Business Travel

4 Myths about Booking Airfare

When booking airfare, you may do your research and read all the fine print, but don’t lose out on booking the best deals. Our travel professionals aren’t fooled by these travel myths:

Top airfare myths

Myth #1: Travel Agents Don’t Always Find the Best Rates

At Christopherson Business Travel, our agents always find the lowest available rate for our clients. Not to mention, travel agents have tricks up their sleeves that automated websites have never even heard of! Why not let a professional do the shopping?

Myth #2: Non-Refundable Airfare is Always Non-Refundable

Technically, the rule says airlines must either hold a quoted fare for 24 hours OR allow travelers to cancel within 24 hours. Almost all airlines offer a full refund without penalty if you cancel within 24 hours of booking. The exception is American Airlines who have opted for the “hold” program that allows customers to put a ticket on hold for 24 hours before booking. Additionally, non-refundable fares are fully refundable if the flight is cancelled, significantly delayed, or if the airline makes a significant schedule change prior to departure. Fortunately, when you book through an agency like Christopherson Business Travel, an agent acts as the liaison between you and the airline, so you’ll stay up-to-date on all the details of your travel and have someone to help address any necessary changes!

Myth #3: Lap Children Always Fly Free

On domestic flights, yes, but travelers are required to pay 10% of the applicable adult fare on international flights for small children who will share your seat. Also, if you fly on a free award ticket in business class with a small child, it will cost you 10% of the business class fare which might be hundreds of dollars.

It’s things like these that make travel agents so valuable–they know the rules!

Myth #4: Booking Directly with Airline Websites Will Get You the Best Fares

Airline websites won’t tell you that it’s cheaper for you to fly via their airline one way and their competitor another, but a travel agent will and they’ll even let you book the trip in one transaction. Talk about resourceful!

Business Travel Travel Tips Vacation Travel

6 Tips to Travel More

With the New Year now in full swing, most of us have resolutions we are working on. But usually by mid-year (and often sooner), half of us have will have likely broken one or more of those resolutions.

One of the top ten most frequently “un-achieved” resolutions is to travel to a new place. This goal is usually broken due to a lack of time and/or money. But there are ways to keep this resolution. Here is a list of six tips to help you travel more:

Top 6 tips to actually traveling more

  1. Make Time – A vacation doesn’t have to be a week or two long. Try instead for a getaway to a location you can get to quickly either in your car or via a short flight. Enjoy an overnight trip and enjoy the local sights.
  2. Extend a Business Trip – Often the sites of a city to which you travel for business can be very interesting. Since you are there anyway, adding a day or two can be easy. This can also save you money on airfare, and perhaps car and hotel. When possible, you can even have your family or friends meet you after your  meetings are over so you can enjoy the locale with others.
  3. Use Your Vacation Days – Work doesn’t go away. Intentions to get “caught up” before you leave may never happen. But if you put it on the calendar, you are more inclined to take the vacation. And to take it one step further–book it. Forces yourself to take the time off. You’ll be happy you did.
  4.  Start Saving Now – With automated bank deposits and transfers, there are many ways to set aside money for vacations. Determine an amount you can set aside and make it an automated saving. You won’t miss the money, and will have a nice amount when vacation time comes around.
  5.  Take a Staycation – During the recession, many people saved money by taking “staycations”–a vacation in their own town. Even with a stronger economy, this is still a great way to revisit your city and local sights that maybe you haven’t explored before.
  6. Look for Volunteer Travel Opportunities – Join a charitable organization or get more involved with your church. Many times they organize trips to help those in third-world countries and the cost of such trips are often paid for through fundraising. Plus, what a great way to see the world–while helping those in need.

Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope travel is on to your list. So many great places and opportunities await.

Travel Industry Travel Management

More Benefit Changes Coming to MileagePlus® Members

At the end of 2014, United Airlines announced more changes to the MileagePlus® membership plan, which go into effect February 1, 2015. These changes will affect complimentary baggage allowances, Global Entry payment reimbursement, and the MileagePlus® Upgrade Award.

Currently, Premier Gold members traveling on domestic Economy tickets are allowed three complimentary checked bags. As of February 1, those travelers will only receive two complimentary checked bags.

Second, MileagePlus® members are presently receiving reimbursement for the $100 Global Entry application fee. This reimbursement will no longer be available.

