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Policy on Air Travel

Find out about policy related to air travel and the special circumstances that may make a UC San Diego business traveler eligible for reimbursement for fares booked outside of policy.

Background:Concur is the official booking source for all UC San Diego employee and guest business travel.  Airfare not booked in Concur is subject to additional audit scrutiny and may cause delays in reimbursement.   

Employees should use coach or economy class for UC San Diego business travel, regardless of the purpose of the travel or the fund source. Fees for early check in, priority boarding, or seat selection are reimbursable only when the original ticket is booked in Concur Travel and there is no change to the class of travel. A business purpose for the purchase is required.  Note: Basic Economy fares are highly restrictive and are not recommended for business travel.   

Rail Travel: Business class tickets are standard for rail travel. A business class rail ticket involves a reserved seat and the ability to conduct work while in transit. Business class rail tickets are allowable without special exception.  

Expenses incurred for purchasing air tickets not considered coach or economy class are only reimbursable when:

  • A higher cost service is the only service offered between two points
  • Coach or economy class is more expensive than first-class, business or other typically higher cost service for the desired route due to scheduling difficulties requiring extra hotel and subsistence expense
  • Coach or economy class is more time-consuming than first-class, business or other typically higher cost service for the desired route due to circuitous routing or long layovers when making connections
  • The itinerary involves overnight travel without an opportunity for normal rest before the commencement of working hours
  • A medical need or disability requires accommodation. The need/disability must be certified by a physician and chronic conditions updated annually, except in the case of permanent conditions which require a certification stating such

Consider the fund source. Some fund sources may restrict first class, business, or other higher cost service of travel. In cases where the fund source policy is more restrictive than UC / UC San Diego policy, the more restrictive policy applies.

Reimbursement for business, economy plus, or first-class travel: When requesting reimbursement for business, economy plus or first-class travel, include a description of the appropriate circumstance in the comments of the Airfare Expense in Concur. Note: Appropriate justification must reflect a demonstrated need rather than any reason associated with personal convenience.

Other circumstances: If the reason for the upgraded class is not listed above, you must request written advance approval from the Director of UC San Diego Travel by creating a case via the UC San Diego Services and Support portal (login required). If you receive authorization indicate this in the comments of the Airfare Expense in Concur.

Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal.
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).