D Gupte, joint managing director and chief operating officer
- international business, ICICI Limited, an alumni of JBIMS, began
her journey in the world of banking 30 years ago, in an organisation
which she still is a dynamic part of. In a tete-a-tete with Reema
Sisodia she highlights her views on frequent flying
has your work profile dictated the frequency of your travel?
frequency of travel, especially in the last six weeks has been highly
demanding. Hectic, in fact would be an understatement, as the nature
of my work has resulted in designing travel schedules that sees
me travelling at least, twice a week, irrespective of whether its
domestic or international. As per the business needs and demands,
I frequent international destinations at least twice or thrice in
your travel framework, are there any specific destinations, you
my profession and nature of work dictates my travel to three destinations
on a regular basis - Singapore, London and the United States, (both
east and west). Business development and potentials with respect
to banking ventures and diversification have been concentrated in
these regions. With respect to official trips on the domestic sector,
there are a number of cities that I visit on a regular basis. Further,
I chalk out my travel docket as per the requirement.
terms of preference and performance, is there any airline (or airlines)
that has matched your expectations?
British Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airways are all airlines,
which I prefer to board. Essentially, due to the fact that these
airlines fly the routes I frequent the most. Besides, these airlines
provide me options galore especially to destinations I regularly
visit. Speaking about the journey between London and the United
States, with London being an ideal stopover location, British Airways
is indeed the most preferred, both in terms of quality and service.
All the three airlines mentioned earlier fulfil this requirement
perfectly. With respect to the domestic front, Jet Airways is my
about the quality and standard of in-flight services, which airline
would you qualify amongst the best?
personally feel that, the standards in terms of quality and service
depend on the nature of the flight and the composition of the cabin
crew. A lot also depends on the quality of the aircraft. There have
been occasions, when the quality with respect to in-flight services
have been rather inconsistent, even in the case of reputed airlines.
But, on an average, I would say Singapore Airlines and British Airways
are on par.
the domestic sector, Jet Airways tops the list in terms of in-flight
service and I would also mention that, Indian Airlines has shown
significant and indeed credible improvement over the years.
being a part of the airlines frequent flyer programme an advantage?
most of our business meetings are scheduled at a short notice, our
travel plans are invariably subject to change. If one travels regularly
with a specific airline, certain advantages are bound to follow,
with respect to flight bookings.
your opinion how does domestic travel compare to international journeying?
travel is so much easier as compared to international. The domestic
airline industry has definitely witnessed a marked improvement over
the years. Flight connectivity and schedules are reasonably convenient,
wherein taking day trips are highly feasible. In the aftermath of
the September 11 attacks, security aspects especially with respect
to international travel has become quite exhausting. The process
of checking in takes longer, hence, to avoid inconvenience, it is
advisable to leave early, which would facilitate early check-in.
A trend in the making due to this incidence is that meetings are
being wound up earlier than usual, keeping in mind the gestation
period, which the security process at the airport demands.
there any specifications for selecting a hotel or a chain, at places
mostly stay at hotels that are known to the company or have a tie-up
with the organisation. It is advantageous, as it creates a comfort
zone. Chains that are internationally reputed and recognised are
what I look for. Being a member of the guest loyalty programme with
some select chains also has its additional bonus. As for my stay
in London, I only stay at St James for the past 15 years.
a single woman corporate traveller, is there a particular aspect
you would like to highlight?
a personal viewpoint and on a fairly individualistic note, I would
like to mention that, tugging my luggage, placing them in the cabin
shelves is quite tedious and many a times problematic. This in fact
is solely due to my being rather petit in frame. Hence, I make a
conscious effort to travel as light as possible, which surely calls
for some amount of planning. As for a general view, a single woman
corporate traveller is in no way different from a man.
as a business traveller can you spell out the five absolutes with
respect to travel?
from the conventional essentials for travel, such as good and convenient
airlines, suitable flight schedules and timings, there are certain
personal and psychological aspects, which hold importance and value,
especially for a frequent business traveller.
mention the five absolutes, I would say, primarily it is highly
essential to develop the right mental framework to travel. Proper
planning in terms of travel arrangements and other technical details
should be planned well in advance. Health, being an essential factor
while travelling should not be neglected, hence, carrying requisite
medication is important. Eating light and right is indeed necessary.
It is also vital for frequent travellers to learn to cope with jet
lag. Keeping these few criteria in mind, would facilitate and in
fact enhance ones travel experiences.