Poll: Does your company pay for you to fly first class?

A business class perk

A business class perk

For my first job out of college, I was never required to travel. Plenty of people I knew did, though, and at that time (over ten years ago) that company paid for business class for all international travel. Those were the days! I left that company several years ago, but found out that after I left they changed their travel policy and only paid for business class travel for VPs and above. My current company has the same policy—VPs and above. Alas, I am not a VP, so the only way I get business class (or first) is to use my points and pay the copay myself.

However, one of my best friends recently had to travel to Asia for work, and it turns out her company pays for not business, but first class for anyone who flies internationally. Wow. That got me wondering—what do most companies do? Pay for business class for all? Or a select few? Or no one?

Readers, what does your company do?

What is your company’s policy for international travel?

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  1. Coach class is the standard class of service for all domestic & international flights less than 8 hours. Business class is the standard for any international flight leg that is over 8 hours. The employee’s Business Unit President or Functional Head must approve exceptions to this policy.

    Senior Officers may fly domestic first class or international business class, non-refundable or upgrade to First Class as necessary.

  2. When I worked for a big4 firm, our policy was to fly coach domestically for pretty much everyone but maybe partners? For international flights over a certain length I elieve 6 hours allowed for business class for all.

  3. Investment bank – coach for all flights within 5 hours, biz class for flight above 5hours. Division Group head and C-level executives permitted for 1st class. I usually get on biz class and upgrade myself to 1st class whenever possible.

  4. At my old company, you flew business (or first if business wasn’t offered internationally), however sometimes people felt guilty flying that class, especially if it wasn’t being billed to a client (new business pitch or visiting another office). My boss flew coach to Paris because business class was running $7,000.

  5. If the total flight time is over 7 hours (most international flights), everyone gets business – unless first is less expensive, then they get first – yeah it happens. I also noticed that when a lot of larger companies extended the length to 7 hours, the flights to Europe all became longer all of a sudden…

  6. Another Investment Bank – Coach for within 5 hours. Business class for flight 5+ hours. First Class requires additional approval.

  7. Engineering company. Everybody flies coach, regardless of domestic/international or length of flight. Numerous coach trips to Asia and Europe last year. They hurt.

  8. Senior managers and above fly business class for international trips. I’m sure our c-suite folks fly first on both foreign and domestic… 🙂

  9. I work for a consulting firm, and the rules are generally this: coach domestically, business class internationally. BUT, we always follow client rules for client travel. If they fly coach globally, we only bill them for coach, and then we either fly coach, upgrade if possible, or”eat” the difference. No one wants to have to explain that to management.

  10. I work at a large tech company. We have established “fare caps” or allowances for all major routes (e.g., NYC to SFO roundtrip has a fare cap of $1250).

    If you find a flight under the cap (which almost always happens), you get half of the savings deposited into your travel bank (e.g., if I fly EWR-SFO-EWR for $450, I “saved” $800, so I get $400 in my travel bank). You can then use that travel bank money to either exceed your cap on a future flight (book business/first/whatever) or exceed your cap on a hotel.

    The caps are very generous, so I’ve got thousands of dollars saved up to splurge with at some point. They also let you donate the banked credits to a charity if you’re feeling generous.

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