Ensuring Safe Corporate Travel Through the Air

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In recent months, the concern for air travel safety has increased exponentially. While weather conditions and turbulence are more common and expected phenomenon during flight, the recent mechanical failures and high-profile cases of particular aircraft incidents have sparked discussions about the measures necessary to ensure safe journeys for passengers, especially for those traveling for business purposes. In light of the Department of Justice (DOJ) launching a criminal investigation into Boeing’s 737 Max 9 blowout, let’s delve into these recent air traveling incidents and explore strategies for corporate travelers to navigate the skies safely.

Recent Airline Incidents

Currently, the biggest high-profile case of an air travel incident is the Boeing 737 Max 9 case. In January, a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet for Alaska Airlines was forced to make an emergency landing seven minutes after takeoff due to a fuselage blowout, which ripped the door plug off and left a gaping hole in the side of the plane. While there were no serious injuries from this incident, the DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation, placing Boeing into further scrutiny.

The intense scrutiny for Boeing continues to increase as United Airlines and American Airlines both have had multiple incidents recently with their aircraft. United Airlines has had five mishaps within the past week: an aircraft’s engine caught fire after ingesting bubble wrap, another plane lost a tire after takeoff (which also caused damage to cars in the airport parking lot), another aircraft skidded off the runway, another plane’s hydraulics failed, and a flight had to make an emergency landing due to mechanical issues. American Airlines also had to make an emergency landing this week after citing mechanical problems and low tire pressure.

According to a survey by Fast-Company Harris, due to the incidents that have happened recently, travelers are now changing their flying behaviors and paying more attention to air travel safety. The survey also revealed:

  • 48% of passengers are more likely to pay attention to safety materials
  • 40% of passengers are more likely to consider the type of plane
  • 36% of passengers are more likely to consider the airline
  • 42% of passengers are more likely to monitor plane functions
  • 45% of passengers are more likely to pay attention to pre-takeoff activities

How to Ensure Safer Corporate Travel

While the travel journey can be unpredictable and anxiety-inducing, especially with these recent flying incidents, here are some strategies meeting planners and/or business travelers can adopt to potentially mitigate the risks associated with air travel:

  • Thorough Risk Assessment: Before finalizing travel plans, conduct a comprehensive risk assessment that takes into account factors such as destination-specific hazards, airline safety records, and potential disruptions due to weather or geopolitical events.
  • Choose Reputable Airlines: Prioritize airlines with strong safety records and reliable operational standards. Research airlines’ safety ratings and reviews from trusted sources to make informed decisions about which carriers to book for corporate travel.
  • Flexible Itinerary Planning: Build flexibility into travel itineraries to accommodate unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays or cancellations. Allow sufficient buffer time between connecting flights and consider alternative transportation options if necessary.
  • Employee Training and Preparedness: Equip business travelers with the knowledge and resources they need to navigate travel challenges independently. Provide training on emergency procedures, travel insurance coverage, and communication protocols in case of disruptions.
  • Utilize Travel Management Services: Partner with reputable travel management companies that offer 24/7 support and assistance to corporate travelers. These services can provide real-time updates on flight status, alternative routing options, and emergency assistance during crises.
  • Stay Informed and Adapt: Monitor travel advisories and alerts issued by relevant authorities to stay informed about potential risks or disruptions along planned routes. Be prepared to adjust travel plans accordingly to ensure the safety and well-being of travelers.

In the wake of airline mishaps, ensuring safe corporate travel requires proactive planning, diligent risk management, and a commitment to prioritizing passenger safety above all else. As the aviation industry continues to evolve, prioritizing safety remains paramount for all involved in corporate travel.

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