Travel is a huge part of the responsibility of many of us working in the non-profit world. How else would program implementation, site visits, monitoring, putting out the non-compliance fires happen?

Most organizations have adopted the US government standard of basic least expensive unrestricted airfare. Most organizations consider “basic” as economy class. Should travelers have to consider no frills airlines, or airlines with questionable safety records, or circuitous routings to get airfares that qualify?

Travelers must follow the standards set by their organizations to determine the class and cost of travel. Organizations generally set standards that allows the traveler to take into consideration safety and other factors that are reasonable. If a traveler prefers not to fly on no frills or low cost carriers, and the organization’s standard operating procedures allows the traveler to select a “legacy” type carrier this would be allowable.

Least expensive, unrestricted airfare is allowable. The least expensive airfare might be restricted airfares. If unrestricted airfares is the standard the organization has adopted then that should be the airfare choice consistently applied but the higher unrestricted airfare is allowable.

Standard economy class is usually the norm. Some airlines offer “economy plus”, “coach elite”, “preferred coach”, or similar. It is not considered a higher class of travel as these “preferred” seats are still considered economy. However, booking of these seats, at additional cost, is usually a personal choice and therefore the extra cost is a personal expense. If the organization permits travelers to choose these seats as part of its standard travel operating procedures, and the procedure is consistently applied, the cost would be allowable.

When are you allowed an exception from the least expensive unrestricted seats, i.e. to move up front? When it would Require circuitous routing; require travel during unreasonable hours; excessively prolong travel; result in additional costs that would offset the transportation savings; or If you have a certified (as in a doctor’s letter) medical disability or special condition that requires something better than the cramped seats at the back. If none of these apply, sorry, closest you will get to the front is the front of economy. Happy traveling!