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Singapore Airlines’ “Suites Class” May Set the Bar for Luxury Travel

limo service LA, LA limo, limousine service LA, sedan service LASingapore Airlines is known to be one of the best airlines in the industry — often topping charts for customer satisfaction and timeliness. The “Suites Class” is their luxury travel option, which is something that has to be seen to be believed. A ticket on the “Suites Class” nears $20,000 but there is nothing similar throughout any of the other airlines.

The “Suites Class” offers fliers their own personal cabin, in which is placed a flat screen television and a large bed. It’s essentially a flying hotel, with some turbulence potentially provided. Boarding takes place separately, ensuring that you don’t need to wait, and, of course, the attendants are at hand to take care of your every wish.

Suites Class also goes beyond the flight itself. The Suites Class tickets come with a private room to relax in, champagne and some special items to take home. But there are more than just a few Suites Class rooms aboard each plane — in fact, the Suites Class hall contains nearly a dozen such rooms, each of which takes up the footprint of perhaps six first class seats. So you can see that luxury travel, provided that the seats are filled, may be quite profitable for some airlines.

Luxury food and Givenchy clothing is provided, in addition to newspapers, magazines and other entertainment. But, given the $20,000 ticket expense, it’s understandable! Interestingly, frequent flyer miles can also be used for this type of ticket — for those who want to experience it but don’t have the cash at hand.

Of course, if you’re interested in luxury travel, you may be better off simply splurging on the hotel room and chauffeured car service —  rather than a flight that is the same price as a new car. The flight, after all, only takes a few hours.

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Keeping Up Business Productivity During a Heat Wave

los angeles limo, limo service LA, LA limo, sedan serviceLos Angeles and the surrounding areas have been experiencing a major heat wave, and even North California residents have found themselves in a bit of a quandary. While you’re trying to do business around town during one of the hottest months, there are a few things that you’re going to need to do to ensure that everything operates smoothly.

Keep Everything Charged — And Keep Your Options Open

When the city is in the throes of a heat wave, one of the major concerns is that the electricity will go out. To that end, you should always have other options open. Keep a spare laptop battery charged and, if you work on a desktop, make sure that you have a battery source connected so that you won’t lose all your work when the power goes out. When going on site for client meetings make sure that you have more than enough power to complete the meeting — even if the lights go out. Don’t forget that electricity usually takes out the Internet.

Arrange for Transportation in Advance

The last thing you want to happen during a heat wave is to get stuck in traffic. Make sure that you’ve arranged transportation well in advance and try your best to travel outside of the major rush hour times. Los Angeles traffic is certainly nothing to scoff at, especially as the heat soars.

Consider Moving Towards Electronic Meetings

When the power is up, electronic meetings are far preferable to slogging yourself across the city. If you go this route, try to complete your phone and video conferences over 4G or 3G Internet rather than WiFi; this will ensure that your meeting continues even if your Internet service or electricity goes down.

Take solace in the fact that the heat wave likely won’t last long. In the mean time, you may want to consider delaying any non-essential meetings until after the weather has balanced out; after all, few meetings go well when everyone is exhausted and hot.

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Tips For A Successful and Relaxing “Bizcation”

limo service Los Angeles, Los Angeles limo, sedan service, LA limoGoing on business trip after business trip can be stressful — but it doesn’t have to be. The newest trend in the world of business is the “bizcation.” Bizcations blend productivity and relaxation without compromising on either. With a little planning and work, you can have the best of both worlds.

Take Your Vacation Days During Your Trip

Do you have dozens of hours of vacation days accruing, but no time to spend them? Consider adding your vacation days on at the beginning or end of your business trip. If your company is sending you to France for a seminar, just add a few vacation days on the tail end. Your company still spends the same amount of money flying you in and out and you get to spend some time relaxing abroad at no travel cost to you.

Maintain a Healthy Work and Play Separation

You can’t be on the job all the time — even when you’re traveling for the job. Make sure that your office knows when you’re off limits, and turn off that phone! Once the evening hits, you’re on your own time, and you can enjoy the city. Trying to continue your work late into the night is just going to wipe you out and kill your productivity. The same goes for when your business trip ends and your bizcation begins; when you’re off the clock, just say “no” to the business meetings!

Take Advantage of the Weekends

If you don’t have any vacation days saved, consider taking advantage of weekends — especially three day weekends. By positioning a business trip around Saturday, Sunday and (sometimes) Monday, you can get a three day destination vacation without spending any of your vacation time. In fact, if you’re going to take a week long business trip, you could take both weekends, allowing you a total of four days of relaxation and rest — all you need to pay for is your hotel and your ground transportation.

