then we would be off again, hopefully making good time to catch our connections.

Well, the passenger who lost it earlier, immediately hit her flight attendant button. Saying she had a bad feeling, she asked to be removed from the plane and would reschedule to fly tomorrow. The flight attendant, who remained kind and understanding, checked with the pilot and she was able to deplane.  After waiting more than 10 minutes, my co-worker and I both looked at each other— something must be up, again!  Captain America very apologetically stated that the crew was not able to make the repair. We would need to change to yet another plane!  Thankfully, there were additional Delta planes available in South Bend.  Feeling wary from sitting on two planes already, my surrounding fellow travelers and I quietly thought about rescheduling. Most of us realized though, that we had a better chance of getting home early tomorrow morning if we ended up in Atlanta, rather than South Bend.  We grudgingly accepted the bad news.

Delta professionally alleviated a very stressful situation

It was only a few years ago that this same situation would have required hours of standing in long lines. To my surprise upon landing, a notification from the Delta app popped up on my smartphone. With an acknowledgement stating how much Delta appreciated my patience and understanding, it included a list of 4 hotels from which I could choose to spend the night.  I also realized that after boarding plane number two, an email was sent explaining an additional amount of miles had been added to my Delta FFY account!

At 11:30 pm, standing in line at the service counter, feeling very tired and irritated, I thought to myself this is where I’m going to get a little ticked off!!  Amazingly the one and only service counter person directed us all to go to the machines provided off to the side. Instructing us to place our boarding pass code on the scanner to obtain our hotel voucher and boarding pass for our re-accommodated flight for the next day.  That was it! Off we went to catch the 24-hour shuttle to our Westin hotel.

Delta is truly providing great service their customers, even in the worst of situations. Though I was inconvenienced, my stress level was minimal, due to Delta continually striving to climb high in their customer service!  From their kind employees, to their app notifications, and their customer service kiosks, I felt taken care of every step of the way. Kudos to DELTA.

 

Holiday Gift Ideas For Business Travelers: Travel Pillows

Business travelers are an elusive breed. They’re working on five things at once, fiercely independent, compulsively organized and have an impeccable sense of time. If experienced, they have their own tried-and-true habits for travel too. Overall, they are often the hardest to shop for around the holidays. So how do you find that perfect present for the person who doesn’t think need anything? Focus on innovation, of course! In this blog, we’re conquering one of the most uncomfortable aspects of travel—sleeping. The first in the series of gift ideas for business travelers, we’ve found our favorite and most innovative travel pillow solutions on the market.

Travel pillow gift ideas for business travelers


FaceCradle
 gift ideas for business travelers– This amazing pillow has 5 different modes for sleeping while traveling—more than any other pillow on the market. Unlike other travel pillows, it has two oval cushions, hinged together with a clip and strap accessory. The different positions create the perfect pillow for any traveler. The hinge assists the neck, avoiding uncomfortable angles. One of these positions is a wrapping the strap around the back of the traveler’s seat and clipping into the pillow. Leaning forward, the traveler can sleep comfortably while also being supported. It looks a little ridiculous, but could become a serious staple for the regular traveler. $46.00

 

 

 

HoodiePillowgift ideas for business traveler - travel pillow – Just as the name implies, this is a pillow with a hood attached. The hoodie is oversized and big enough to accommodate headphones. It also blocks out light and is just a comfy as your favorite hoodie. It comes in both memory foam and inflatable, plus adorable options for kids. This company also sells standard pillowcases to be used at home or at the beach. $24.95 – $29.95

 

 

 

 

OSTRICHPILLOW® gift ideas for business travelers- travel pillowby Studio Banana Things – The most bizarre looking in our gift guide, it also looks irresistibly comfortable. This encompassing pillow goes over the head, with various holes for the most comfortable power nap of your life. It could be a perfect gift for college students or workaholics as well. Studio Banana Things offers other versions for specific sleep positions. These pillows are slimmer and can be sold as gift sets. $99.00

gift ideas for business travelers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BauBax Travel Jacket – Claimed to be the “Swiss army knife of travel wear” by CNN Money, this company has everything you need to fly comfortably into one jacket. It comes in four basic styles for both men and women, including a blazer. A few of the features include a built-in inflatable neck pillow, eye mask, tablet pocket, passport pocket, earphone holder, built-in gloves, portable charger pocket, detachable hood, and blanket pocket. It was originally developed by a couple on an overnight international flight. Since its inception, the jacket is the highest funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter history.  $199.00

Didn’t find anything that might interest your business traveler? Check back in throughout the holiday season for additional gift ideas for your business traveler or busy professional.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company, passionate about simplifying travel for busy professionals. With more than 60 years of experience and award-winning service, we are one of the top travel management companies in the nation.

