A traveling salesman wishlist in year 2017

Jun 21, 2017 · 3 min read
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As the CEO of a tech start-up, I don’t have the luxury to fly business class. I travel long distances frequently where 7 to 10 hour legs are quite normal. I get sore back and neck from traveling, and bad posture working on laptop and looking at mobile screen (my favourite TV series on the go…) during travel make things worse.

Here are some of my wish lists as a typical travelling salesman these days

1. Online auction bid to upgrade to Business class in-flight.

Instead of keeping Business class seats empty during the entire flight, airlines could offer upgrades to passengers a few hours into the long flight. An in-flight online bid auction for good seats going to the highest bidder would be attractive to economy passengers suffering cram seat syndromes. This is a win-win for the airlines and budget passengers, like me.

2. Free in-flight Wi-Fi for messaging, emails and file sharing.

I realise some airlines such as Jet-Blue Airways already offer free in-flight
Wi-Fi and I applaud them for making the extra effort for their passengers but I wish more airlines would follow suit. It really helps business travellers when we can continue to work on emails, messages and files/content sharing. Please don’t charge me USD$10 per hour, my flights are usually very long!

3. A loan unit of 4G pocket Wi-Fi for frequent flyers when we land overseas

I don’t like to pay for international roaming, even when its only USD$5 per day. Flight tickets are the highest expense item for most business travels, and it makes sense that small rewarding gestures such as “7-days free-roaming on a loan pocket Wi-Fi unit” can be offered as part of the airfare package.

4. Free ride promotions and free Wi-Fi on ride sharing such as Uber, Grab and Didi.

Whenever possible, I always use Uber, Grab and Didi when I travel. Wouldn’t it be nice if (1) Airlines provide partner promotions, giving away number of free rides when you arrive, and (2) in-car free Wi-Fis readily available so that I can get Wi-Fi services seamlessly from the airport to my hotel without having to connect and reconnect again.

A business traveller like myself leaves behind valuable traces of online and physical footprint data, combining user data with the opportunities to tailor target messages and advertisements to me, is it really that unrealistic to expect the perks listed above?

I suspect certain airlines, hotel chains and restaurants would love me to spend with them next when I travel again. Advertisers sponsored perks that make a traveller’s journey more rewarding surely increases loyalty and stickiness to the customers.

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