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Business travelers are doing more on fewer trips, study says

Many of them are staying a few extra nights to handle more work instead of making multiple excursions, according to the Global Business Travel Assn. report.

April 16, 2012|By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
  • A Transportation Security Administration agent demonstrates how to stand in an X-ray machine at Los Angeles International Airport last year. Starting April 24, the PreCheck expedited security screening program will be offered to Delta Air Lines passengers in LAX's Terminal 5.
A Transportation Security Administration agent demonstrates how to stand… (Wally Skalij, Los Angeles…)

Although many signs point to a strengthening U.S. economy, the overwhelming sentiment in the business travel world remains doing more with less.

That attitude came across in a recent study that found many business travelers are staying a few extra nights to handle more business instead of making multiple trips.

Partly as a result, the estimated total number of trips in the U.S. dropped 22.7% from 2000 to 2011, but overall spending on business travel increased 3.3%, according to a study released last week by the Global Business Travel Assn., a trade group in Virginia.

In 2000, the association estimated that Americans spent $243 billion on more than 576 million business trips. Last year, spending on business trips rose to $251 billion, but the number of trips dropped to 445 million, according to the group.

The average amount spent on a business trip in 2000 was $422, compared with $564 in 2011, the trade group said. Nearly two-thirds of that increase was the result of inflation, the association said, and about a third came from higher spending.

"This trend makes sense," said Michael W. McCormick, the association's executive director. "We're seeing road warriors taking fewer trips but making the most of them, making more stops and spending more on the road."

Express security screening on tap for Delta passengers at LAX

A program that lets preapproved air travelers zip through security lines will be expanded this month to some Delta Air Lines passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.

The program, dubbed PreCheck and operated by the Transportation Security Administration, has been available for several months at LAX but only for preapproved passengers who fly American Airlines, one of the airport's largest carriers.

Starting April 24, it will be offered to Delta passengers in Terminal 5 as well, the TSA announced Friday.

Since PreCheck's launch in October, it has been expanded to 12 airports across the country and has screened 750,000 passengers. TSA officials said they don't know how many passengers have used the program at LAX.

PreCheck lets travelers avoid what have become among the most annoying steps of post-9/11TSA screening: removing shoes, belts and coats.

Travelers who have already submitted background information to participate in a frequent flier program with American and Delta may be invited by those airlines to participate in PreCheck. If passengers agree, the airlines would share the background data with the TSA.

Travelers may also provide PreCheck background information online, pay $100 and receive an identification number that is submitted when booking an airline ticket. The application also qualifies passengers for Global Entry, an expedited customs program for entering the country.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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