Finally, Refunds For Delayed Checked Bags!

business travel luggageThanks to a recent FAA ruling, travelers will be refunded if their checked baggages are delayed more than 12 hours or 15 hours internationally. It is a $25 rebate for the first bag and $50 for two delayed bags.  Prior to this ruling, Delta Air Lines was the only airline offering refunds for delayed bags.  Now all airlines are required to follow this ruling and set up procedures.

Sounds like good news, right?  Good news is the refund itself.  The bad news is that the refund is administered in the form of an electronic travel voucher—not cash!  Though not convenient for the traveler, it also creates a headache for the companies who booked the travel.  The refund will not be credited back to the credit card, but to be used for future travel in the form of this travel voucher. This further complicates billing and travel budgets.  The deadline for the airlines to set up these refund procedures ends in September 2017, so there is wiggle room for this system to change.

According to Yahoo! Finance, while your bags are delayed, consider the following to get reimbursed for expenses:

  • Before you leave the airport, file a complaint for your missing bags. Why? Some airlines will not provide assistance of any kind until or without a formal complaint.  Some airlines allow a complaint by phone within 24 hours.  My experience has always been, “Don’t leave home without it,” …meaning hang at the airport and file the complaint so you can get your bag returned ASAP!
  • Keep all documentation. (in a safe and convenient place). Starting with your boarding pass, baggage claim ticket, plus all receipts for any expenses.  At some point, you will likely need them.
  • No shopping spree! Resist the urge to buy replacement clothes or items. Don’t expect the airlines to reimburse you completely for items that may be lost or delayed. Consider carrying on items you can’t be without, such as a tux if you are traveling to a wedding or special handouts for an important meeting (e.g. Christopherson’s signature chocolates). Though they are essential for you, the airlines probably wont pay to replace these items.
  • Check your credit card’s baggage coverage. In the case of business, know what your company credit card provides. This should be in your travel policy guidelines. There are different rules for each credit card.  As an example, Chase Sapphire Card will reimburse for essential purchases up to $100 a day for five days. Delta is the only airline with details as to what they offer as compensation:  $50 a day for the first five days a bag is delayed as long as you provide receipts.
  • Try to relax. Delayed or lost baggage is definitely a major hassle but most bags are found within 48 hours.  Personally, I dislike carry-on bags (weight, bad rotator cuff, etc.) so I usually have essentials in a small case besides a checked bag.

As always … wishing you safe travels!!

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience assisting customers. Learn more about our philosophy or talk to us about how to start a corporate travel policy.

 

What Is The Right Size For Carry-on Luggage?

Just the other day I was looking for a new piece of luggage.  I frequently travel for business, and I’ve found carrying on luggage is the most convenient for short trips.  I’m also upgrading to a piece of luggage with four wheels.  As I began my search, I realized how tough this new quest is, considering the varying size specifications between airlines.  Not only are these size requirements often changing in general, but they vary by airline too.

With these varying size requirements, I think it is best to stick with the Delta Air Line, United Airline, and American Airline’s size requirements (22 X 14 X 9 inches).  The size is smaller than permitted by other airlines, but it seems to be the average size used. Some airlines do allow slightly larger luggage, like Southwest or Air Canada.  If you decide on a piece of luggage, you then need to consider if a future flight will be with an airline like United or Delta. If so, you will be required to check your new ‘carry-on’ bag with these airlines.

Our new cheat sheet about carry-on luggage facts provides additional information. Keep it handy for carry-on dimensions based on the airline you are flying.

LuggageInfographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we provide our clients superior mobile travel technology and individualized customer support. Contact us to learn why we are different.

Read next:  Laptop Totes- No More Choosing Between Your Purse And Laptop!

Who Books Business Travel Earlier – Men or Women?