Most companies will be more than happy to allow an employee a “bizcation,” especially since it costs them nothing. If your employer is hesitant, consider looking up the flights on the dates that you want. You may be able to show them that flying in a little later (or flying out a little earlier) may actually save the company money.

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How Business Travelers Will Be Able To Use Wearable Technology

limo service LA, los angeles limo, sedan serviceWearable technology is the newest thing in not only the tech world but the business world. Whether you’re trying to make sure that you get a flight on time or simply locate the closest restaurant for a business lunch, wearable technology will likely make it much easier for you to get the job done.

Get Price Alerts Straight To Your Watch

When you’re trying to save the company’s budget, every dollar counts. You or your assistant can get price alerts anywhere you are straight through a smart watch device, such as the Pebble. Of course, this also works excellently for providing you with essential business news in a timely manner. Of course, smart watches aren’t the only example of wearable technology that can help: smart glasses can send alerts directly into your field of vision.

Track Your Ground Transportation Through Your Glasses

Are you curious as to whether your driver has arrived? In the future, you’ll be able to track your drivers via GPS easily as they make their approach to pick you up in time. This makes it very easy for you to ensure your schedule on-the-fly. When there are unavoidable delays, such as traffic that is beyond the control of the driver, you can watch your driver as they near so that you are constantly kept in the loop.

Know The Weather All The Time

If you’re in an area where the weather frequently changes, it can be very useful to be alerted to the changes within minutes. Smart glasses like Google Glass applications can give you information regarding weather issues right away. Everything from a light shower to a flash flood warning can be automatically broadcasted to you.

As wearable technology becomes more common, you can expect to see even further advances in the way that it can affect how you manage your travel and transportation needs.

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Thanksgiving Travel: Book Now Before It’s Too Late

sedan serviceThink it’s too early to plan your Thanksgiving and holiday travel? On the contrary: you will want to book now before it’s too late. While booking last minute may be a great way to get deals during the off season, it’s more than counterproductive to attempt the same technique during peak booking season. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for the travel industry and deals are hard to find.

Try to Set Your Own Rate

Booking early is the perfect time to use “set your own rate” sites like Priceline. Figure out your ideal travel budget and then request notification if your budget is met. If a plane ticket comes up that’s within your discounted rate, you’ll be able to book it immediately — if not, you can still book early at low rates. These websites don’t just offer you discounts that are already available; many of them can actually negotiate lower prices with vendors.

Make Sure to Complete All Your Arrangements

In addition to booking the larger portions of your trip — such as flights and hotels — you should also make sure the rest of your arrangements are made. You don’t want to neglect to make ground transportation arrangements only to find that everything is booked last minute; all of your deals and savings could fly out the window as you end up paying premium prices for last minute travel. Make a list of everything you’ll need to arrange for a successful vacation in advance.

Don’t Forget the Price Matching

Have rates gone down suddenly just following your booking? While you’ll have limited success with airlines, you can usually negotiate lower rates from hotels. Simply contact the hotel that you booked with and let them know that you want the less expensive rate. After all, if the hotel refuses you can always cancel your reservation and make it again immediately.

The Internet offers many tools for price tracking, so don’t forget to keep on checking those numbers! If you start early, you’re all the more likely to happen upon a great deal.

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Travel May Be Picking Up For LA Business Travelers as LA Drops on Convention List

Business tripLos Angeles business travelers may find that they will be traveling farther for conventions, seminars and expos, making it necessary to take a look at the company’s travel budgets. While Los Angeles has previously been one of the most popular travel destinations for conventions, it has recently dropped down to the 19th spot, behind cities like Boston and Houston — likely due to expense and congestion.

Where Are The Conventions Going?

The top five cities for business and expos were listed as: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chicago, Orlando and Atlanta. With Las Vegas aside, this expo list shows that the trend is moving towards less expensive venues — and Atlanta is no surprise, as it is a central hub of air travel.

As more businesses attempt to cut their convention and expo costs, it becomes vital to position these conventions in less expensive areas. Travel costs, such as ground transportation and flight costs, tend to be relatively inflexible while the actual cost of the convention, lodging and other local arrangements may vary greatly depending on the city and the state

What’s The Good News?

