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Business Travel Travel Technology

How to Search for Flights with Concur Travel’s Online Booking Tool

Most people don’t have time to sort through the myriad of options that populate when searching for a business travel flight. It can certainly be an overwhelming task. We all have parameters and certain restraints that require us to arrive at, or depart from, our destinations at specific times. Ultimately there are only a handful of itineraries that will fit our needs.

But Concur has the ability to sort through the hundreds of options and filter out most of those that do not meet your criteria. Here are a few simple tips to help you more efficiently search for business travel flights using the Concur booking tool.

concur booking tool
Image A (click image to enlarge)

When filling out the search parameters in Concur, it is usually best to search by “Schedule” as, more often than not, you generally know the flights you want or you have time restrictions.  Remember–any information you put into the search parameters will directly influence the search results.

If you want a specific flight, be sure that whatever time you enter into your search includes the flight time of the flight you would like to book. The field highlighted in green (Image A) indicates the amount of time prior to, and after, the time you selected. This is what the travel engine will use to populate your search options. In this instance, the tool will search for departing flights from 4:00AM until 10:00AM.

Once the flight results are displayed, you can further filter your results by clicking the icon at the top of the page for the carrier with whom you’d prefer to fly. For example, if you know you want to travel on a non-stop United flight, you can search for only those flights by clicking the row and column where United, Non-Stop results intersect–as indicated by the green highlighted field in Image B.

Please note that clicking on an airline icon, or on search options within the matrix, will filter both departing and returning flight searches. So if you are looking for a United outbound flight, but want Delta for your return, make sure you select the Delta icon after you chose your United outbound flight.

Also, if your search doesn’t display the necessary information, you can always adjust your search parameters by changing the fields found to the right of the search results as indicated by the pink arrow (Image B).

concur booking tool
Image B (click image to enlarge)

By following these simple steps, you can save yourself a lot of time and efficiently find flights that meet your travel needs.

Christopherson Business Travel provides fulfillment expertise for Concur Expense and Travel. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you to customize and implement your travel and expense process. Please contact one of our executives to learn more.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Management Travel News

Airline Exchange Fees On the Rise: How will this affect business travel?

airline exchange feesIt has started again.

Last week, United Airlines announced an increase in their fees for exchanges and then this week, U.S. Air made the same announcement. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before Delta and other airlines join this game of Follow the Leader.

Most major airlines, until last week, charged $150.00 for exchanges associated with domestic reservations and $250.00 for international reservations. The new fees introduced by United Airlines are now $200.00 to change domestic reservations and $300.00 for international reservations.

While I understand this is a revenue-generating tactic by the airlines, it is also, unfortunately, a huge disservice to their travelers. My simple advice to Delta (and it’s probably the same advise you would give them!) is: “Don’t raise your change fees!”

As a frequent business traveler I would be willing to shift all my business solely to Delta if they were to leave their fees where they are. I believe that concern for, and loyalty to, travelers will generate traveler loyalty to the airline.

As a travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel sees how change fees affect our customers’ bottom lines, and this increase will significantly impact travel budgets across the board.

While increasing change fees has an obvious negative impact on companies with business travelers, I see this increase benefiting airlines in two ways. First, they will increase revenue with change fees. And second, travelers may now choose to buy refundable tickets, which can be significantly more expensive than non-refundable fares.

This is where the benefit of working with a Travel Management Company like Christopherson Business Travel comes in handy. When working with a full-service travel agent, you will receive expert advice on whether it is financially advantageous to purchase a refundable ticket based on the likelihood that your travel plans may change.

For up-to-date information on changes in airline fees you can refer to individual airline websites or call Christopherson Business Travel, and let our agents worry about it for you.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Technology

Is Airline Wi-Fi Worth the Price?

Is airplane wifi worth the price

It seems we can’t board a flight without hearing or seeing an ad about airline Wi-Fi services. Airlines are practically climbing over each other to get the message out. “Airline A has the most planes equipped with Wi-Fi.” “Airline B has the best service.” “Airline C has the best deals to stay connected throughout your flight.”

But is it really worth the price?

I recently saw results from a survey that suggests most travelers aren’t willing to pay for the “privilege” of staying connected in the sky. Of the four thousand travelers surveyed, 84% said airline Wi-Fi should be free. While this doesn’t indicate how many travelers actually log on and pay for the service, it does tell us that the vast majority of travelers feel it’s not worth the price.

We also have to take into account the lack of power ports on aircraft. While airlines have made great strides in adding outlets and USB ports, you could still land in a seat without a way to charge your battery. So on that four-hour flight with only a two-hour battery, should you decide the cost of Wi-Fi is indeed worth it, you still may only want to purchase a thirty or sixty minute Wi-Fi pass rather than a segment or single flight pass.

Now, if you’re a traveler who just has to stay connected 24/7, then perhaps Wi-Fi may be worth the price. There’s nothing worse then sitting there, with smart phone in hand, wondering what’s in your inbox, knowing that the internet is just a click (and a credit card) away!

