Campus News

March 22, 2010

Most-asked questions for air travel policy change

On April 1, Emory University will change its policy for booking air travel. As previously announced in Emory Report, effective on that date, Emory travelers will be required to book their air travel through one of Emory’s on-line or agent assisted air travel providers in order for Emory to reimburse or pay for their airfare.

Air travel at Emory occurs within the following context: In FY09, Emory spent over $10 million on airfare; approximately 80 percent of Emory airline travel is on domestic trips; approximately 70 percent of all Emory airline travel is booked on Delta flights; and on average, approximately 65 percent of Emory travelers (over the past five years) already use Emory’s air travel providers.  By using Emory’s air travel providers, Emory saved $126,000 in FY09 on Delta flights alone due to the discounts negotiated with our agencies.

Based on this policy change announcement, several questions have been raised regarding specific air travel scenarios. Jennifer Hulsey, director of communications and marketing for Emory Marketplace, provides answers to some of the Emory community’s most frequently asked questions.

For a complete list, visit Emory Travel.

Q: When I travel internationally, sometimes I need to purchase in-country flights while overseas. These are generally less expensive when purchased in-country rather than through our U.S.-based travel providers. Will these purchases be reimbursable/payable?

A: Yes, in-country flight purchases on their local airlines will be reimbursable even if purchased outside of Emory’s air travel providers. The same exception would apply for purchases on local airlines when traveling within the same non-U.S. continent. However, it is expected that the initial flights to/from the U.S are to be purchased via Emory’s air travel providers for reimbursement or payment. Itineraries for in-country flight purchases on local airlines will not automatically be uploaded into International SOS (ISOS), an emergency travel service purchased by the University, so those travelers will need to manually upload this information.

Q: Does the new policy require that visitors to Emory (incoming guests) also have their travel arranged via Emory’s three air travel providers?

A: No, we will not require guests travelling to Emory to utilize the air travel providers, however, it is encouraged.

Q: Can I book an upgradeable airfare?

A: An upgradeable fare for domestic travel is not allowed. It is expected that a traveler purchase the least expensive coach class fare available at that time for their desired flights.  However, for international flights of six hours or more, if the upgradeable fare is less expensive than the allowable Business Class fare, then an upgradeable fare is allowed.

Q: Can I book First Class or Business Class airfare?

A: First Class air travel is not permitted. Business Class is allowed for international flights at least six hours in duration. Please note that Sponsored Program travel does not permit expensing First Class or Business Class travel.

Q: Can travelers with elite frequent flyer status find cheaper tickets directly with the airline than those booked through Emory’s air travel providers?

A: The same prices found on airline sites are also found through Emory’s air travel providers, even for elite frequent flyers. Additionally, Emory negotiates discounts with airlines such as Delta, so it is usually advantageous to book through Emory’s air travel providers to obtain the Emory discount.

Q: What if I find a cheaper airfare on another online tool?

A: Prices found directly on an airline’s site, or sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, etc., are also available through Emory’s air travel providers. Plus, by booking through Emory’s providers, Emory-negotiated Delta discounts may be available for travelers on Delta.

Seemingly less-expensive tickets may be found on,,, etc., or by companies selling international tickets as ‘consolidators.’ The prices quoted for these airfares usually do not fully reflect additional “processing” fees charged by the Internet site.

These types of airline tickets operate on last-minute deals. If there are travel changes, not only will travelers incur the traditional change fees from the airlines themselves but these sites charge additional change fees. Sometimes these tickets do not allow any changes at all. For pre-planned business trips, this type of shopping does not meet Emory’s business needs nor does it automatically ensure access to ISOS and the emergency services provided by ISOS for travelers in crisis.

File Options

  • Print Icon Print