For Los Angeles business travelers, this may actually be a relief. Los Angeles may have some of the most high tech and expansive convention centers in the world, but it is definitely a congested city and conventions can be rather expensive. The ability to move conventions outside of the city also means that Los Angeles companies can more readily network in other areas.

And, of course, for those who love to travel for business, this may be fantastic news. Los Angeles employees who are interested in traveling more may want to look into the company’s convention list for additional opportunities.

Conventions moving away from Los Angeles does mean that companies are likely to send their employees to travel more often, but many other major convention centers are fairly nearby — such as San Diego. Ground transportation services will make these convention centers just as accessible as Los Angeles conventions, if properly arranged.

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Google Features That Every Business Traveler Should Know About

sedan service, LA Limo, limo service LA, Los Angeles limoDid you know that Google offers a suite of travel services aimed at the budget traveler? Not many people do. Google has not highly publicized these services but they are extremely useful nevertheless. Here are just a few of the services that you may want to use when planning your next trip.

Google Flights

Did you know that you can book flights directly by using Google? No longer do people need to rely on iffy third-party services. Google Flights has a few extremely unique features:

  • See flight cost based on your originating airport. You can easily chart a path to anywhere in the globe.
  • Get suggestions on cheaper times to fly. You may be able to save a significant amount of money simply by taking a flight a little earlier or later.
  • View the amenities that each flight offers, including WiFi and free on-board entertainment.

Google Flights offers all of the advantages of other third-party flight aggregation services without tacking on unnecessary fees or surcharges.

Google Hotels

Google offers an easy way to search through a multitude of hotels to get the best deal. You can search based on flexible dates and look through hotels categorized by their proximity to your destination and their star ratings. Unlike other third-party hotel services, Google Hotels allows you to book directly through the hotel — this cuts out complications and fees.

Google Navigation

Google’s new navigational system was built to rival Apple’s Siri. It includes voice navigation that alerts you every time you need to make a turn, merge or transition onto another road. Google’s maps system is the most comprehensive system of roads and networks in the world and can be run on any Android, BlackBerry or iOS device.

The above services are only the services that have been developed specifically by Google. In addition to the above services, there is a wide selection of applications that can also be useful to the business traveler.

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Beware of ‘Airport Hustlers’ Offering a Ride

sedan service, LAX limo, limo service LA, LA limoBustling airports can be bustling with crime, and we don’t mean your average pickpocket or luggage thief. A bigger problem across the board is unauthorized ground transportation companies that try to solicit your business. Often called airport hustlers, such operators of taxicabs, shuttle vans, car services or other vehicles are not only potentially dangerous to your safety and well-being but many may be blatantly breaking the rules and regulations that govern the industry.

The Rules

Commercial ground transportation operators must enter into contracts, register with the specific airport they serve, and heed a hefty lineup of federal, state and local rules and regulations. The scope of what counts as commercial ground transportation is huge, covering everything from charter buses to limousines, wheelchair accessible transport to public transportation.

A 2008 in-depth research project sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration notes the rules and regulation are equally as broad, touching on issues that include:

  • Safety
  • Airport security
  • Size and weight restrictions
  • Loading and unloading areas
  • Meeting, loading and unloading passengers
  • Proper procedures for licensing, permits and agreements
  • Requirements for automated vehicle identification tags (AVI)
  • Infrequent use and single-day user permits
  • Applicable fees
  • Proper operator conduct

Yes, that’s a huge and detailed list. And going with an unauthorized ground transportation operator can mean not a single one of them is being followed.

The Dangers

Disregard of the rules and regulations can easily translate to a disregard for anything but making a buck, including passenger safety. While vast and even daunting, the rules and regulations are not put in place to make limousine operators or other ground transportation companies jump through hoops. They are in place to keep passengers, operators and airport customers safe.

Several potential dangers of choosing an unauthorized airport ride include:

Theft: Unless you’re going with a reputable, authorized ground transportation carrier, it’s typically not wise to hand over your luggage to a stranger. They may load it into the trunk, but they may also take off without you.

Over-charging: Ridiculous rates may be par for the course, something you may only find out once you reach your destination.

Getting lost: You may not make it to your conference, meeting or hotel for hours, not until an inexperienced or unauthorized driver finds the right route. Some may feign getting lost on purpose to increase your fare.

Auto accidents or injuries: Unauthorized operators are not necessarily carrying the necessary insurance or heeding proper procedures for airport loading, passenger limits or even the rules of the road.

Getting to your destination safely, securely and on-time is a top priority, and choosing an authorized ground transportation company is the most likely way to ensure it.

