When it comes to business travel, time is a critical variable that assistants need to consider when booking trips. However, aside from ensuring our colleagues have TSA pre-check, get non-stop flights and leave for the airport on time, most time gets wasted on steps that are out of our control, like security check points, runway delays and waiting for Ubers.
Here are some helpful tools and tips to prepare your leader or colleague for the unexpected delays and time suckers that come along with travel.
Research Security Wait Times
You can’t prevent long security lines, but you can prepare for them. Airports are starting to collect data on the lengths of lines and are posting them online. The TSA app is a good resource for estimating wait times.
Airlines are also helping to keep travelers informed. Check out the “Airport Advisories” section of your Delta account. They not only mention where to expect weather or air-traffic control delays, but also which parking garages are closed in airports.
Understand and Account for Departure Delays
The next best way to anticipate disruption is to track the prior plane’s schedule and weather. The best site for that is FlightAware. You can see past the aircraft’s past flight schedule and view upcoming flights in the activity log. If the prior flight is delayed, you will be the first to know. For executive assistants and administrative assistants that go the extra mile, tracking the prior flight through FlightAware is a great resource.
When booking flights, it is also important to account for which airports are more likely to have delays and bake extra time into your leaders schedule. This list ranks the top worst airports for delays in the country. If you’re colleague is flying into anywhere on this list, I recommend assuming the flight lands an hour later than it actually does.
If there is a delay, don’t sweat it. Research the locations of the executive lounges and point your leaders in the right direction. A helpful app for booking a spot in a lounge, even when you’re not a member, is LoungeBuddy. The app gets you immediate access into lounges. You can book the day-of, or two months in advance.
Stay Current on Ride-Sharing Protocols
Today’s business travelers frequently use ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft rather than renting cars or taking taxis. As these apps have proliferated market, demand has grown exponentially in last four years. It used to be the cheaper and faster option to order one of these cars, but now that is changing.
In addition to increased demand, airports and cities are placing regulations on the quantity and placement of these cars. One way to help your colleague save time and navigate an airport’s relationship with Uber or Lyft is to visit the Airport’s ground transportation section their website. For example, would you ever guess that App-Based car services would pick up on Level 2 of the Green Parking Ramp in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport? Even as a Minneapolis native, I would have never known. Thankfully, it is listed on the Minneapolis airport’s website.
If your leader ops out of taxi services and prefers to drive, one major delay can be parking garages. Recommend your colleague download the app ParkWhiz. It will help them find available parking garages all across the city and compare rates.