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Blog Business travel hacks: How to get work done on a plane
Date: 5 April 2019

Business travel hacks: How to get work done on a plane


If you’re a frequent business traveller, you’ll know that even the shortest flight can take up a good chunk of your day.

There’s the time spent travelling to and from the airport, going through security, hanging around in the terminal, and of course, waiting for your luggage. It all adds up to a lot of wasted work hours.

But if you’re savvy, you can make up the time at 35,000 feet. In some ways, a plane is an ideal working environment. There are no interruptions from your manager, or chit-chat from colleagues, or ringing phones. Flying gives you a great opportunity to plough through your to-do list.

With this in mind, here are some tips for getting work done on a plane:

Pre-flight checklist

Be realistic

From above, a woman's hand handwrites an entry in a diary

Start by planning your business flight to-do list

Have a look at what you need to get done and plan what you’ll do on the flight. Be realistic though. You won’t get 10 solid hours of work done on a 10-hour flight. Make a list of the tasks you want to accomplish, and tackle the most important jobs first.

As good as your intentions may be there’s less oxygen circulating at 35,000 feet, so you might be left feeling more lethargic than you would sat behind your desk.

That said, many new planes have a Boeing Sky Interior which has less air pressure, and LED mood lighting which is carefully balanced for leisure, work or rest.

Extra Reward tip: Get Rewarded for your business travel

If you’re travelling for business often, make sure you sign up to Norwegian Reward. The more you fly, the more perks you get, such as CashPoint boosts, free seat selection and free Fast Track. We call these benefits Rewards, and you get your first one after just six one-way flights. That includes stopovers, too!

Check you can surf in the sky

A woman onboard a Norwegian aircraft taps on the keyboard of her laptop as it rests on the drop down table

Take advantage of Norwegian’s free onboard WiFi

If you know you’re going to need Internet connectivity on a work flight, make sure the plane you’re travelling on has WiFi. If it doesn’t, be sure to download everything you’ll need in advance. Take screenshots of websites, download emails and print out reports.

Norwegian offers free WiFi on most flights. The airline is also rolling out a premium WiFi service on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which fly a variety of routes worldwide. Premium WiFi customers can use free WiFi or choose from two paid packages: SOCIAL+SURF and STREAM+SURF, which both offer faster speeds. Look out for the WiFi symbol when you book your flight.

Charge up

 A man's hand holds a USB connector

Charge your phone, tablet or laptop with the USB connector

Don’t wait until you’re onboard to discover your laptop battery is dead. Make sure any devices you’ll be using are fully charged before you step foot in the airport. It may seem obvious, but in the last-minute rush to pack and make it to the airport on time, it’s easy to forget that your laptop needs some juice.

Bonus tip: Charge your phone while it’s in aeroplane mode and it’ll charge up to 20% faster. This isn’t just a travel hack, it’s a useful life hack, too.

On some planes you can charge your phone, tablet or laptop through the USB connector on the touchscreen of the entertainment system.

In the air

Make the most of take-off and landing

A man on an aircraft at night reads his electronic device

Catch up on your reading during take-off and landing

There’s a fair amount of time during take-off and landing when you won’t be able to use your laptop as it needs to be stowed. That’s 10-30 minutes where you might not be able to be as productive as you’d like. But you can still put that time to good use by reading through printed material, making notes or making sure you have all your receipts in order (to name just a few examples).

Have a power nap

A woman on an aircraft reclines in her seat and sleeps

Take a break and enjoy a quick power nap

Travelling can take a lot out of you, and if you’re exhausted, you’re not going to produce your best work. Sometimes the best thing you can do is get some much-needed shut-eye. If you’ve mastered the art of power-napping, grab 40 winks, then get back to it.

Tip: If you’re a contact lens wearer, remember to remove them before you sleep. The lack of humidity in the plane cabin can make make your eyes feel dry and sometimes uncomfortable, and contact lenses draw moisture from your eyes, too.

Drown out the noise

Noise-cancelling headphones

Use noise cancelling headphones for complete peace and quiet

If you work best in silence, noise-cancelling headphones are your friend. They’ll help you focus by blocking out the drone of the engines, the chatter in the cabin and the giggles of the teens a few rows behind. They’re also a subtle sign that you’re busy and don’t want to be disturbed.

Use a privacy screen filter

A graphic of a padlock surrounded by coding

Keep confidential information private when you’re onboard

If you don’t want your neighbours looking over your shoulder at your top-secret spreadsheet, invest in a privacy screen filter for your laptop. These lightweight filters decrease the viewing angle of the monitor and prevent other passengers from catching a glimpse of any confidential information.

Stay hydrated

A smiling air hostess onboard an aircraft hands a glass of water to a passenger

Sip water throughout your flight and stay hydrated

We lose a lot of water through our skin when we fly. The air in the cabin has a humidity level of between 15% and 20%, whereas the typical indoor humidity on the ground is more like 30% to 65%. This can lead to fatigue, reduced concentration and a tendency to find tasks harder.

Give yourself a helping hand and sip plenty of H2O if you want to finish that presentation before you land.

Take regular breaks

An empty aircraft seat is piled with in-flight magazines

Leave your seat for a quick leg stretch

Just as you would when working in your office, make sure you take regular breaks from your work on a plane. Walk up and down the aisle and do a few leg stretches. This will improve circulation and prevent lethargy. The break from focusing will also give your brain a chance to recharge a little before you get back to work.

Put your layover to good use

A man seated in an airport lounge uses his tablet

Use your layover time for productive work

While Norwegian reduces emissions by always flying as direct a route as possible, you can’t always get to your final destination without stopping off first. That said, your layover will be much more efficient if you use the time productively.

Check for outlets for you to charge your devices and space for you to spread out. You could even pre-book an airport lounge so you can relax knowing you’ll have Internet, power and a comfortable workspace.

If you’re diligent, you might just find that you’ve finished your work before it’s time to board your connecting flight.

Accept when it’s not working

An aircraft is not your office and, despite your best efforts, sometimes you just can’t get into the work groove. If this happens, don’t let it frustrate you. Have a backup plan of low energy tasks you can do without thinking too much, like getting on top of your emails or cleaning your desktop. Even decluttering can feel productive.

Fly Norwegian, earn CashPoints

Family of four playing in sand

Turn your trips into another trip with Norwegian Reward

Wouldn’t it be nice if travelling for business could become a pleasure? If you haven’t done so already, sign up to Norwegian Reward and turn your trips into another trip! Earn CashPoints each time you travel for work, then use them to pay for your next holiday.


9 must-dos for your Buenos Aires bucket list