Business Travel Guidelines
Travel cost-saving techniques & guidelines
Efficient Trip Planning
Call, e-mail or fax your travel consultant as soon as you know of your trip.
Discount and upgrade certificates
Refunds, cancel fees and "No show" penalties
If you elect not to take a flight which is part of a longer itinerary, you should call the airline and cancel your reservation. It is possible that being a "no show" for a flight can automatically cancel the remaining flights on your itinerary.
Airline tickets have value–return any unused refundable tickets to your travel consultant promptly. Don’t throw them away! Your agency will keep them on file and put a note in the traveller’s profile to prompt the agent to apply their value to future travel.
It is prudent to guarantee rooms for late arrival when travelling on business. The cancellation deadline is commonly 6pm day of arrival. However this can vary widely, even up to a month prior! Check your itinerary for specifics on any given hotel. Hotels also sometimes have early departure penalties. Review the hotel’s cancellation policy carefully.
Usually cars are not guaranteed or prepaid so if you do not show for a car reservation there is no fee, however, it is a courtesy to the rental company to cancel the car. There are some cases (some van rentals and special vehicles) where the booking is guaranteed and cancel deadlines exist–usually 24 to 48 hours.
Discount airfare rules
Factors that affect air fares.
Every airfare has its own set of rules and requirements. Unlike unrestricted full fares, discount airfares have one or more restrictions that apply. In general, the lower the fare, the stricter the rules...but not always! Following are some of the major factors that affect price:
Fares are subject to change without notice - and they change all the time.
If you’ve been quoted a fare, keep in mind that it can be different when you call back to buy the ticket. Since the deregulation of airfares in the 70’s the airline industry has been free to increase or lower prices, change fare rules, discontinue existing fares or create new ones at anytime and without notice. As a result, fare options can be complex and fast changing. Fares have been recorded at changing 20,000 times a minute! Once ticketed, the fare is guaranteed.
Non-sanctioned fare techniques
The airlines do not allow certain faring arrangements. Such fares include:
Domestic discount fares
Nonrefundable tickets are usually the lowest type of domestic airfare. They tend to have the following requirements:
14 or 7 days. Most markets have both of them, with the 14 day advance being the lower. Sometimes there are also 21-day, 3-day and 30-day deadlines. Occasionally there are even special fares that have no advance purchase required!
Nonrefundables require purchase within 1 day after reservation is made.
Saturday overnight. There are some markets, such as Las Vegas and Reno, and some holiday periods that might have different overnight requirements.
Some tickets allow you to go to up to 2 cities. It might require the Saturday overnight to elapse before leaving the furthest point. If you have more stops, check with your consultant for ways to calculate the best fare. Business travel fare reduction tip: Stay the weekend and visit family or friends at a second city to get a special fare that is lower than the normal round-trip fare to your business destination without a Saturday night. Ask the consultant to put the business travel fare on your itinerary.
Changes can usually be made only on the continuing or return flights for a fee of $75, providing other rules of the fare are still met. If your original return flight had an off-peak restriction, changing to an on-peak day usually incures an additional charge. Changes to the originating flight require that you requalify for a new available nonrefundable fare and pay a $75 fee plus the price of the new ticket.
Cancellation and refund policy
Nonrefundable ticketes are practically never refunded. (the only exceptions are in cases of death or illness). However, the value of the nonrefundable ticket may be applied to future travel, less the $75 fee. See Change rules above.
International discount fares
There are 3 common types of discount fares on international flights–APEX (advance purchase excursion), nonrefundable advance purchase fares and fully refundable excursion fares (less common).
All the fare types have wide variation but frequently 30, 21, 14 and 7 days.
All the fare types have a variety of minimum stays. Common requirements are 7 (occasionally 6) 10 and 14 days.
Again a wide variation with all the fare types....commonly 21 to 30 days. Some destinations have fares that allow long stays–2, 3, 6 months. Usually, the longer the stay, the higher the fare.
Generally no stopovers are permitted on the APEX and nonrefundable type fares. They do tend to allow "open-jaw"–into one city, back from another. The excursion fares frequently allow 1 to 2 stopovers in each direction.
The APEX and nonrefundable fares frequently allow changes to the return (while still meeting other fare requirements) for a fee...$50 to $150. The excursion fare allows changes for free at any time.
Varies greatly. APEX: Generally refundable until advance purchase deadline, subject to cancel fee ($75-150) thereafter. Nonrefundable advance purchase fare: Nonrefundable (frequently exceptions for illness, may require hospitalization). Might allow applying value of ticket to higher fare for use at a different time. Excursion: fully refundable.
Time of travel
There tend to be 2 to 4 seasons (time of year) on all the fare types. Tip: Sometimes, altering your departure by 1 day can lower your fare significantly. Day of the week can frequently make a $25 to $100 difference round-trip.
One hour prior to arrival for flights within Canada: if you have bags to check–you must check in at the main ticket counter, or can use curbside check-in (recommended tipping $1 per bag) and then go right to gate if you have a boarding pass. If you have no luggage and a boarding pass, you can check in directly at the gate. You must be there 30 minutes before departure, or the airline can resell your seat. With an eticket, go right to the gate.
Two hours is standard but can vary depending on the airline. If you have checked luggage and you are making an international connection, arrive at the connecting gate 45 minutes prior for baggage identification.
Seat assignments, boarding passes and oversold flights
Frequent flyer tips
Duplicate bookings can cause problems
Cancelled or missed flights
Check your tickets
Lost airline tickets
Frequent flyer partnerships
Frequent traveller programs