Handling a Plane-Ride Long Commute

Posted January 29, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

It’s not exactly a new trend in business. Consultants and high powered executives have long been the holders of frequent flier miles from multiple airports and regularly travel Monday through Friday. Weekends aren’t safe either, as they usually require spending time in a home office to get done those things you simply couldn’t while traveling.

The new trend, though, is that the plane-ride commute is no longer reserved for consultants and executives. Just in the last few months, I’ve met men and women commuting from their homes in Chicago or New York to everywhere from Seattle to Cincinnati.

Often, these kinds of career choices are made because of families. Parents don’t want to disrupt children in schools and spouses don’t want to lose a double income to make a cross country move. So many professionals are boarding a plane on Monday morning and returning home Friday evening. And on the corporate side, many companies are willing to pay hotel fees or corporate housing to get the best talent on board.

So before you turn down that job because you don’t want to move, you might consider the plane-ride commute. But what should you keep in mind when making the decision?

  • Check the regular flights. If you’re going to have to make a connection twice a week every week, you’re going to get sick of it quickly. Make sure a carrier you like flying has a regular direct flight, and usually multiple flights a day. Why? If your flight gets cancelled, you want to be sure you’ll be likely to get on another flight the same day.
  • Could you work from home one day a week? Being out of your home city every week day every week means very little time to volunteer, network, or get things done you need to do during week days. Consider adjusting your schedule to flying out Sunday night, back on Thursday night and having Friday as a work from home day or day off.
  • Will you be able to feel like you have a home in the second city? A company putting you up in a hotel is very different than one paying for an apartment. When you have an apartment, you can have groceries and be able to relax when you return there.
  • Are you willing to invest the time to keep your personal life stable on the weekends? If you regularly spend the weekends running errands, commuting via plane means you’ll now have to work spending time with friends and family into your normally productive weekend. It means significantly changing your schedule and you have to be willing.
  • Is there an end date? Some professionals plane commute indefinitely. But it’s more manageable if you have a finite plan of how long you’ll be in that process. Perhaps your partner will look for a job and move. You could also be working up to the option of telecommuting once the company gets to know you better. Or you could be looking at this as a stepping stone to another great opportunity. All of those things matter when making these choices.

So before you turn down that opportunity because it’s too far away, think hard about whether or not a plane-ride commute could be the right thing for you at this moment in your career. It could be a disaster, but it could catapult you to new heights as well.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."