Luggage on cart, Marion Tran Van Huu

Extra fees and the business traveler: who pays?

My recent purchase of baggage allowance for a no-frills budget flight has me wondering about business travel and who pays for what where extra fees are concerned.  My job will pay for air fare and necessary accommodations for work trips.  BUT – they won’t pay extra fees for things like first-class seats (I wish!), in-flight entertainment, and so on.

With WOW air, you can’t get a seat assignment in advance without paying for seat choice.  I do NOT want to be in the middle of a three- or even four-person row on an overnight flight overseas if I can help it.  If this were Delta I could have chosen a seat when booking – no extra fee unless I wanted a business or first-class seat.  If it were Southwest I could have gotten some seat choice priority at least by booking early.  WOW makes you pay a fee even if you want one of the meh seats in coach.  Want to have any choice at all?  Fee.

Will my work reimburse that choice, excluding the upcharge for more leg room for segments where there were literally NO options that didn’t have an upcharge?  Likely no.  I’m not sure about their ‘optional baggage’ fees reimbursement either; theoretically I don’t ‘have’ to bring a suitcase, or even more than ten pounds’ worth of carryon.

Seat choice, carryon weight, checked bags.  When such things are included in the air fare, work will pay for them for business travel.  When they aren’t, who pays for the fees?  I’m betting it’s all over the map and depends on the workplace.  I’d love to hear that there are standard guidelines somewhere I could link to in an email to our HR.  Anybody?  How does your workplace manage these fees?  Precedence/guidelines anywhere?  I mean, I could offset the cost of the fees by allowing advertisers to lease space on my bags – weirdly brilliant, but I’d rather not. (Though if I got the stormtrooper skin or the minion skin, I might be willing – super cute.) Most of the other tips I’ve seen are along the lines of choose your flight carefully and read the policy, and consider shipping the bags or taking the train. Way less useful when you are fighting to keep a trip under budget so it can happen at all.

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