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Cheapest airfares are still too ‘basic’ for business travel

A survey of corporate travel programmes found that 69 per cent ban bookings into basic economy class outright, and 79 per cent configure their booking tools so that basic economy fares don’t appear as an option for unauthorized travellers, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Airlines Reporting Corporation. business class flights

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By contrast, 89 per cent of programmes allow employees to travel in business class in at least some scenarios, such as on lengthy international flights, and 58 per cent of companies permit bookings into premium economy seats, which offer additional leg room and other minor perks.

READ MORE: Most expensive cities for business travel

“It’s not surprising to see many business travel programs shying away from basic economy fares,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO.

“These fares pose a challenge for travel programmes, creating difficulty for spend visibility and comparison shopping when add-ons are factored in.

“Additionally, travel buyers are increasingly factoring in traveller preference and convenience as they recognize the importance of their role in employee retention and recruitment in a strong economy with low unemployment.”

READ MORE: Should Business Travel Be Obsolete this days?

Travel programs almost universally (91 percent) address the advance purchase of flights with 29 percent requiring advance purchase whenever possible and 71 percent recommending it.

The study showed only 3 percent of travel programs reward travelers for saving money on air bookings. However, 21 percent would consider rewarding travelers for policy-compliant or low-cost air bookings.

ARC transaction data shows that booking in advance can mean significant savings, so travel programs may want to consider a stronger focus on advance purchases based on the needs of their travelers.

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