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Travelers Still Required to Seek Lowest Air Fare

June 05, 1996|From Reuters

Tight budgets continue to force business travelers to cut costs, including by using budget airlines now under renewed scrutiny in the aftermath of the recent disaster in Florida.

A newly released survey of travel managers found that in the last year, a little more than half had implemented policies requiring corporate travelers to use the lowest convenient air fare available or had imposed stiffer guidelines on finding the cheapest fares.

Requirements that business travelers seek or use the lowest convenient fares available have persisted for a number of years and appear to have become a fact of life, the survey from Runzheimer International, a consulting firm in Rochester, Wis., indicates.

The reasons are obvious.

A recent report from the Transportation Department found that one in seven passengers in the United States flew on low-fare airlines in 1995, and on average their tickets cost them $54 less for each trip.

The study also indicates that of the 60 busiest cities in the United States, 53 were being served by low-cost airlines.

The airlines covered at the time the survey was conducted were Western Pacific, Vanguard, ValuJet, Southwest, Reno Air, Morris Air, Frontier, American Trans Air and Air South.

A recent CNN survey of travelers found that about two-thirds of those questioned said the ValuJet crash would not affect their use of low-cost carriers.

When it comes to travel policies, the word "convenient" carries a lot of weight. The lowest fare, for example, may involve use of an inconvenient airport or route, often giving travelers room to argue with their managers about money versus time and trouble.

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