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"Best fare of the day" policy

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StevePER

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The company I work for has just instituted a "best fare of the day" policy which threatens to have us flying across the country on Virgin Blue. Not that there's anything wrong with Virgin Blue, if you're into that sort of thing.

I'm sure other companies have similar policies. How are these interpreted in practice? Can one take into account hidden costs such as lounge access, cost of meals, frequency of flights, cost of entertainment etc when calculating the "best" fare?

Cheers,
Steve
 

Mal

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My employer recently moved to a best fare of the day policy.

As my travel bookings are nearly completely out of my control (I merely suggest what times and dates I want to travel and the hotel I want), then I have little say in the matter.

In our case it's supposed to be a pure compare between the equivalent classes of Virgin and Qantas. Schedule does come into play where flight times are different.

I've seen cases of Virgin one way and Qantas the return booked and Virgin both ways and also Qantas both ways. I think sometimes people don't understand the policy properly and just book what they really want to book instead.

BTW - You may be quite suprised who is the cheapest when it comes to buying tickets sometimes...
 

StevePER

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My real life example (travelling in two weeks) has Virgin Blue significantly cheaper for all options. The only really convincing argument for QF is the six flights home on Friday evening vs the one with DJ.

Steve
 

acampbel

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Yep - we have BFOD too. But around the time they brought that in they also instructed us to book our own domestic travel to save costs. Sort of like putting thieves in charge of the till, and funnily enough there has been some grumblings about policy abuse of late.

My personal take is that with adequate notice and the willingness to be flexible about early/late flights, you may be able to choose your favourite airline without coming to the notice of the auditing goons. I have had a pocketfull of excuses to defend the "fudge factor" that I put on top, but I have yet to have to trot them out. I don't think most organisations want to be Nazis about this and make staff miserable for the sake of it, but they do have a right not to pay inflated prices.

If you have an existing QC membership I think that is good for about $20-$30 a leg in increased productivity and reduced costs, so maybe you can come to an agreement with your employer about reasonable uplift. A bit of give and take in these situations can often defuse an otherwise emotional (and irrational) argument.


Cheers,

Andrew


.
 

jakeseven7

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Don't despair! I recently just posted this in another similar thread, our workplace went from QF to BFOD for 18 months and recently resigned with QF :p

During BFOD we went through 2 stages, having Travel book our flights, then that was axed and we were to book our own. I recently found out through a friend in procurement that while we were on BFOD, domestic travel was split 80% QF, 18% DJ and 2% Other.

As people have pointed out it is actually not that hard to avoid flying Virgin, even if someone else was doing the booking. Just stipulate strict departure / arrival times with good excuses like 'have to leave at XX to meet with XX but can't go any earlier because I have to pick up XX from XX' and just make sure DJ don't service that timeslot - compared to QF they still have holes in their schedules even between main cities. You will find gaps easy - trust me, plus QF are actually very competitive anyway.

And just think - it could be worse your company could have signed with 100% with DJ! (Don't know of any companies that do this but sure there must be)
 
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Gazza

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It depends on how serious you are about this.

When a previous employer made the decision to go to BFOD a group of the senior guys (including me) got together and worked out a plan where by we would drive up total travel expenditure. We did this by making sure work met the full cost of traveling on Virgin. We would do things like charge meals at airports and visits to the lounge to our expense accounts this resulted in work saving A$20 on the airfare but paying out an extra A$40-45 in airport costs. We would also stay an extra night (because “there are no virgin flights after our meeting”).

After 3 months the CEO saw an increase in travel expenditure and instructed the accountant to put things back the way they were.

It is surprising what you can do when you all get together and stick to the plan

I have since made organizing my own travel (through my travel agent) a condition of my contract.

Gazza
 

Kiwi Flyer

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StevePER said:
The company I work for has just instituted a "best fare of the day" policy which threatens to have us flying across the country on Virgin Blue. Not that there's anything wrong with Virgin Blue, if you're into that sort of thing.

I'm sure other companies have similar policies. How are these interpreted in practice? Can one take into account hidden costs such as lounge access, cost of meals, frequency of flights, cost of entertainment etc when calculating the "best" fare?

Cheers,
Steve
Depends on how strict the policy is and what expenses would be reasonable. There is a lot of variation. Seeing some of the replies here implies many have more flexibility than I do.

