Tickets wherever possible, should be bought through the University's approved travel management company. Travel insurance should be taken out at the time of making the booking (see Travel Insurance for more details).
Class of ticket
Economy class service should be used at the fare giving the best value for money. This applies even when the cost is being charged to a research grant or from a funding source that was generated by the work of the individual. If the lowest fare is not accepted then justification must be made to the person authorising the expenditure for another class to be used, however connecting flights should be considered. Subject to the approval of the head of department an employee may travel premium economy or business cabin class if:
- the flight is more than 8 hours; and
- they are working on behalf of the University (e.g. presenting a lecture/attending an event) within 3 hours of landing
An individual may fund an upgrade of ticket from their own pocket or from their personal air-miles.
See the Procurement Services web site for details of the travel management company. For air travel in particular attention should be paid to the following:
- Give maximum notice to take advantage of discounted fares e.g. Apex tickets
- Avoid last minute changes before or during the trip where these result in higher fares
- Non-refundable fares should be accepted when travel plans are relatively certain. The discounts should be weighed against the penalties when making the decision
- Fully flexible fares should not be used where flexibility in travel arrangements is not a business requirement
Low-cost carriers and the internet
Bargains can certainly be found on the Intranet, but there are also risks and difficulties.
- There are no credit terms so bookings will have to paid for either privately by credit or debit card, or with a University credit card
- Many of the attractive fares are exclusive of taxes
- Many of the attractive fares are not available when a booking is requested
- A lot of University time can be spent looking for fares
- The destination airport may be inconvenient or transport from that airport to one's final destination may be expensive and there may be additional subsistence costs (i.e. if meals are not included in the ticket price individuals may be able to claim subsistence allowance/ the cost of purchasing food on board)
- It can be difficult to change tickets or obtain a refund if things go wrong or plans have to be changed
On the face these fares may be cheaper but full consideration of the above must be given when prices are compared to those of the travel management company.
E ticketing means that you are sent an e-mail acknowledgement containing a reference number for your booking and you can go straight to the airline's check-in at the airport to collect your boarding pass. They should be taken where offered by the agent/airline. Surcharges are levied when paper tickets are requested on e-ticket route. These charges are often upward of £50 and are set to rise.
However, please remember if booking tickets on-line or purchasing 'e' tickets to still ensure that you print out a receipt and if booking on behalf of a colleague you follow the University Finance regulations and seek quotes/raise purchase orders where appropriate.
Air fares for business journeys are included in the University's dispensation and do not have to be included on the P11D.