Policy/Procedure: 201.A Air Travel
Statement of Policy
Payment/Reimbursement for travel shall be limited to the lowest cost means of travel unless it is impractical or not available. Travel by air shall be limited to the lowest logical coach class fare available. The additional cost for premium class (first class or business class) travel is generally not reimbursable. If extenuating circumstances arise where premium class travel is required, such travel must be documented, approved by the respective Divisional Business Office and subsequently approved by the UW-Madison Travel Office prior to booking the flight. Employees who seek a disability-related travel accommodation should see http://www.oed.wisc.edu/disability/employee.html for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The "lowest logical coach class fare" is defined as the least costly fare, including taxes and fees, that:
- Uses a regularly scheduled commercial carrier.
- Prohibits preference for any airline, type of aircraft and connecting airports.
- May require one plane transfer both departing and returning.
- Departs from the airport nearest to the employee's headquarters location or, at the discretion of the employee, from an airport offering a fare which is more cost effective for the UW, including parking, mileage or additional overnight stays.
- Allows for up to a four-hour leeway in scheduling which may necessitate that the employee arrive up to two hours prior to the start of his/her UW business and may require up to a two-hour wait after the planned business ending time to take advantage of lower air fares.
- May be non-refundable.
Note: Alternative fare classes for Southwest (Anytime and Business Select) Airlines are available for purchase in Concur or through Fox World Travel full service, when *in policy.
*Options to book these alternative fare classes are reserved for travelers and travel arrangers that use Concur or Fox World Travel full service and only when the fare is within the "lowest available" policy threshold established in Concur. Per policy, travelers or travel arrangers that do not use Concur for self-booking or Fox World Travel for full service reservations are not allowed to book outside of coach/economy class fares on any airline, including Southwest (Wanna Get Away fare class), unless they have documented, approved, extenuating circumstances.
- The first piece of baggage within the airlines’ weight and size limits is allowable.
- Costs for additional baggage beyond the first piece and overweight or oversized baggage may be reimbursed by providing a business justification.
- Seat Fees
- The costs associated with booking an aisle, window or exit row seat on a coach class ticket are allowable.
- Change/Cancellation Fees
- Fees charged for changing a non-refundable ticket are allowable if justified by circumstances outside of the traveler's control (i.e. meeting dates changed).
- Booking Fees
- Travel agency and online booking fees are allowable.
Note: Any additional fees for traveler conveniences or amenities are not allowable expenses.
- Concur, the self-booking tool through Fox World Travel, is the preferred method for making all individual, domestic, internet based airfare purchases. Use of Concur supports airline discount agreements and enables the University to track airfare booking and spend data which is required for a well managed travel program.
- Travelers may use the agency of their choice when online purchases are unsuitable. We encourage the use of the Wisconsin Certified Minority Enterprise travel agents.
- Orbitz is not in compliance with State of Wisconsin sales tax collection requirements and must not be used for booking business-related travel.
Payment MethodsWhenever possible, travelers should utilize university purchasing cards or the personal-liability My Corporate Card to pay for UW-Madison business-related airfare and allowable associated fees.
Note: Required documentation should be retained in the payment mechanism files. When entering University Prepaid Expenses in e-Reimbursement, an additional copy of the expense receipt is not required in the receipt packet.
Airfare: Complete supporting documentation for airfare includes the following:
- An approved UW – Madison business purpose
- An airline or agency receipt that includes all of the following:
- Traveler’s name
- Ticket number
- Departure/Return Dates
- Amount of fare
- Class of travel
- Proof of payment
- Indirect routing and/or extra stops for personal reasons: Indirect routing/extra stops for personal reasons are allowable provided there are no additional costs incurred.
- Departing from and/or returning to an alternate city: Departing from and/or returning to a city other than Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago is allowable provided the fare is more cost effective for the UW, including parking, mileage, meals, additional overnight stays, etc.
- Departing earlier/returning later than business requires: It is acceptable to depart a day early and/or return a day late if it results in a substantial savings in airfare to offset the extra costs of the room, meals, etc.
Airline PromotionsBenefits from any airline promotion, such as free tickets for frequent fliers, merchandise, etc., that accrue as a result of UW paid travel belong to the UW and must be used for UW related business only; however, benefits that accrue as a result of voluntary bumping may be retained by the employee.
Note: An employee may not be reimbursed or compensated for business use of personally earned frequent flyer vouchers, vouchers for bumping, discount coupons or other instruments of value.
International TravelFor additional requirements pertaining to international travel, see Policy 201.J International Travel.
ContactsTravelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions.
Divisional Business Offices may contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.