Simon Calder gives his predictions for business travel in 2019

Calder also describes why the use of short-haul aircrafts for long-haul flights will form the largest travel trend of 2019

On Business Traveller, CNN’s Richard Quest sits down with travel writer Simon Calder to discover his projections for the year ahead.

Calder discusses the growth of ‘bleisure’ trips, work trips which combine business and sight-seeing or leisure activities, and why the demand for premium economy is set to continue growing this year.

Calder also describes why the use of short-haul aircrafts for long-haul flights will form the largest travel trend of 2019.

Calder on not personally feeling the appeal of a ‘bleisure’ trip:

“If I go to a big international conference, yes, of course it’s in a lovely place, and of course I know rationally I should tack on a couple of extra days and get out of the city and explore, but it’s always this thing… You’ve finished the event, whatever it was, you just want to get onto an aircraft and get home. I honestly think, I wouldn’t put all my capital into a ‘bleisure’ product, because I simply think that business travellers have a sense of ‘I’ve done what I came for, let me go home’, as opposed to: ‘Right, where’s my Lonely Planet guide, I’m heading off for a week.’”

On the growing premium economy trend:

“If they can get the cabin right, if they can get the pricing right, it is the most lucrative real estate on the entire aircraft. The next stage, I think, is coming up with some way of getting lie-flat beds in premium economy. Once an airline can come in with that sort of solution, then you’ll have premium premium economy, and it will still be priced well short of business class, and I think a lot of people will go for it.”

On the main travel trend he predicts for 2019:

“I think it’s going to be a little bit niche. And we’re already seeing it, which is the use of apparently short-haul aircraft, or at least narrow-bodied aircraft, to fly long-haul routes. We’re already seeing this with quite a lot of operations across the Atlantic. The Airbus 8321, which is a fascinating aircraft, it was very much, I think, brought out in the 1990s, as an afterthought… ‘Oh, well we’ve built the 8320, we’ll stretch it.’ If they give it a bit more range, which they have done at Airbus, suddenly it becomes a very, very efficient way of flying people.”