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One mile at a time: An MEP’s life as a frequent flyer

2.6.2017 at 06:00
Finnish politician Miapetra Kumpula-Natri talks about her travel routine, working during a flight, and a hush-hush holiday exposed by airport security.

As a Finnish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Finland, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri knows a thing or two about traveling for work. Typically, she goes from Vaasa or Helsinki to Brussels and back 1-2 times per month. On top of that, she also hops from Vaasa/Helsinki to Strasbourg to Brussels/Helsinki/Vaasa once a month.

Since Kumpula-Natri has had this routine for a while – three years this summer, to be exact – she has gleaned quite a few lessons from all the traveling she’s done to date. Here the MEP shares some valuable advice – and a lighthearted story – that would benefit novice travelers and experts alike.

Working on the go 

“At this point I’m an expert when it comes to travelling light. I’ve also learned that the more effective I work on the plane, the less I have to work at home and the more time I get to spend with my kids.

“Planes are excellent environments for reading longer texts."

“Planes are excellent environments for reading longer work-related texts. At the office, there are always interruptions and several things that demand attention. On the plane, however, I have the time and opportunity to concentrate on bigger topics.”

What to pack

“I usually pack only a couple of different dresses and then several nice accessories to go with them. A big part of my wardrobe consists of clothes I’ve bought from airports. I usually don’t have time to shop, but at the airport during a stopover I might have an extra 30 minutes – just enough to get a blouse or, for example, a dress for the Presidential Independence Day reception.”

Favorite airport features

“I really appreciate the good, easy Wi-Fi and handy number of charging stations. That’s essential for us who need to work at airports and on the plane. Another thing which I’ve learned to appreciate are good signs and markings, especially when the stopover is short and you’ll have to run to a terminal on the other side of the airport.

“I really appreciate the good, easy Wi-Fi and handy number of charging stations."

“In Finland I love the fact that many of the smaller airports are comfy and have a nice local touch. For example, the excellent shop at Vaasa Airport sells local products and design from Ostrobothnia, one of two Finnish regions with a Swedish-speaking majority. In Vaasa you can also wait for your flight in a rocking chair!

“In Helsinki both my kids and I love the beautiful, cozy and fun Kainuu Lounge. The bird song in the toilets is another fun feature: After landing it makes one feel at home at, should we say, the ‘first stop’."

Caught by airport security

“I had just started dating a man who would later become my husband. Our relationship was very new and we didn’t want anybody to know about it yet, so we decided to leave for Paris for a short romantic getaway.

“We were very happy about our little plan until we heard a call echoing throughout the entire airport: ‘Miapetra Kumpula and Pasi Natri, please return to security!’ We had forgotten our boarding passes there! After that call there was no doubt whether we were travelling together or just happened to be on the same flight.”

Read more about bird sounds at Helsinki Airport