A recent study from the Harvard Business Review indicates men and women demonstrate different habits when planning and booking travel. The study, which analyzed 6.4 million flight bookings, indicates that women’s actions are, on average, more proactive. When this travel is for business, such proactivity helps the company’s bottom line by saving additional costs and fees. Below are a few related facts found by the study:

  • On average, women buy air travel two days earlier than men. Millennial women show the smallest difference in advance planning.
  • The more one travels per year (28 trips or more a year) results in less advance booking. There seems to be no difference for so-called road warriors.
  • The older any traveler gets, regardless of gender, the earlier they book. Women, however, book earlier than men at every age group.
  • The overall average difference in ticket costs in the study’s uncontrolled result was more than $133 per ticket.

business travel stats men vs women One reason for this difference may be that women anticipate the higher stress experience in purchasing a ticket close to the travel date. As a way to offset this anticipated travel stress, women may be more organized before, during, and after their trip.  The study mentions other factors, but ultimately provides this as a variable influencing higher costs for companies. Using this data, it might be beneficial for corporate travel managers to create incentives for travelers who book their tickets earlier.

Looking for other business travel tips? Read 5 Tips for Managing Business Travel Expenses.

What is the new “basic economy” class?

Basic Economy fare- business travel Previously offered only by discount carriers, the “basic economy” class is also offered by Delta. This fare competes with ultra-low cost carriers (LCCs) like Spirit and Frontier. What you get is simply transportation from point A to B with restrictions on seat selection and checked bags, no refunds or changes, and no upgrading to elite perks.

At JP Morgan’s Aviation conference in March, both American and United announced they are following suit with Delta. American will stick with the name, “basic economy,” and will introduce the option in the second half of 2016. United will call their new fare class, “entry level,” with no announcement of when. Routes were not announced by either airline. Delta started with routes to and from locations where they compete with Spirit and Frontier, but is slowly moving into other cities.

Of these new options, Skift’s Grant Martin wrote, “And while it’s a lucrative change for the airlines and premium travelers, unrest among budget travelers may start to grow. With no alternative airline to find refuge in, however, the budget travel community may finally be out of luck.”

 

DUFL Packs and Ships Your Suitcase

Dufl is a new travel app designed to assist business travelersMany business travelers feel that the worst part of traveling is having to pack and unpack a suitcase, plus the time required for the task.

Serial entrepreneur, Bill Rinehart, has found a solution to this annoyance: DUFL. DUFL is right up there with Uber and Airbnb as a travel game changer. The idea came after Rinehart finished a roundtrip from Phoenix to London, arriving home on Friday, only to start traveling again on Sunday. The time involved in laundering and preparing to travel again can be depressing. It takes away from valuable family time and enjoying one’s personal life. Here’s how DUFL works:

  • Download the DUFL app and create a new user account. DUFL will then send you a large suitcase.
  • Pack your DUFL suitcase to the brim with whatever you need for future business trips.
  • Mail the suitcase to DUFL’s storage facility via FedEx, DUFL’s partner. Upon receipt, DUFL will inventory and photograph inventory, photograph, clean and store your clothes so that they are ready for your next trip. All items will be uploaded to your account for your reference the next time you travel.
  • Request which clothes you’d like to take from your DUFL virtual closet, through the app, then enter your destination and arrival date. Items are expertly folded and your DUFL suitcase is guaranteed to be waiting for you in whatever city and hotel where you are staying.
  • Return the suitcase once your trip is over via FedEx. Return forms are included with your items and the suitcase is transported back to their facility where clothes are washed or dry cleaned and stored for your next trip!

If only this existed a few years back when I was traveling every other week! The service costs $9.95 per month to maintain your DUFL closet, and $99 for a standard trip, which covers three-day shipping to and from your destination. It also includes cleaning and repacking. DUFL was voted Best Travel App for 2015 by USA Today.  To learn more, visit USA Today and Forbes. You can also check out DUFL’s FAQs at DUFL.com.

Tips for staying in shape while traveling

business travel fitness tipsHere we go again. The holidays probably added five or ten pounds and now it’s the New Year and all of us road warriors are back to traveling every other week. But how are we ever going to get those pounds off and stay in shape?

Here’s the answer: easy-to-follow exercise routines you can do on the road. They will not only help you stay in shape but keep you alert despite the stresses of business travel. With long haul travel especially, maintaining fitness will go a long way to staying fresh and clear.

Click Here for an In-Flight Fitness Workout

Click Here for 18 Exercises for Healthy Flying

Wishing you happy, safe, and healthy travels for 2016!!