Business Office - Reimbursement for Airfare

Expense Reimbursement Guidelines for Airfare from the SoHE Business Office.


All airline reservations for either employee or non-employee travel must be made with Travel, Inc. or via the Concur self-booking tool. Any airfare that is purchased outside of Concur or Travel, Inc., will not be paid or reimbursed by the University. Travel by air shall be limited to the lowest, logical, non-refundable, coach/economy class fare available. The additional cost for premium class or seat assignment fees for premium class (first class, business class, or premium economy) travel is not payable/reimbursable unless: 

  • The traveler has been granted an ADA exemption through the Employee Disability Resources Office, or,
  • It is an international flight with 8 hours or more of total flight time, including domestic segments (allowable upgrade to Premium Economy class only).

Cost Comparisons

Cost comparisons must be obtained by contacting an agent at a University contracted travel agency. Travelers must obtain a cost comparison under the following circumstances:

  1. Indirect routing, extra stops, and/or extra days for personal reasons
  2. Departing from/returning to a city other than Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago for personal reasons – while it is allowable, travelers must consider potential extra costs for transportation, lodging, meals, tolls, parking, etc. when choosing to travel to/from Milwaukee or Chicago.
  3. Any other situation where the traveler’s itinerary is modified for personal reasons

Either the traveler’s actual flight or their comparison flight—whichever is less expensive—is payable/reimbursable. The University will not pay/reimburse excess costs related to personal travel. Cost comparisons are not required for non-employees. Acceptable cost comparisons include Concur screenshots or designated agency documentation (such as emailed quotes). Due to airfare pricing and availability fluctuation, accurate cost comparisons must be done at the time of booking to be valid. Airfare payments or reimbursement claims submitted without a valid cost comparison will be paid or reimbursed at a flat rate of 80% of the total cost of the fare, no exceptions. 

For the full policy related to the above, please see the University Travel Policies.

Airfare Checklist (click for printable checklist)

The following documentation and/or information is required for Airfare expenses

    Electronic Invoice from Travel,Inc., including:    Find your Travel, Inc invoice
    • Traveler’s name
    • Ticket number
    • Destination
    • Departure/Return Dates
    • Amount of fare
    • Trip Itinerary
    • Class of travel
    • Proof of payment
    • A UW-Madison business purpose and description of the travel 
    • An event or meeting/conference agenda, itinerary, flyer or other documentation substantiating the business purpose.
    • Cost Comparison if Needed: The cost comparison will show what the cost of the airfare would have been, were the travel just for the business, versus the actual airfare that was purchased that involves the circumstances listed below.  A cost comparison must obtained at the time of booking.

    Circumstances in which a cost comparison is required are:

    • Indirect routing/extra stops/extra days for personal reasons: allowable provided there are no additional costs incurred (including additional costs for lodging, transportation, meals, etc.)
    • Departing from and/or returning to an alternate city (other than Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago): allowable provided the fare is more cost effective for the UW, including parking, mileage, meals, additional overnight stays, etc.
    • Departing earlier/returning later than business requires: It is acceptable to depart a day early and/or return a day late if it results in a substantial savings in airfare to offset the extra costs of the room, meals, etc.

    Example of Flight Itinerary needed for reimbursement

    KeywordsTravel, e-reimbursement, reimburse, airfare, flights, concur, travel, inc, flying, invoice   Doc ID105082
    OwnerAngela O.GroupSchool of Human Ecology
    Created2020-08-19 11:30:53Updated2023-08-31 10:45:47
    SitesSchool of Human Ecology
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