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I have a scheduled interview in another city. The plan is for me to take an early-morning flight and arrive for interviews in the early afternoon. The organization is booking a hotel for me, and I'll continue to meet with people throughout the next morning.

This is a conservative company and I will need to look my best - suit and tie, overcoat, etc. I'm concerned about dressing formally for travel; I will need to leave for the airport before 5:00 AM and don't want to look disheveled when I arrive. I don't want to wear my suit and overcoat on the plane if possible. On the other hand, changing from travel clothes into a suit in an airport bathroom seems iffy at best.

Can anyone provide any suggestions on the best way to handle this? For example, is it acceptable to stop by my hotel at, say, 11:00 AM and ask for a temporary place to change even though I know that my room won't be ready yet?

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    Phone the hotel and ask them? – user8036 Jan 31 '14 at 18:17
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    And from someone who once had her team mates have to attend a formal in-briefing in cowboy boots and Jeans instead of their uniforms (they used to laugh at me for wearing nice clothes on the plane), always make sure to carry with you the things you intend to wear in the interview, don't check it in with the rest of your baggage. Cause if they lose it, you are stuck with whatever you are wearing. Or at least make sure you are wearing something you wouldn't be ashamed to be interviewed in. – HLGEM Jan 31 '14 at 18:22
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    Be prepared skip to the hotel and make a beeline for your interview if you need to. If all else fails, find the 'disabled' stall in the mens' room. Make sure your clothing and SHOES, as others have noted, are in your carry-on. Put a few of your travel-sized toiletries and a clean washcloth in there too. You'll certainly feel a lot more at ease after even a little chance to spruce yourself up. – Xavier J Jan 31 '14 at 23:37
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a travel/grooming issue. – Jim G. Feb 3 '14 at 1:42
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    I generally try to avoid situations where my clothes could come into contact with urine while dressing for an interview. Call me picky, I guess. – Roger Feb 3 '14 at 22:54
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Whenever I travel for business, I do the following:

  1. Make sure all my belongings are on my person
  2. Fly well-dressed just in case
  3. Be nice to the flight attendants

Lost Luggage

Everyone learns this lesson the hard way once when they fly for business: don't count on any checked bags being there when you arrive.

If you have anything you need for your business meeting, be sure to put it in your carry-on luggage. If it is a longer trip, you can pack 1-2 days of the necessities (underwear, socks, undershirts) in your carry-on just in case you need to get by on that before your luggage finds its way from a detour to Houston, TX for reasons beyond your comprehension.

Unexpected Delays

If you are meeting the day you arrive, even if you think you will have time to change you never know what the air travel system will throw at you. Perhaps it's a volcano in Iceland. Maybe the workers in Charles de Gaulle airport have decided to have a strike. Maybe a herd of cows has decided to occupy the runway in Pokara Nepal. Ice in Istanbul. Flights get delayed, and sometimes that time you were counting on doesn't end up existing.

Whenever I fly directly to a meeting that day, I wear whatever I plan to wear for that meeting on the plane. It isn't the most comfortable way to travel, but I'd rather bear the discomfort on the flight than show up wearing jeans and a t-shirt because I didn't have time to change before the meeting.

Be Nice to Flight Attendants

Airlines are very used to business travelers. When you fly a lot, you realize that flight attendants are kind people who will generally be accommodating if you treat them with respect and ask nicely. If you are going to have a suit jacket and an overcoat, even if you aren't flying in business class, you can ask at the counter prior to boarding for them to hang it up for you. Honesty and a smile go a long way:

Hello, I'm going to be flying with you to X today. I have never flown for business before and I have a meeting right as I land. I want to make sure I look sharp, so is there any way I can hang up my suit jacket and overcoat so it doesn't get wrinkled during the flight? I would really appreciate it.

Even if you aren't flying in business, the flight attendants are likely to say yes. By telling them prior to boarding, they can do it in such a way that the passengers around you don't think you're getting special treatment. Just be sure to thank them afterwards and it should be okay.

If you are still nervous, just bring a suit bag with you for your jacket and overcoat so that they don't get horribly wrinkled. Board early so that you are ensured overhead bin space as well. You can usually check how full a flight will be online the day before, and judge how you want to handle it accordingly.

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