For me:

Lounge access - no unless you can show a need for a meeting en route.
Meals - no except exceptional circumstances (eg early bird flight where you have to leave for airport so early that it is not reasonable to eat breakfast at home first).
Frequency of flights - yes but must be specific to the circumstances. They don't want us waiting around hours to the next flight, but if it is reasonable to schedule the meeting at a different time to suit flights then that is expected. Thus frequency is mostly only relevant after meeting finishes.
Entertainment - no.
 

Crownie

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Hello fellow posties,

I too work for a company where the beancounters went with the BFOTD policy. Funnily enough, none of my travel requirements fitted with the DJ schedule (weird eh?).

It all depends on how dedicated you are on flying with Qantas. I usually book a K ticket each way at whatever time coincides with a lack of Virgin flights a week out, then move my flight to when I actually want to travel. So far (12 months) no problems...............

Another thing - it seems that as long as the original flight is the cheapest then it doesn't matter how many changes at $35 a pop you make. This is the silliest part of the whole deal.

Needless to say, this type of idiocracy will contine until we all go on strike!

crownie
 

StevePER

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Update on our BFOD policy... it has turned into a Virgin Blue policy! DJ are now officially our "preferred supplier" and exceptions to the policy need to go through upper management. Only DJ's poor schedule can save us now... coincidentally I am now unable to travel on Sunday afternoons and will need to fly on Monday mornings instead. ;)

Ironically, it seems some of the money saved on travel has gone towards pointless advertising in the Perth Qantas domestic terminal. Look out for it as you come down the escalator if you're lucky enough not to work for us.

Steve
 

oz_mark

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StevePER said:
Update on our BFOD policy... it has turned into a Virgin Blue policy! DJ are now officially our "preferred supplier" and exceptions to the policy need to go through upper management. Only DJ's poor schedule can save us now... coincidentally I am now unable to travel on Sunday afternoons and will need to fly on Monday mornings instead. ;)
It is funny how I suddenly have family functions on Sundays when DJ has turned up on my itinerary :)
 

AlwaysUpThere

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In my experience, BFOD is generally used by travel managers or in companies where the person in charge of travel really doesn't:
- understand the airline industry;
- do much travel themselves;
- because they don't travel, begrudge staff earning FFPs.

Travel management companies (TMCs) in Australia don't have a lot of choice if their clients (our collective employers) don't generate enough travel to be able to get a contract with airlines of choice...and implement BFOD thinking they're doing the right thing.

This in turn is a result of the old domestic duopoly status - not enough competition means that QF are selective in which companies get "deals".

Sometimes they implement BFOD to force QF's hand and give them a "deal".

In the US, they often apply a "Quality Service Indicator" (QSI) to flights requested by clients (some when negotiating contracts, others on a flight by flight basis).

The QSI is a rather complex equation that takes into account variables like:

- Airline On Time Performance (OTP)
- The specific flight number OTP record
- Aircraft type (lots of variables, none the least of which is safety record. However number of seats sold in each sub class and historical loads are a significant factor.)
- General availability history (30, 15, 10, 5, 2, 1 & 0 days out). Again, this looks at specific sub classes.
- The number of flights scheduled on the same city pairs within X hours.
- Routing (performance of and hub, season, weather, non-stop options)
- Price.

So all this is used to select the best possible flight option - not just saving $29.95...

Another factor the TMCs use is the old "cost savings report". A little sheet of paper that the account manager will drop on the desk with what can only be hypothetical guestimates at best... This is what they'll use to justify their existance to your CFO.
 

jakeseven7

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StevePER said:
Update on our BFOD policy... it has turned into a Virgin Blue policy! DJ are now officially our "preferred supplier" and exceptions to the policy need to go through upper management. Only DJ's poor schedule can save us now... coincidentally I am now unable to travel on Sunday afternoons and will need to fly on Monday mornings instead. ;)

Ironically, it seems some of the money saved on travel has gone towards pointless advertising in the Perth Qantas domestic terminal. Look out for it as you come down the escalator if you're lucky enough not to work for us.

Steve
Hmm, thats a bit of bad news for you. Just make it as difficult as possible, charge all the extras etc like food, lounge access etc, get others to do the same and see how you go.
 

