Portrait of a Business Traveler: New Survey Examines the Life of the Road Warrior


Portrait of a road warrior (Photo: Thinkstock)

So, what makes the average business traveler tick? Virgin Atlantic surveyed business travelers to find out what keeps them going in their hyper-connected, high-flying world.

They’re rule breakers and risk takers

Two-thirds of business travelers surveyed say flyers are willing to bend or break the rules. Does that mean they don’t put up their tray tables before landing?

They actually look forward to the airport

Most travelers in the survey — 56% — said they purposely get to the airport early so they can chill in the lounge. Some like to work there (42% get work done and 65% take advantage of the Wi-Fi) and others like to play there (81% hit up the airport cuisine and 21% pamper themselves with a massage or facial).


Surprise: there are people who actually like the airport. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Their heads are in the clouds

One in four of survey respondents said they get their best ideas when traveling. Presumably that means the longer the travel day, the more great business ideas are generated. Maybe the key to improving national productivity lies in more flight delays.

The mile-high networking club

One in five people surveyed has done business with someone they met on a plane. All the more reason to be nice to your seatmate.


Lots of business travelers make new contacts during flights (Photo: Thinkstock)

A work trip isn’t always a work trip

How do business travelers pass the time on a flight. More than half (57%) check out inflight entertainment. At roughly and equal rate —14% vs 13% — people either have a drink or read a book (it is, however, possible to do both). About 11% sleep. And the percentage of business travelers who only do work is about 3%.

A work trip isn’t always a work trip, Part II

Virgin Atlantic says nine in ten mix pleasure into every business trip they take. Hopefully, they handle business first.


All work and no play would make this business traveler a very dull person (Photo: Thinkstock)

Business trips can lead to adventure

65 percent of business travelers have extended their trips to explore a new country. And 53% prefer to plan their itinerary spur-of-the-moment. These fliers love to fly by the seat of their pants.

They hit the ground running

Nearly 31% begin their business immediately after landing. Another third aren’t much further behind, getting back to work within hours.

They’re stealing money…

… meaning many business travelers love what they do so much, they can’t believe they’re getting paid for it. More than three in five (61%) of the travelers surveyed believe they have the best job in the world.


Many business travelers like their lives on the road. (Photo: Thinkstock)

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