British Airways survey of how women react to having a surprise romantic break sprung on them caught the imagination of the media this week.

No fewer than three national papers, two major lifestyle magazines and a number of high-profile websites have picked up on the poll, which found that the average woman needs a minimum of seven days and 11 hours notice so she can plan her outfits (with at least three shopping trips) and arrange cover at work.

The study of 2,000 women also showed that women think at least nine outfits are needed for short breaks and one in four said forgetting a key item would spoil their time away.

BA’s head of brands Abigail Comber said: “It might not always occur to men just how much preparation their partners put in to any trip away.

“Even if they may only be flying short haul, they rush through researching places to eat and things to do, as well as last minute beauty appointments. Women have a lot to do before they go on holiday.”

A case in point is office worker Sophie Bailey, 33, from Southampton, Hants, who said she was not impressed when her boyfriend whisked her away to Morocco without notice.

“He packed my bags so I had all the wrong clothes and my hair straighteners had been left behind. I had to grin and bear it because the trip showed he cared, but it was awful.

“He knows to give me at least a week’s notice before any future trips.”

However, the research showed many women have no need to worry about getting caught out by a surprise trip away – as four in 10 say a romantic trip away ‘just wouldn’t cross their partner’s minds’.