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Business Travel Travel Tips

How to Avoid Security Lines (or at least get through them faster)

Avoid Long Security Lines at Airports

Avoid long security lines at the airport

Some travelers can be their own worst enemy when it comes to slowing down the security lines. They don’t follow the publicized rules and continue to try and sneak items past security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscates thousands of items every year. Below are a few resources for travelers to use and review that will help avoid those long security lines.

  1. This app, provided by the TSA, allows travelers to check wait times for security lines.
  2. Another program, offered by the TSA, is the Pre?™ program. This program prescreens frequent flyers so you can avoid long lines and breeze through security. To qualify, the traveler needs to fly certain number of miles annually and be invited by the airline as a trusted traveler. To learn more about this program please visit TSA.gov.
  3. The Global Entry Program is for low-risk international travelers coming to the United States. Global Entry members can use the Global Entry kiosks located at airports by entering their passport to activate the system. The kiosk then scans the traveler’s fingerprint and compares it to fingerprint biometrics data on file. In order to qualify for this program, travelers need to complete the Global Entry application, found here. There is a fee of $100 to process the application. Global Entry, once approved, is valid for 5 years.
  4. CLEAR is another speedy way to get through security by automating a traveler’s identity using biometrics, fingerprints, and their iris. After completing an online registration process, a traveler will receive instructions to visit an enrollment center with their driver’s license and passport (or other approved ID) to complete enrollment. Once approved, they then receive a CLEAR card by mail to present at the exclusive CLEAR lane at security check points. CLEAR is currently not available at all airports, but is expanding. The yearly cost for CLEAR is $179. Visit ClearMe.com for more information and to access to the online registration form.
Categories
Travel Industry Travel News

Delta Downsizes Lavatory Space for More Seats

airplane bathrooms

Have you heard of the “module lavatory system?”

Delta Airlines will be introducing a new and improved (?) SMALLER lavatory on their 737-900’s to maximize space for more seats.

I understand that supply and demand is most important, but airplane seating is already too close, squished, and uncomfortable because of the Economy Comfort shift. Now the lavatory is being compromised for more seats. What’s next?

Oh, what the future holds for the airline and business travel industries!

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

TSA Pre? Quick Guide Security Location Chart

Updated: August 2016 – The TSA Pre? program continues to expand, currently serving 40 airports, with more to come throughout the year. The trick is, knowing which airports are in the program and where to locate the Pre? security point at each participating airport. When this blog was first written in 2013, there were only 40 airports participating in TSA  Pre?. Now they are in almost every state!

The security location chart previously listed is now outdated. For the most up-to-date information on TSA  Pre? availability, go to the TSA map page.

Once a passenger is deemed eligible for expedited screening through the TSA Pre? pre-screening process, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. When TSA then scans the barcode at a security checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to the expedited screening lane, although Pre? approved passengers are still subject to random searches and screenings for security purposes.

Under TSA Pre?’s program, passengers who use a Pre? security checkpoint do not have to remove certain items of clothing, such as belts, shoes and light outerwear, and can keep laptops and liquids in carry-on bags.

Also, check out our recent blogs on TSA Pre?

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our superior travel technology and consultative account services, we on average save our client 15% on their travel budget annually. Contact us to learn more about our unique travel management services.  

Categories
Business Travel Vacation Travel

Internet vs Travel Advisor for Booking Vacation Travel

why use a travel advisor

By now, most of our blog readers are probably convinced of the benefits of using a travel agency to book your business travel–the convenience, the technology, the assistance with making changes, help in tracking your unused tickets, etc., etc.

But do you feel the same way about using a travel advisor to book your vacation travel?  Or do you spend hours and hours doing research on the Internet, trying to find the cheapest flights, the best hotel for your budget and preferences, and planning activities to do once you arrive. Travel planning can be very time consuming and frustrating, and yet so many people continue doing it all on their own.  Why?

I love this list of the Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Advisor, written by Ruthanne Terrero, the Editorial Director of the Questex Travel Group.  It’s funny, and oh-so-true!

  1. You’ve Googled “Mexico vacation,” and come up with 17.8 million responses. Need a little help editing those choices?
  2. Remember when you used that obscure website to book your hotel, and when you got there you spent your beach vacation overlooking a parking lot?
  3. How many hours were you on hold with the airline when your flight was canceled because of a snowstorm?
  4. Did you really mean to spend your honeymoon at that resort whose one tiny pool was filled all day with 12 screaming children?
  5. Who knew that when you booked that “villa” in Tuscany, it would be a small room with a kitchenette and no air conditioning? Funny, it looked much better on your computer screen.
  6. No one explained to you that in July, its winter time in Rio, and so you showed up there with nothing but five Hawaiian shirts and three pairs of swimming trunks.
  7. How about the time you really needed a restful vacation, and you ended up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and someone threw up on your shoes?
  8. Yes, I guess that hotel must have used a telephoto lens when they took a picture of those guest rooms that you saw on their website.
  9. I suppose contacting the Attorney General to resolve the fact that that Internet site has billed your credit card three times instead of once is the only route to take at this point.
  10. It was definitely odd that there were no cab drivers at the airport at 3 o’clock in the morning when you finally landed in Costa Rica, but booking a transfer to your very remote hotel would have been a good thing to remember when you purchased your airline ticket and hotel online.

