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(PART 2)

The space-time continuum

Having studied the effects of passenger count- flight length and the destination airport in relation to picking an aircraft to charter- we now look more thoroughly at the impact of an aircraft cabin on its occupants- and the importance of giving it close attention prior to choosing the aircraft you will charter.

Properly paired- expectations and hardware help business travelers arrive at their destination relaxed- refreshed and prepared for business. It is essential to understand that aircraft vary- and that those variations may help or hinder group work and rest-time on the way to a business meeting. Following are some key points that will help explore some of these variations.

Cabin Configuration Basics
The arrangement of cabin seats matters. It influences the convenience for holding a group meeting- or getting appropriate rest time in flight. Therefore- it is important to understand some regularly-used terms and remember them when sourcing the correct aircraft for your own charter needs.

Club Seating: Four seats arranged to face each other (often around a common table or a pair of tables). This will also mean two seats face backward.

Double Club: Two of the above arrangement- one after the other.

Individual Seating: No club arrangement - usually the seats can swivel to face the aisle- however.

Sofa/Divan: Side-facing sofa or divan-style seat arranged against one side of the cabin. These may be limited in use for take-off and landing.

Galley/Refreshment Center: This may- or may not have hot food and hot beverage capabilities. It could be nothing more than a few insulated drawers and an ice chest in smaller aircraft. If catering is important for your travel plans- check with the charter operator before booking.

In addition- it could be worth checking whether the prospective aircraft offers a lavatory for convenience on the journey (depending on the length of the journey).

Mission Numbers
A mission that sends only two or three persons out for the average trip (500 to 750 miles in the US- for example) generally produces 90 minutes to two hours of time spent in the cabin. Most modern aircraft capable of handling the range and capacity required will offer at least one club seating area conducive to a group meeting.

Smaller light jets will not lend themselves to standing or moving around the cabin much – other than moving to (or from) the lavatory or galley. Sitting away from the group of fellow passengers to concentrate on separate work- or to rest could be a challenge in most light jets.

Most medium jets- and virtually all large-cabin jets offer space for four to work together- as well as adjacent seating close enough for a fifth- sixth- even a seventh or eighth passenger to participate in the discussions if desired. Larger aircraft also have the height to allow comfortable movement within the cabin.

The Length of the Flight
Essentially- the ability to meet privately and securely during flight (another advantage not offered by the airlines)- and also to rest appropriately lasts only as long as the flight itself. It should go without saying that you should not try to plan a three-hour meeting into a flight planned for only two hours (or less). There is no rule against continuing the meeting aboard the airplane after it lands- but it will all reflect on your final charter bill.

In a club seating arrangement with adjacent seats supporting four to six passengers- you can allow the meeting to start the instant your fellow cabin occupants sit – as long as everyone can accommodate restrictions in place for takeoff and landing- including: seatbelts fastened- seat-backs upright- and any tables tucked away. (Passengers may also need to secure today’s common electronic devices- but usually only during the initial climb and the approach phases of the flight.)

Planned right- the correct airplane- combined with a realistic plan-of-action for the trip will offer excellent work-time or rest-time - and there will be no screaming children or pushy passengers to disturb you (always a possibility aboard the airlines).

Space Constraints
Cabin-size will mean the most for passengers embarking on longer trips. When the group size justifies it- picking a cabin with lots of headroom is easy; when it does not- the time spent flying becomes the key factor.

Employees will need to stretch- move around- sit in a different position and talk with others. Few of us want to sit still for two- three- four (or more) hours in any aircraft cabin - even one offering first class comfort - so consider ways to maximize comfort on longer journeys.

Picking a bigger cabin for work or rest on longer trips may offer benefits beyond the simple time-equation- including a more comfortable and productive environment to work and still arrive fresh- relaxed and prepared for the business ahead.

The decision regarding the cabin will rest solely upon the business you’ll need to conduct on board the charter trip- the number of passengers needing to fly and the length of the trip. If you balance these elements correctly- you should have a workforce arriving at their destination both refreshed and prepared to represent your company to the standards you would expect of them.

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