This article is intended to help the business traveler with both common and innovative ideas for airfare savings. The first and perhaps the most obvious, is to become an elite or platinum member of the airline you frequent most. Perks include being among the first to be rebooked after airport mishaps and delays, being the first to be offered upgrades, and being offered the best conveniences the airline has to offer during such events, from free wine to free snacks.
If your travel is typically through one airline anyway, then loyalty programs are definitely worthwhile, with your points accumulated by frequent travel offsetting the minimal costs of such memberships. To save on airfare, consider booking flights out of your city's surrounding airports, and/or into the surrounding airports of your destination city. Commonly, the surrounding airports are smaller and offer fewer flights each day, but they also often offer less expensive rates in addition to standing less chance of overbooking and other potential delays.
Also, consider booking with the smaller, less known or less popular airlines, such as Southwest, which offer greater savings and fewer fees in order to remain competitive. Due to some airlines' new policies, frequent flyer miles may incur a fee for you if you wait too long to cash them in.
Therefore, make use of the miles you've earned for smaller savings the very next time you travel rather than letting them accumulate over months and years in hopes of cashing in for a bigger pay-off. Otherwise, you may be expecting a free or inexpensive ticket down the line, yet wind up paying as much as $50 just to utilize your miles instead. Another option is to book your flights using a credit card that rewards miles per dollar you utilize, to be applied to any airline rather than limiting you to just one, and that also have no expiration date, allowing you to decide how long you want to wait before making use of the miles you've earned.
There are also many benefits to be had when flying to multiple cities. When traveling to more than one destination before returning home, consider booking your flights as a circle trip for the benefit of super-saver fares, rather than as series of round trip or one-way flights which are likely to increase your final total.
On the other hand, booking the two or more legs of your trip separately can give you more control over decreasing the time between your connecting flights so that you're not wasting too much valuable time dawdling in airports. However, do be mindful that this option means that missing a flight could cost you, since buying the tickets separately clears the airline of any responsibility if you miss one flight due to another's delay. Therefore, some airlines won't allow you to fly standby on another flight to make up for the loss - so be aware of an airline's policies before booking to determine whether it may be a good idea to buy a refundable ticket that you could cash in for a later flight in an emergency.
Consider utilizing the services of a travel agency for exposure to deals and packages you may not otherwise have access to, as well as to relieve some of the stress of planning. Using an agency with 24-hour customer service can also offer you support in case any problems arise throughout the course of your trip. Saving money while traveling for business will not only benefit the travelers pocketbook, but also that of the company overall. It can be a good way to gain corporate recognition and through your resourceful ways.