Sources: http://www.panynj.gov/airports/lga-taxi-car-van-service.html, http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/acrp/acrp_lrd_003.pdf, http://www.empirecls.com/NewsItem.aspx

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Getting Away From the Business While on Vacation

limo service LA, LA Limo, sedan serviceJust because you travel for business often doesn’t mean that every trip you take should involve business. Many frequent business travelers find that it’s very difficult to remove their personal life from their business life; after all, the office is already used to corresponding with them while they’re away. If you want to take some time for you and your family, you may want to follow these tips.

Get Your Emails and Voicemails Forwarded

What’s the best way to ignore communications from work? Make sure that they never get to you at all, of course! Before you even leave, make sure that your emails and voicemails are forwarded to someone else entirely. That squarely puts the burden on someone else in the company’s shoulders rather than yours while still ensuring that anything urgent gets tended to. Make sure that you also have an out of office reply that notes this, so that your clients don’t think they’re ignoring you.

Prepare Everyone Well in Advance

It’s often not enough to simply tell people once you’re going on vacation. Tell them when your vacation is scheduled, a couple of weeks before your vacation and directly before you leave. By giving them three warnings, you make sure that they can arrange their plans around your absence. This may seem like a polite thing to do, but it’s also beneficial to you as well; fewer emergencies means fewer people trying to get you on the phone.

Don’t Bring Your Business Computer

It is almost impossible to bring a business computer with you on vacation and not work. The second you open it up you will be reminded of all the things that you need to do, and the temptation may be too great. Bring the family iPad or tablet instead; besides that, you don’t want to be responsible for company data while you’re on a trip.

Don’t Tell Them Where You’re Going

Perhaps the best and easiest way to make sure work doesn’t follow you is to simply disappear. They don’t need to know where you’re going. If absolutely necessary, let a single person know where you will be and tell them to guard that secret with their life.

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The 411 on International Duty on Gifts and Souvenirs

sedan service, limo service LA, los angeles limoDid you forget to buy souvenirs for your friends and family on your last business trip and promised everyone you wouldn’t forget THIS time…only to forget again?  Well don’t worry.  As long as you haven’t boarded your aircraft, you can still keep your promise.  Airports all over the world have what are known as  duty free stores, which indicates that you do not pay sales tax on any of your purchases.   You can stock up on anything from specialty food items to liquor, high brand cosmetics, clothing, shoes, electronics and more.  However, before you go on a shopping spree, be advised of what items you can and cannot bring into the country.  The duty free shops will sell you whatever you want to buy.  After all, they are in the business of making money.  Therefore it is your responsibility to know what items will be barred entry into the United States by US Customs.

Meats of any kind and fresh fruits and vegetables are strictly prohibited, although canned fruits and veggies like those  bought from a grocery store may be allowed.  Cigarettes are allowed but one person cannot bring in more than 2 cartons.

Each person is allowed to bring in gifts, souvenirs, and other items totaling $800.  A family of 3 is allowed $2,400 worth of items purchased abroad.  Items that total more than $800 per individual will be subject to a small tax which must be paid before exiting customs.

Sometimes the airport agents will hand you a blue customs form along with your boarding pass at check-in.  They are also handed out by flight attendants about an hour prior to landing.  It is very important that you answer the questions on this form honestly and that you claim and put a dollar value on items purchased abroad that you are bringing into the US.  If for some reason you or your entire flight is randomly selected for  additional screening and customs officials find items (prohibited or not) that you did not claim on your form, the US government will kindly relieve you of $500, plus any additional taxes if they think your items are worth more than $800.  In addition, a red flag will pop up next to your name so that every time your passport is scanned upon your arrival into the US from abroad, you will automatically be the recipient of an invasive and closely scrutinized screening process.  You will also be disqualified from participating in any of the Trusted Traveler Programs.

The dogs you see sniffing around the luggage area  or being walked past passengers in line are not simply checking for illegal drugs or bomb making materials.  They are trained to sniff out food items and they are very good at it.  To avoid any hassles, just claim everything.  If you have claimed something that turns out to be a prohibited item, the only thing the officials can do is throw it away.  When dealing with governmental agencies, honesty is always the best policy.

For a complete list of prohibited items, visit www.cpb.gov

Exclusive Sedan Service provides worldwide limousine service in Los Angeles and  around the world in our global locations.  Call us or book online for airport transfers, sedan service and more at www.exclusivesedan.com

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