Lastly, while Premier members are currently exempt from the co-pay due upon request for a MileagePlus® Upgrade Award on the premium service (or the premium service route that travels between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport or San Francisco International Airport), next month, members will no longer be exempt from this fee.

See United’s Premier Benefits Chart to learn the benefits of each tier of Premier status.

Business Travel Travel Management Travel News

Falling Cost of fuel and Airline surcharges: Business Travelers Take Note

(AP Photo/Ric Francis)
(AP Photo/Ric Francis)

The cost of fuel and the resulting airline surcharges provides a hearty discussion for those of us in the business travel industry. If you are looking to reduce travel spend, it is definitely a topic to pay attention to, especially for those traveling internationally.

Some carriers have announced reductions, while others are not considering this yet in light of the plummeting cost of jet fuel. Travel managers, particularly those with international travelers, might want to consider using air carriers who are the first to reduce or discontinue fuel surcharges. Doing so could reduce a round-trip international ticket by hundreds of dollars.

Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qatar Airways, and Virgin Atlantic have announced reductions as of this month. Unfortunately, the last to fold will likely be those we fly so often in the U.S. We’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes and what impact the competitive marketing effort will have in their announcements to reduce these fees.  Only time and market-share loss will tell.

If you’re looking for more information, here are a few articles with more details on fuel surcharges and those air carriers reducing them first out of the chute:

  • Fuel Prices Fall, Yet Airline Surcharges Remain, USA Today
  • Certain Airlines Cutting Fuel Surcharges: How Ticket Prices are Linked to the Levy, The Straits Times
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel News

Which are the Safest Airlines in the World?

aeroplane at the airport with good weather has released their annual list of the world’s ten safest airlines.

The aviation website recently released their annual list of the world’s ten safest airlines from the list of 449 airlines they monitor.  Top designation, once again, goes to Qantas Airlines of Australia, which has a fatality free record. has developed a rating system which incorporates factors related to audits from governing bodies such as FAA and ICAO, government audits, and the airlines fatality record. Additionally, to be named in the top ten ranking, an airline much achieve a 7-star safety rating and proven leadership in innovation for passenger comfort.

The other nine safest airlines are: Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

Business Travel Travel Industry

Wi-Fi Changes at Major Brand Hotels

Many major brand hotels are now offering free Wi-Fi to customers

Whether through your own business travels or in the news, you have probably learned that many major brand hotels are now offering free Wi-Fi to customers. In the past, Wi-Fi has not been included at most of full-service hotel properties.

Here is a brief list of which hotel brands are offering Wi-Fi for free and what the specifics are. More info can be found at

IHG: Free for all Rewards Club members.

Hyatt: Free for all guests. Premium Wi-Fi available for a fee (Free for Diamond and Platinum Hyatt Gold Passport members).

Marriott: Free for all Rewards members. Premium Wi-Fi available for a fee (Free for Gold and Platinum elite members).

Hilton: Free Wi-Fi for all Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members. Premium Wi-Fi available on a tiered pricing system.

Starwood: Free Wi-Fi for all Starwood Preferred Guest members. Premium Wi-Fi free for SPG Gold, Platinum, and Partners

Business Travel Travel Industry

Hotel Cancellation Policies Becoming More Stringent

cancellation-policyTwenty-fourteen was a banner year for hotel bookings. In fact, in July alone, there were 113 million room nights sold. This is the single strongest demand month ever. The challenge with this rise in bookings though, is that while hotel group business is up, construction of new hotels is less than it has been in previous years.

Additionally, one of the largest hotel chains, Marriott International, announced a new hotel cancellation policy which went into effect January 1, 2015. Under Marriott’s new policy, rooms must be cancelled by 11:59 p.m. local time on the day prior to arrival. If a room is cancelled after that time, travelers will incur a no-show bill, which is usually the cost of one night’s stay. It is important to note, however, that Marriott franchise owners have the ability to opt out of this change and keep the previous cancellation deadline of 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. on the day of arrival.

Marriott is not the first hotel to revise their cancellation policy. Many hotels have implemented a more strict 24, 48 or even 72-hour cancellation deadline. Bottom line: always review and read all hotel cancellations policies before booking so as to avoid unnecessary additional costs.