Reply To: When, where and who gets business class company travel?

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I’ve been under a couple, but the logical one at the moment is as follows:

It is not based on title/grade.
It is travel time and budget based (the latter because it can depend on project budgets).
Cheapest economy for flights of up to five hours as a rule (exception is the occasional times premium economy or business is cheaper or no more than a 15% surcharge).
Paying for exit row/extra legroom seats (i.e. the US carrier economy plus/extra products) is allowed for flights over three hours.
Premium economy may be allowed for longer flights, business if the flight is overnight long haul (has to be intercontinental) if budget allows. If business is within 15% of premium economy, it may also be allowed.

The definition of a reasonable option is any non-stop in economy or premium economy, for business it is the cheapest indirect route that doesn’t have a long transfer (e.g. overnight or more than 6 hours), or a transit that requires a visa or may be considered risky/unpleasant. Circuitous routings that increase travel time over non-stop by over 50% are not necessary.

Staff can choose options to correspond to frequent flyer preferences if they are using them to upgrade or access preferential seating for free, but not if the fare for that preference is substantially higher than the cheapest reasonable option (taking into account location of home to airports – e.g. someone in Surrey isn’t expected to fly out of Stansted).

By and large, most projects have a travel budget calculated based on estimates of economy travel to Europe/Middle East, premium economy to North America and business to Asia/Africa/Latin America/Australasia (albeit one way premium economy for daylight sectors if possible). If fares are much higher, then the lower class prevails. The only other factor is occasionally some staff may have a medical condition that means business is mandatory (e.g. a young staff member was hospitalised for DVT after a long haul economy flight from Africa because business was sold out).

A few clients demand travel be claimed separately and have curious rules, one says fully flexible economy is ok (and anything cheaper than that too), which has allowed for cheap business to be booked on flights to the Middle East.

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