If this list sounds at all familiar to you, it may be time to contact a travel advisor and see what a huge difference it makes in planning your next vacation. Andavo Travel has an amazing group of world-class travel advisors with years of experience.  You can pick one who has the destination specialty you’d like, here.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

2013 Corporate Travel Index: Per Deim Rates Are Out

The 2013 edition of the Corporate Travel Index, Business Travel News’ magazine which publishes per diem rates and averages for the top 200 cities around the world was released March 18.

The methodology of the Corporate Travel Index:

The Business Travel News Corporate Travel Index is based on actual prices paid in 2012 by corporate clients of BCD Travel, provided to Business Travel News by BCD’s Advito consulting arm, as well as research conducted by The BTN Group and New York-based consulting firm Mercer Inc.

U.S. Per Diems

Total U.S. per diems listed are compiled by adding the average hotel, car, and food costs listed on subsequent pages. Business Travel News calculated year-over-year percentage changes in relation to total per diems listed in the 2012 Corporate Travel Index, which was compiled in the same manner as this year’s data.

For a complete listing of the 2013 Corporate Travel Index, click here.

For more information on constructing a travel policy that coincides with appropriate per deim rate’s, contact Christopherson’s Account Management team.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Tips

The Best Seat On The Plane

 

At the end of the year, business travelers scramble to make sure they have the required number of miles or segments to ensure the retainment of their airline status. Besides wanting additional points, free bags, free tickets, and the ability to get through security lines faster, one of the number one reasons for this is to GET BETTER SEATS. The typical goal for a seasoned business traveler is to be seated on an aisle at the front of the plane. But is this really the best seat?

Discovery TV recently purposely crashed a Boeing 727 loaded with more than $500K worth of crash test dummies, 38 specialized cameras and sensors, and a crew of skydiving pilots to better understand how passengers can protect themselves if their aircraft goes down.

First, the good news is that 96% of crash victims survive. Here are 6 lessons they learned from the crash test as reported by Reader’s Digest.

  1. Opt for an exit row. The best seat in the house during the crash simulation was in the rear emergency exit row.
  2. Sit in the back. Book a seat in or behind the eighth row. The safest seats are closest to the tail.
  3. Dress Comfortably. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants that will not restrict your movement. Opt for wool or a flame resistant fiber.
  4. Buckle up and sit straight. Keep you seat belt on at ALL times. To reduce injury during increased turbulence, put your head against the back of the seat in front of you and place your hands on your head.
  5. Don’t hold on to children. We all try and save money but, this is one place not to do it. Parents were not able to hold on to their children during a crash. Pay the extra money and put your child in a car seat.
  6. Stay Alert. The risk of an accident is particularly high during take off and landing. Keep your headphones off, don’t fall asleep, and stay alert during this critical time.

Now, keep in mind that, according to an MIT study, you could take a single flight every day for 38,000 years before dying in a plane crash.

I am guilty of wanting the aisle seat in the front of the plane when I travel but, we all have choices and maybe sitting in the back of the plane is not such a bad idea!

Categories
Business Travel

Christopherson Business Travel is an Affiliate of BCD Travel

BCD_AffiliateChristopherson Business Travel is a BCD Travel affiliate. BCD Travel operates in more than 95 countries, with $22.8 billion in total sales and a combined worldwide workforce of 11,000. (Read more about BCD, here.)

Operating throughout North America, the BCD Travel Affiliate Program is a model of innovation and excellence. A select group by design, there are more than 35 affiliates of BCD Travel in North America, with 450+ locations, totaling more than $2 billion in airline sales alone. In many regions of the U.S., the BCD affiliate is the leading independently owned TMC in the markets they represent.

Christopherson Business Travel is currently ranked as the third largest TMC amongst the BCD affiliate group and the largest TMC located west of the Mississippi.

BCD provides affiliate agencies a wealth of resources to strengthen the company and to provide clients with local presence around the world. BCD provides Christopherson with:

  1. Global footprint, clout and buying power (size)
  2. Training and sharing of industry insight (expertise)
  3. Networking and best-practices reviews (community)

BCD resources include the following buying power for our clients:

  • International Airline Programs
  • Global Hotel Program
  • Rental Car Exclusive Rates

The senior BCD leadership teams meet with us regularly and provides invaluable insight and training to our teams.

As a group, the affiliates meet regularly and act as a sounding board with each other, exchanging best-practice solutions on travel management. Personally, I have the privilege of serving on the BCD Affiliate Board of Advisors which gives me the ability to contribute to the direction of the program.