Rachel Maarten is affiliated with a leading consulting firm. She is currently juggling two major international consulting projects, one with a client based in Basel, Switzerland and the other with a client based in Tokyo, Japan. These projects are expected to continue over the next few months and they will have to relocate within a week from their base in New York. Unlike many other business travelers, Rashel travels to distant destinations, especially since she travels in the plush business class cabin of a leading carrier.
Arun Sohni is vice president of IT at the New York City Investment Bank; he was recently entrusted with the QA department at the Bank's London branch. This role forces him to travel to London every month as he builds his quality assurance team. Although Arun hates travel, he believes it is important to make these monthly trips to the London office, especially if he has a role that cannot be effectively fulfilled through remote management. In addition, these trips are also made acceptable by the fact that his bank's travel department has assigned him business-class flights for these transatlantic trips.
Both Russell and Arun believe that their business travel is necessary for their roles to be successful, because they say that despite recent advances in technology and video conferencing, face-to-face meetings are no substitute, especially for situations involving foreign clients. or remote monitoring. These absenteeism meetings, as well as conventions and motivational travel, are essential to the success of today's business.
However, in the uncertain times of the current global economic downturn, many firms stop business travel altogether or, if business travel is considered to be absolutely essential, persuade their drivers to fly the bus cab even on long-haul flights lasting more than eight hours trying to control costs. Russell says if she is forced to board the bus for a fourteen-hour flight from JFK to Narita, she will not be able to act when landing in Japan. Right now, the only way she can cope with the delay is to lie on a flat bed for the rest of her journey, given to her by a business-class flight.
Business travel is a necessary trading tool that not only helps the companies themselves, but also helps various areas of the travel industry such as airlines and hotels. In fact, airlines are heavily dependent on business class travelers because they need revenue.