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Business travellers grin and bear it, according to online survey

16 May 2007 by business traveller

We all know that business travel can be stressful, especially when you are rushing to get to a meeting or you have to make the last flight home, but the latest American Express Business Travel survey showed that 45 per cent of us feel stressed before we even get to the airport.

The results were compiled from 500 interviews, completed online by business travellers across the UK, France, Germany and the Nordics at the end of 2006.

Unsurprisingly it seems that 84 per cent of us are annoyed by flight delays and cancellations and 45 per cent find not being able to easily change flight bookings irritating. Even modern technology such as online check-in, fast bag drops and self-service check-in kiosks are not doing much to help relieve the situation.

David Herrick, senior vice president, head of business travel EMEA at American Express, said: "The fact that so much stress is felt prior to take-off indicates the importance of the entire travel experience."

Even when we get onto the plane, our blood pressure is apparently still rising. Being allocated the middle seat annoyed 48 per cent of the respondents while 25 per cent were concerned about "chatty" neighbours. And of course leg-room was another gripe with 64 per cent of business travellers believing more leg-room would vastly improve their travelling experience.

It's not all doom and gloom though: as business travellers, we are also benefiting from being in foreign places with nearly a third of respondents taking the opportunity to extend their trips into leisure time. While 14 per cent enjoyed the status business travel gave them 78 per cent also admitted that travel made their job more interesting and for 64 per cent this was because they experienced different cultures.

Herrick says: "There will always be a core of business travellers for whom status is paramount and who will do so-called 'mileage runs' in order to keep or upgrade their frequent flyer status with an airline. However, it's interesting to note the emergence of the culture hungry traveller, who not only values travel as an enhancement of their working life but also craves the cultural experiences and understanding."

Report by Felicity Cousins

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