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corporate travel policies for discounted first class

corporate travel policies for discounted first class

Old Jan 16, 19, 3:24 pm
  #1  
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corporate travel policies for discounted first class

I apologize if this question is in the wrong place. If it is, a moderator should of course feel free to move or delete it.

Recently, I have been flying UA domestic first class using P or Z fares. Our travel policy is pretty loose, and the fares are not very high so nobody gives me a hard time.

But it makes me wonder how common are corporate travel policies that require coach only for domestic travel, but allow high coach fares (full Y, etc.)? In other words, a policy that would, say, allow someone to pay $900 to fly from BOS to SAN in Y but prohibit the same person from paying, say, $550 to be more comfortable in first class, by planning in advance (or being selective about what flight one takes) and buying a Z fare? Is that typical of corporate travel policies?
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Old Jan 16, 19, 3:26 pm
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Yes it common to only allow economy even if J is cheaper
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Old Jan 16, 19, 3:34 pm
  #3  
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Very common to avoid the lack of flexibility in the discount fares. Especially at larger companies.

I am lucky to be a partner at a relatively small firm now where I can book 99% of my travel in P/A/Z buckets and just deal with the $2-3K in change fees I likely encounter in a given year. When I used to work at a larger investment bank I was booked into Y unless the flight was >6 hours (effectively over an ocean). While the Y fare class would get upgraded a decent amount as a 1K/GS it was still a lot less than my current 95%+ up front percentage (basically only end up in Y if there are irrops).
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Old Jan 16, 19, 5:51 pm
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Yep very common. I worked for 5 banks and many investment firms in my career and ALL were OK for a 5 hour flight at full Y for 3K even if P fare was around 1500$ for the same flight.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 6:55 pm
  #5  
 
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It really bothers me when I get to read about other's travel policies and how generous they are with their policies. I envy your policies. I think it's far from the norm though. J travel is getting very hard to find. Even if J or PE is cheaper then Y, it's Y. And by "Y" I mean the lowest fare that your online travel agency site gives you.

Rules are rules and you can't be raising attention and asking for exceptions. That's what was drilled into me.

OP - any details what industry/location you are in?

Last edited by BThumme; Jan 16, 19 at 7:02 pm
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:22 pm
  #6  
 
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we have to book "lowest logical fare", I've found that our system is fairly loose. After I choose the option I want (UA out of a non-UA hub) it gives me lower price choices to choose from. If I ignore the lower price choices, it does some sort of "policy check" and usually still allows the purchase. I only get blocked when it is a huge price difference. Even in that case I'm sure that I could book it in different ways (two one ways, multi city, etc) and get past the check though I've never had to try it. It is rare I get booked into Y, but I've certainly had B and M fares many times. In our industry, people seem to be unable to plan more than a few days ahead of time.

we are typically forbidden from booking anything higher than economy (no premium economy, business, or first) without upper management approval (even when all economy options are not available) or for a medical reason. There is a company rule that allows us to book J if the flight is longer than a certain number of hours, every project I've worked on has then instituted its own exception rule that does not allow booking J regardless of length.

There are also some strange rules like being allowed to book a non-stop over a trip with stops even if the non-stop is more expensive. Or not being required to choose a flight before 8am or after 9pm.

There was a time that UA actually gave my company a certain number of GPU/RPUs every quarter. There was a single person in the corporation of hundreds of thousands of people that you had to email to request one. Anyone could request it on a first come first serve basis, but the benefit was not advertised. It took my 5 years before I discovered it. Apparently all the upper management people (who are also forbidden from booking J) knew about this benefit. Unfortunately, this benefit was discontinued a few years ago for my company.

I've worked with govt employees that have to call their travel agent to book travel and have very little wiggle room and are stuck with city-pair contracts. I've been offered jobs with the govt but mainly turn it down because of how inflexible this policy is. (If I have to travel alot, I want to be able to earn status on one airline). I've even met someone who told me their company is able to fly anywhere in the country in F at any time for a the same price. Some contactors I work with are very sought after and are able to dictate in their contact that they must fly in J for overseas.

Bottom line, just like salary, it can all be negotiated but it depends how important you are or how unimportant you are.

But more importantly, I've found it is much better to have a job that pays you enough and gives you enough vacation to be able to fly where you want, when you want, in whatever type of seat you want.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
Bottom line, just like salary, it can all be negotiated but it depends how important you are or how unimportant you are.
I have posted this before when this discussion comes up. My wife negotiated biz or better for any flight 3 hours or longer as part of her hiring package. They initially balked but wanted her bad enough that they said yes. Travel is a VERY important part of her job as she works for a "global tech" company. How can you expect someone to hit the ground running after a 15hr flight to let's say SIN if they have been sitting in an E / E+ seat?! I am self employed so my expenses are my own, I generally fly biz on all TPACs and TATLs and try to get upgraded (hardly ever now) on TCONs.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:40 pm
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Originally Posted by LIH View Post
Very common to avoid the lack of flexibility in the discount fares. Especially at larger companies.

