Take it Light

Don't let business trips weigh you down. Learn about the travel trends and products that can take a load off your mind--and your time.

from refrigerated cases near the jetbridge entrance. The service is available on flights to Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City, New Orleans, Miami, Denver and Philadelphia. First class passengers will still receive meal service onboard.

Continental introduced a new first-class menu on domestic flights for lunch and dinner with more pasta dishes (such as crab cakes with mushroom ravioli or tri-color fettuccini in alfredo pesto sauce). Feedback from 4,500 frequent fliers led to the change. “We also took note from dinning trends across the country,” says Lynda Zane, senior director of Continental’s dining services. The dishes are regionals; on a westbound flight, for example, you might be served hot soup and a sandwich featuring a Chateaubriand in a sun-dried tomato wrapper for lunch.

Once the airline decides on meal selections (after going through a chain of taste testings), they are approved by a dietitian/nutritionist. If the carrier uses an outside caterer, the meals are created and delivered right before flight time.

Dobbs International, the country’s largest in-flight caterer, makes nearly 5,000 meals daily. At least 24 hours before takeoff, Dobbs receives the special order requests. Preparation for all meals starts eight hours before flight times. Hot foods are cooked, then “quick- chilled” for transport.

Regulations from the FDA and FAA must be followed. For example, no food or ingredient may remain unrefrigerated for more than 20 minutes. Also, cockpit flight crews cannot eat the same meals as passengers, and the captain and first officer must eat something different.

Carriers may have at least 1,000 different meals that are rotated and about 20 different specialty meals for orders, from strict vegetarian to gluten-free, lactose-free and Muslim meals. USAirways plans to expand its special meals and rotate selections more frequently. Since special orders are sent to caterers or in-flight kitchens 24 hours prior to takeoff, it’s best to place your order at reservation time. When you reconfirm your flight, double-check your meal request as well. Bon appetit!

Expend your energy with power moves, not on-the-road hassles
Like most executives, you probably spend about as much time conducting business away from your desk as you do in the office. The following hot products, designed for the pro on the go, have cut down some of the many hassles you’ll experience.

Get yourself organized on the road with the Mobile Office. Secured in place by passenger seat belt, it gives you a 16-by-11.5-inch pullout work surface with spring-loaded clip and a storage are for laptop, planner, of cellular phone. Cost is $160. To order, call the Sharper Image at 800-344-4444.

Sharper’s Image’s Dual time AM/FM clock offers a crisp, clear display of your time zone and has a second hand display that shows you the time in any other part of the world. The clock also features on-screen calendar, snooze control, fall-asleep-to-radio timer and world time map. Cost is $39.95. To order, call the Sharper Image at 800-344-4444.

Jasco’s Multi-Nation Travel Converter allows travelers to convert outlets in Australia, the U.K., Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America and Japan. The travel

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