Flight Policy – Best Practices
Flight prices can vary a lot due to various factors such as distance from home location, type of airline, day of the week, etc. It might become daunting if you try to optimize for all the factors which may not be under your control.
We recommend the best practices below that will help you achieve cost controls without compromising your traveler’s experience.
Domestic vs International flight policy
For Routespring’s policy configurations, a flight is considered a domestic flight if the pair of airports are:
- Within the same country, or
- Within USA & Canada region, or
- Within European countries
All other flights are considered international flights.
Both domestic and international flights have similar policy configurations (as below), but you can choose to apply different rules as per your needs.
Maximum class allowance
The typical cabin classes on a flight are Economy, Premium Economy, and Business/ First class, in increasing order of their cost & associated perks. In most cases, just the price limits (explained below) should work fine and you won’t need to configure the maximum class allowance. However, the following could be some of the use cases for you to consider enabling this policy configuration:
- Sponsoring flights for a group event/ conference (Maximum class allowance = Economy)
- Sponsoring flights for external consultants, technicians, field salespeople, etc. (Maximum class allowance = Economy), and so on.
Condition on maximum class allowance
You can choose to add a condition of flight duration to the maximum class allowance. For example, allow booking Business class fare only if the flight duration is more than 7 hours. If you enable this condition, the maximum class will be flagged within the policy only if it meets the condition. Else, it will be flagged outside the policy.
Within the economy cabin class, many airlines (both domestic & international) have created a cheaper than regular fare class, but with many restrictions which travelers may not prefer. These restrictions could be one or more of the following:
- No seat choice
- No carry-on baggage
- Non-refundable fares with no changes & cancellations allowed
- No loyalty benefits or rewards
Different airlines name such restrictive fares differently. For example JetBlue = Blue Basic, Alaska Airlines = Saver. Due to a lack of consistency across all airlines, we recommend you disable the basic economy fares so that your employees don’t accidentally book a restrictive fare class and suffer a bad experience later.
Absolute price limit (one-way airfare)
As the name suggests, this is the absolute price limit above which flight options will be flagged out-of-policy. You can consider looking at your historic data to set the absolute price limit. If you’re not sure, we recommend that you keep this disabled and consider the relative price limit (explained below).
Relative price limit
In Routespring, relative flight price limits are calculated from the “lowest logical fare”, which is the cheapest airfare of the flight with the least number of stops. For example, if there is the cheapest 1-stop flight at $200 and a cheapest nonstop flight at $300 between a given pair or airports, the airfare of the cheapest nonstop flight ($300) will be considered the “lowest logical fare” and relative price limit will be calculated from this price.
You can set the percentage or dollar amount relative to price limits. In the above example, with a 50% relative limit, the maximum price limit will be $450 (50% above $300 lowest logical fare). Whereas, in the same example, if you configure a $100 relative limit, the maximum price limit will be $400 ($100 above $300 lowest logical fare).
If you are unsure what relative limit to set, we recommend you start with a 50% relative limit. You can change it anytime as you gain more insights & data on your flight booking patterns.
Absolute & Relative price limit
If you apply both absolute and relative price limits, then the lowest of the two will act as the price limit. For example, if your absolute price limit is $500 and a relative limit is 50%, then with $300 lowest logical fare the price limit will be set to $450 i.e. anything above $450 will be flagged out-of-policy. With the same policy, if the lowest logical fare is $400 (i.e. relative limit = $600), the absolute limit of $500 will apply as the price limit.