Scott McCartney reports in the Wall Street Journal that corporate travel policies are becoming more generous allowing employees to fly in premium cabins.
There’s a tight labor market and companies don’t want to lose their best employees. The spread between business and coach and winnowed down. With more competition for premium cabin seats there are fewer upgrades available.
While travel is a business expense, comfortable business travel that’s considered ordinary and necessary isn’t taxed as income. It’s cheaper for an employer to buy business class than for an employee to buy up the difference.
[Expedia’s business travel booking portal] Egencia says more of its clients have recently begun making business class more available to employees. Some have tailored that perk to employees who travel more than 10 times a year on long flights, says Virginie Pouget, Egencia’s head of global consulting.
…The two most important remedies to reduce friction, according to road warriors: booking business class on flights of at least six hours, and reducing personal time spent on company travel.
…“If you fly once a month, you’re flying coach. If you fly every week, you should be in business class,” says Ariel Cohen, TripActions CEO and co-founder.
American Airlines Business Class
In addition to loosening up the requirement for buying premium cabin seats, companies are increasingly:
- Allowing employees to take more expensive non-stop flights on non-preferred carriers
- Scheduling afternoon meetings so employees can take a morning flight in rather than coming in the night before
Premium cabin rules aside, companies are much less likely to require ‘cheapest airfare’ as the default. For instance many company travel portals don’t even show basic economy options which is exactly the bet airlines were making to re-exert leverage over business travel airfares.
Have you noticed any change — more or less generous rules — for your business travel?