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Company won't let me sit in business class

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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:22 am
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Company won't let me sit in business class

So I work for a large multi-national partnership (i.e. think big 4 accounting firm) and we have a national corporate policy that states business class is authorized for all international flights except to mexico and canada. Last year, I flew to Europe 6 times and my local office has refused to let me or anyone else in my office/practice for that matter sit in business class (due to cost). I have only been out of college for around a year and six months so I am not really familiar with other companies policies around international travel. So my question is, is it the norm to allow employees to sit in business for international travel or do some companies require coach? I am curious to hear your opinions.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:31 am
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At two major Fortune 200 companies I've worked for in the last 10 years, the policies were the same: Business class allowed for flights longer than six hours. Domestic or international.

I also know of some smaller companies that will only pay for coach, even if the flight is 14 hours. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, in my opinion.

If you travel enough internationally, try to focus on one airline so that you can gain status and then upgrade to business.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:37 am
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Thumbs down

Gee, I wonder if the cheapskate partners in your office fly in Y too.....

We're a money-management firm.
All flights > 5 hrs = sit up front (biz, if available).
All flights > 8 hrs = sit in First Class (if available).
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:37 am
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My son's company also only allows for coach travel internationally - but they will let him pay the difference for an upgrade with money/miles out of his own pocket. With a bad back, he finds it necessary to pay for the upgrade.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:39 am
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I used to work for the second largest privately owned company in the US (subsequently acquired by General Motors). Corporate policy was for business class on international flights. Regardless, the GM of the plant where I worked only permitted coach. I was one of the few who did heavy international travel. And I flew coach, unless I could figure out how to get an upgrade using my own wits, ingenuity, and mileage.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:46 am
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This isn't a 'won't let me sit in business class' problem. This is a 'save money by coercing employees to sit in coach' problem, in spite of policy. Yes, I have known this - frequently. Most recently, it's been business if a segment (not total time origin airport to destination airport) is longer than 10 hours. Even then, they want to argue about it. With $9K business tickets and unrestricted $3K coach tickets, it's simple economics at work. And yes, even division presidents sit in back.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by Ryan123 View Post
...So my question is, is it the norm to allow employees to sit in business for international travel or do some companies require coach? I am curious to hear your opinions.
Yes to both. Yes, it is the norm, in large U.S.-based companies, to allow employees to sit in business for international travel. And yes, some companies require coach (or will only pay for it; they generally don't mind if you upgrade yourself).

However, the issue here isn't what some companies, or most companies, or even every other large U.S. company, does. It's what yours does. If its policy is J to Europe, you should find out why it's not being applied to your office/practice. The best way to do this depends on your company's culture and your relationship to your boss. Does he/she also travel much to Europe, presumably also in the small seats if the policy applies as stated to everyone in your office/practice? You'll have to find out who decided that your office is an exception to the corporate policy, and why, before you take it further.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 7:57 am
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I work for one of the largest companies in the world (in the top 100, with annual sales of over $100 Billion). Our policy is lowest fare coach everywhere, no matter how long the trip. And I'm in upper management -- this applies to me and to my boss, too. (And, since we have a presence is almost every country on Earth, we tend to travel a lot).
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Old Dec 22, 07, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
However, the issue here isn't what some companies, or most companies, or even every other large U.S. company, does. It's what yours does. If its policy is J to Europe, you should find out why it's not being applied to your office/practice.
I agree. If the policy were coach-only, you'd be hard pressed as a lone new employee to do anything about it. But your policy is business class, and they are not adhering to that.

You say it's a big-4 firm or similar. I'd expect most overseas travel there to be billable back to a client. Is that the case for you? In some cases, your firm may be contractually obligated to adhere to a client policy, even if tighter than your own.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 8:43 am
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Use your miles

My company allows us to purchase Biz Class tix for Asia, but makes us buy coach for Europe.

Semantics - your office doesn't prohibit you from sitting in C, they just won't pay for it. And within that important semantical difference lies the solution - use miles or $$ or SWU's or whatever to upgrade the Y class seat your office will support and score the C seat you covet.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 8:59 am
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My company, domesitc in Y, F overseas, but we have no presence overseas so it's mute point.

I do tell you what though, I'm no manager, but if I had to travel overseas I would press the issue of what it say's in the policy. I would personally raise holy hell and just flat out refuse to travel if I was in Y. I've been here 7 years and even though I'm a nobody as far as the food chain goes, I do carry enough balls to refuse to go.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 9:12 am
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Man, it must be nice to have your company foot the bill for a $9,000+ plane ride.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 9:28 am
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I tend to think of it as it's unacceptable to expect me to spend 9 hours scrunched up in a tiny seat just to get to work.

If it was a small company I might be amenable to some sort of compromise (I'll fly coach but I'll want 2 days each way extra vacation) however for a larger corporation I'd flat out refuse to travel unless that travel was according to the stated travel policy. Your boss is trading your discomfort for his career progression, I would not accept that.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by IMOA View Post
I tend to think of it as it's unacceptable to expect me to spend 9 hours scrunched up in a tiny seat just to get to work.
Well, I think it's unacceptable for ANY employee to expect that their employer pay for biz or first class tickets. You know, that 'cart before the horse' thingy and all.

Would it be nice if my company did? Of course, and I wouldn't refuse the offer. But in no way shape or form do I, or should for that matter, expect them to pay for biz or first. It's not my perogative to expect it.

If I wanny fly in paid first or biz, I could always own my own company, I guess. Then, it WOULD be my perogative.
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Old Dec 22, 07, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by Ryan123 View Post
So I work for a large multi-national partnership (i.e. think big 4 accounting firm) and we have a national corporate policy that states business class is authorized for all international flights except to mexico and canada. Last year, I flew to Europe 6 times and my local office has refused to let me or anyone else in my office/practice for that matter sit in business class (due to cost). I have only been out of college for around a year and six months so I am not really familiar with other companies policies around international travel. So my question is, is it the norm to allow employees to sit in business for international travel or do some companies require coach? I am curious to hear your opinions.
I work in a big 4 too, PM coming to you...
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