Business Travel Travel Management

Travel Policy Guidelines—To Pay for Economy Seating … Or Not

My first experience with economy seating happened because there were no other pre-assigned seats available besides those in economy. Of course, panic set in due to the dread of not knowing if I would get a seat at the airport during check-in.

My thoughts were: What if I don’t get a seat and I have to take a later flight? I would miss my meeting. Maybe I could fly in the night before. But this would mean additional costs for a hotel. If I chose that option, would I bill it to the company? There are no travel policy guidelines for situations like this. What to do? I didn’t know about this business meeting until two weeks before my departure date and there are no seats other than those in the economy section. Do I need to get this ticket approved?

These, of course, are thoughts many business travelers have, especially during the summer months when the added impact of vacation travelers causes flights to fill so much sooner than usual.

I decided to wait a couple days and continued to check the seats early each morning–still, there was nothing but economy seating available for purchase. The anxiety was getting to me so I finally decided to go ahead and book the economy seat and then asked for permission, figuring the extra cost would be well worth the price. Stress released as soon as I submitted payment for the seats, and I would get to the meeting and home in one day. By the way—my request to purchase economy was approved because with no other pre-assigned seats available, this was the most cost-effective solution.

For my next trip, I had two months to plan and there were plenty of seats available so I booked a regular ticket. But I will also watch and consider whether or not I want to pay for the upgraded, more convenient seating. I learned from my previous experience that, besides the comfort, the small upgrade fee lets me board early, which allows me to carry my bags on with little hassle. And for this next trip, it might be worth the price to know I can enjoy those amenities plus the convenience.

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