Dave Noble

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jakeseven7 said:
Hmm, thats a bit of bad news for you. Just make it as difficult as possible, charge all the extras etc like food, lounge access etc, get others to do the same and see how you go.
I doubt that the company would be prepated for the lounge access since that isn't a necessity for travel

Dave
 

StevePER

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Actually they are perfectly willing to pay for "The Lounge" membership even though we don't have one in Perth.
 

jakeseven7

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Dave Noble said:
I doubt that the company would be prepated for the lounge access since that isn't a necessity for travel

Dave
You'd be suprised, even our tight ass, loss-making subsidary company that only uses LCC's - Jetstar and DJ - will cough up for lounge & transit meals.

Anyway Steve said his company does as well - my advice charge as much as you can & see how the price comparisons stack up then. Unless you are getting a rebate with DJ then QF will prob end up cheaper, and if you and a couple of people can illustrate this..... you never know!
 

StevePER

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jakeseven7 said:
Anyway Steve said his company does as well - my advice charge as much as you can & see how the price comparisons stack up then. Unless you are getting a rebate with DJ then QF will prob end up cheaper, and if you and a couple of people can illustrate this..... you never know!
Yep, just have to see how it goes. We have negotiated a discount with DJ, so they're making it as difficult as possible. Hopefully some of the more senior guys in the company are subjected to the new policy and they kick up a stink about it.
 

acampbel

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StevePER said:
Yep, just have to see how it goes. We have negotiated a discount with DJ, so they're making it as difficult as possible. Hopefully some of the more senior guys in the company are subjected to the new policy and they kick up a stink about it.
Have I missed something here? Will the world actually disintegrate if you fly Virgin??

Now before you accuse me of being a hypocrite, I will readily admit to preferring Qantas due to points, status, and QC membership. But I can only show a benefit to my employer from the latter (which Virgin have conveniently valued for me at $30) so that is the limit to my QF fudge-factor. My last and next trips are a case in point. QF Red-e-deal on the way up to Brisbane and DJ Flexi-saver on the return to Sydney ($60 cheaper), but this Friday will be QF both ways to Canberra as the Virgin fare was only marginally cheaper on the return leg.

I've joined Velocity so I accrue ponts with either carrier, and as a QC member the Silver status I tend to scrape through each year is of limited benefit. Plus the final factor for me is that we ALL need Virgin to be competitive so that we ALL gain the benefit in keener fares and better service. To expect everyone else to support them whilst you defraud your employer seems a bit selfish, no?


Cheers,


Andrew
 

StevePER

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acampbel said:
I've joined Velocity so I accrue ponts with either carrier, and as a QC member the Silver status I tend to scrape through each year is of limited benefit. Plus the final factor for me is that we ALL need Virgin to be competitive so that we ALL gain the benefit in keener fares and better service. To expect everyone else to support them whilst you defraud your employer seems a bit selfish, no?
Well allow me to retort. ;) This best fare of the day policy is all well and good for those doing little one hour jaunts up and down the east coast, but for those flying something like PER-SYD I don't think it's selfish to expect our employers to look after us. We're typically flying in our own time with the expectation that we'll do a full day's work once we arrive. I hardly think expecting a pleasant journey when travelling in one's own time amounts to defrauding one's employer.

Steve
 

oz_mark

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StevePER said:
Ironically, it seems some of the money saved on travel has gone towards pointless advertising in the Perth Qantas domestic terminal. Look out for it as you come down the escalator if you're lucky enough not to work for us.
You mean you sound like Alice? :)

When was the name changed? And what on earth does it mean?
 

Dave Noble

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StevePER said:
Well allow me to retort. ;) This best fare of the day policy is all well and good for those doing little one hour jaunts up and down the east coast, but for those flying something like PER-SYD I don't think it's selfish to expect our employers to look after us. We're typically flying in our own time with the expectation that we'll do a full day's work once we arrive. I hardly think expecting a pleasant journey when travelling in one's own time amounts to defrauding one's employer.

Steve
To be honest I agree with acampbell. Given that DJs seating has as good as , or better, than Qantas's ( given the information recently provided by crazydave ) , that I don't see how you would be more comfortable on the flight. Also, if you can get them to pay the extra to pre-book exits, then you are prettyt much guaranteed a decent seat.

If they were asking you to fly on Jetstar, I would agree with you; If I had a company asking me to do that, then they would have to find someone else to do the travelling. SCs and miles might be nice for you, but not exactly a benefit for the company

Dave
 
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