I am lucky to be a partner at a relatively small firm now where I can book 99% of my travel in P/A/Z buckets and just deal with the $2-3K in change fees I likely encounter in a given year. When I used to work at a larger investment bank I was booked into Y unless the flight was >6 hours (effectively over an ocean). While the Y fare class would get upgraded a decent amount as a 1K/GS it was still a lot less than my current 95%+ up front percentage (basically only end up in Y if there are irrops).
Surprised at true Y class and 1K your YBM instant upgrades weren't very frequent. Lots of last minute bookings? Or were you using Y to refer to all econ fare classes?
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
... How can you expect someone to hit the ground running after a 15hr flight to let's say SIN if they have been sitting in an E / E+ seat?.....
Speaking of that, the last time(s) I went to SIN, the customer told us to arrive one day (24hrs rounded up) early to give us a "rest day" since we are not flying J. Meaning that if we were flying J, we'd be expected to work the next morning. In practice, one full day at the rate my company charges is far more than the price difference of a J seat + hotel. Our Y tickets were typically fairly expensive since we typically did not know the exact date til less than a week before travel. In reality, we didn't get 24hrs to ourselves to "rest", we would have a day of "meetings" to prepare or the actual "work" since everything had been put together so last minute.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by prometa View Post
Surprised at true Y class and 1K your YBM instant upgrades weren't very frequent. Lots of last minute bookings? Or were you using Y to refer to all econ fare classes?
Even with YBM, I still would be surprised to see someone with a 95% clearance rate.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
There is a company rule that allows us to book J if the flight is longer than a certain number of hours, every project I've worked on has then instituted its own exception rule that does not allow booking J regardless of length.
Is this rule part of your contract with your company?

If so then there should be no question about traveling J, regardless of what the project company says - as itís part of your contract to be allowed fly J

Either your company needs to insist that project company pays for J, or your company pays the extra out of their pocket

Understandable if you donít want to rock the boat though
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Old Jan 16, 19, 9:20 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
OP - any details what industry/location you are in?
Not OP but I work at a tech company and we have simiarily loose policies. Thereís a fixed amount you are allowed to spend and beyond that, literally anything goes. Y? J? F? LAX-SFO via JFK? Take the Pony express? Doesnít matter, so long as itís within budget. Heard a guy cashed in a few vacation days and took a cruise ship from Europe to NYC once.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 9:25 pm
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post

Not OP but I work at a tech company and we have simiarily loose policies. There’s a fixed amount you are allowed to spend and beyond that, literally anything goes. Y? J? F? LAX-SFO via JFK? Take the Pony express? Doesn’t matter, so long as it’s within budget. Heard a guy cashed in a few vacation days and took a cruise ship from Europe to NYC once.
I used to work at HP and we had the lowest proposed fares. No J or PE at all unless you were a high-up. And it was drilled into me very clearly not to push this there.

With that said I really wish glassdoor would have travel policy as part of their information. It just always seems like this big taboo subject to so many.

Last edited by BThumme; Jan 16, 19 at 9:31 pm
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Old Jan 16, 19, 9:33 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by BThumme View Post
With that said I really wish glassdoor would have travel policy as part of their information. It just always seems like this big taboo subject to so many.
Agree the generous travel policy is a huge perk and employees love it. However itís not advertised at all until after you join.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 9:42 pm
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Originally Posted by pmarrsouth View Post


Is this rule part of your contract with your company?

If so then there should be no question about traveling J, regardless of what the project company says - as it’s part of your contract to be allowed fly J

Either your company needs to insist that project company pays for J, or your company pays the extra out of their pocket

Understandable if you don’t want to rock the boat though

No, I an am employee of the company I work for and am not under any contract with them thus my company can institute whatever rules they want. (Though there is an ineffective union but nothing in the union contract regarding travel) The project managers get the latitude to institute restrictions on spending their project's budget as they see fit to be more restrictive than company policy (typically not less restrictive). Also, sometimes the travel stipulation is part of the contract between my company and the customer. It that case, the company may pay out of its own pocket to fly me J as long as it doesnt bill the customer for the extra cost. This is a company where most high level management is trying to tell employees that have "field engineer" type assignments that they can do their job using skype vs traveling. They'll spend a million dollars to save a dollar.

Last edited by eng3; Jan 16, 19 at 9:52 pm
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