Business travel is a becoming a larger and more sophisticated market, much to the delight of Australian travellers who are using work trips as a gateway to personal travel. According to the American Express Global Business Travel survey, three quarters of respondents are extending business trips for leisure purposes. Australian business travellers are flying seven times a year, with five of these being international flights. And the top five business travel destinations are London, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo - all medium to long-haul - thus warranting a business class ticket.
The question of wi-fi is one which weighs on corporate clients mind's but it turns out that connection is not always a good thing, with 72% of business travellers preferring to disconnect when up in the air. Just 16% of Australian business travellers work on their flights, which places even more emphasis on the hours of movie time and bed angles in Travel Weekly’s questions to major carriers - to be released next week.
Despite the free-flowing champagne onboard for social lubrication - with Emirates even boasting Dom Perignon - the last thing business travellers want to do is talk to anyone. A very friendly 1% of business travellers will converse with their neighbours, but the other 99% pop the headphones or eye mask on at first opportunity.
One third of Australian flyers on business will eschew alcohol too, which seems a shame when there are some fine drops to be had. Etihad, for instance, has a menu of eight wines. For those who’d rather energise than unwind, Austrian Airlines has its own flying coffee house with ten brews on offer.
As for seats, spa treatments come as standard in business airport lounges, but if you miss your chance, Emirates, Austrian Airlines and Etihad have in-built seat massage options. And while Virgin provides never-before-worn pyjamas, Emirates guarantees sleep with a mattress topper. A patented Z position may sound like jargon but it’s worth an explanation after experiencing the fully flat 201cm bed offered by British Airways. In terms of lounges, London’s Heathrow airport comes up trumps with the most business travel friendly elements on offer - Virgin has installed a pool table and British Airways has its own cinema.