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Purchasing Airfare: Best Practices

Review best practices for booking airfare for UC San Diego business travel.

Use these best practices to find the most compliant, reliable and overall economic fare to save your department money and time when purchasing airfare.

Before you travel

  1. Preauthorize travel to obtain a UC San Diego trip number.
  2. Then follow instructions for purchasing airfare for business travel.

Book travel in advance

When possible book travel in advance using Connexxus to secure the most economical fares. Connexxus, UC’s travel booking program, offers a comprehensive airfare inventory with competitive UC-negotiated prices, built-in traveler insurance and compliance with UC/ UC San Diego travel policies.

  • See Discounted Rates Through Connexxus for a list of specific discounts and average savings.
  • Use the "Book Online" options in Connexxus to save costs on simple trips. (Agent assistance is recommended for complex itineraries.)

Make these cost-saving choices when booking

  • Book coach or economy class unless a special circumstance applies.
    • Note: Fees for early check-in and priority boarding are not considered reimbursable.
  • Book midweek travel.
  • Use alternate airports.
  • Request ticketless travel.
  • Use the same carrier when possible.
  • Book connecting rather than non-stop flights.
  • Consider a broad window of departure and arrival times.

Stick to your plans

  • Don't change original ticket or itinerary to avoid extra costs
    • Airline change fees are typically $75–$200 per ticket, in addition to any increase in the new fare.
    • For non-refundable tickets, most airlines apply a substantial change fee and require changes be made within a certain time limit, or the ticket loses all value.

Beware of package deals

  •  If you’re considering the purchase of a package deal, for reimbursement eligibility the receipt or itinerary must specify cost for each item in order to meet UC/ UC San Diego travel policy and IRS requirements. Online providers are notoriously unwilling to itemized receipts due to relationships with suppliers. If the receipt or itinerary does not show cost for each component, get a receipt from each service provider such as the airline, hotel, and/or rental car agency. Without the separate cost components of a travel package being specified it’s not possible to substantiate the business expense and verify there was no personal benefit to the traveler. 

Note: this page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/buyairfare

Notice: UC San Diego travel policy, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts and processing applications. The source for UC San Diego travel policy is UC Travel Policy and Regulations (PDF).