Category Archives: Uncategorized

Federal Employees Can Now Expense Sharing Economy Purchases

Earlier this month, President Trump signed a law expanding the acceptance of sharing economy purchases. Called the Modernizing Government Travel Act, it allows federal employees to use sharing economy transportation while traveling on business. These are services like Uber, Lyft and other transportation network operators.

About the Modernizing Government Travel Act

Originally proposed by Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, it passed the House in January. This month it passed the Senate.

Currently, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees civilian travel programs, has already given the go-ahead to reimburse travel network companies.
According to the April Senate report, this new act “codifies and reinforces the GSA’s existing policy to give certainty to agency officials regarding what types of travel can be reimbursed.”

The GSA in known for reimbursing federal employees for the more traditional forms of transportation costs. Things like train, bus or taxi cab. This act simply updates to include the additional transportation types.

Addressing uncertainty in travel policies

Because of the gradual use of  services like Uber or Lyft, business travel compliance has had quite a few gray areas. Both travel managers and travelers have at one time or another been unsure if these transportation services would be covered by their company travel policy. Essentially, this law eliminates that uncertainty of compliance when using sharing economy transportation, at least for federal employees.
Their decision seems to be in line with that of the private sector as well. A Global Business Travel Association survey recently found that reimbursement for sharing economy expenses has increased nearly 15% since June 2016. It is increasingly looking like the sharing economy is here to stay.

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These Airplane Seats Could Change Travel

As a frequent business traveler, a recent report on the Today Show by Jeff Rosen caught my eye. They were discussing a product by a company called Slide-Slip Seat. These airplane seats will ultimately revolutionize the airplane travel experience.

The seats

What can be so revolutionary about airplane seats you may be asking? I was thinking the same thing while watching the segment. But I must admit, Slide-Slip Seats address and overcome a lot of the ingrained traveler annoyances.

The seat’s main objective is to create more aisle room during the on-boarding process. To accomplish this the aisle seat is adjustable, sliding over the middle seat at the touch of a button. This changes the narrow airplane aisle to an open working space, allowing people to pass and move freely. Once all the passengers are on board, the aisle seat will slide back out, locking into position.

Side-Slip Seat changes air travelAs if that’s not enough, this company addresses another major sore spot for travelers. They enlarged the width of the middle seat and set it slightly back from the window and aisle seats. The additional three inch width relieves the cramped passenger. And by setting the seat slightly back alleviates the elbow space debacle. Not only are they revolutionizing the on boarding and off boarding protocols, but even changing the desired seat on planes.

Industry advantages of the Slide-Slip Seats

The company claims that these subtle changes in airplane seats will not only positively effect the travelers, but also the airlines pockets.

The on boarding process would need to change. Window seat passengers would board first, followed by the middle seat passengers. And finally the aisle seat would be pulled back into place to allow the rest of the passengers to board. The expanded aisles would allow travelers to move to their seats, while other access to the overhead compartments at the same time.

They claim the Slide-Slip Seats will speed up boarding times by 25%. This change would also reduce the amount of time on the ground as well as the fuel costs for idling. Overall, airlines can save up to $700,000 per day by switching to these seats. This would hopefully also bring down the cost of tickets for the passenger as well.

The biggest advantage to the passenger is:
* Less time at the gate and boarding
* Wider Seats Middle 21′ Aisle & Window 18′
* Wider Aisles
* Lower fares

This new seating technology available on limited flights in late 2017 would make the Middle Seat the best seat on the plane.

4 Parking Tips For The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

parking hartsfield-jackson airportAs a frequent business traveler living near Atlanta, Georgia, I typically fly out of the  Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Traveling is always difficult, but the worst part of flying out of Atlanta is the parking. Many times the only option is economy parking at the very back of the lot, resulting in a walk that seems like a mile to the terminal. I even find myself leaving an hour earlier, just to factor in time to drive around the parking decks looking for a parking spot.

The airport is constantly remodeling and planning for future growth. Construction on new parking decks are in the works, starting in fall of 2017. New parking decks will be built from four levels to eight levels. Though the end result will be a significant improvement, this too will cause major congestion until it’s finished. To help out fellow business travelers, I’ve compiled my favorite tips to easily park at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Parking tips for the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport

  • Whenever I park in daily parking, I immediately enter and go to the top floor of the deck. Most of the time your chances of finding a space are much greater as people tend to try and stay on the lower covered floors.
  • I mostly fly Delta, as the majority of people flying out of the ATL do. When getting to the airport, follow the signs to the blue terminal parking. My chances of finding spaces in that terminal are much greater than in the Delta parking decks. Once you enter the airport it’s only a short walk over to the red terminal.
  • Consider offsite parking. It does take a little longer to wait for the shuttle to pick you up, but will eliminate some of the stress. Many of the offsite parking areas allow for call ahead and prepaid spaces that are guaranteed. You pull in, park and get right on the shuttle.

Know any other tips for parking at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport? Leave them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning travel management company. Our proprietary technology solves travel headaches, so your company can get back to the more important things. Contact us to schedule a demo today.

Choice Humanitarian: Brandon’s Story

humanitarian trip christophersonEvery year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors an volunteer trip for a selected group of employees. An NGO working in seven countries, Choice Humanitarian is driven to end extreme poverty. The employees volunteering this year ventured to a small village in Guatemala. There, they helped build in-home stoves and paint community buildings. As a corporate sponsor and long-time supporter, these annual trips are just one of the many avenues in which Christopherson cooperates with Choice Humanitarian.

Brandon’s volunteer experience

Going on the CHOICE Humanitarian expedition to Guatemala was an experience that ingrained itself in my life from the moment I got off the plane. We landed, made it through customs.  While waiting for our bus, we were greeted by a panhandler asking for $2 (although it was never clear if he was hoping for $2 or just 2 quetzales, the currency in Guatemala). The ability to convert currency on the fly became an immediate trait that one had to adapt to quickly. Then a young man and his elementary school aged brother helped load our luggage, and asked for 3 quetzales—roughly $0.40. It was then that it really became apparent to me that we were in a third world country.
Aside from the poverty, run down city, and areas that you would never dare venture into at night, Guatemala had some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen. Of course, having the chance to travel with and help CHOICE made the trip most appealing.

Meeting the villagers and getting to experience their customs and way of life has forever changed my views on extreme poverty. It also helped me to conclude that, if you are thinking about, or have ever wondered if you should participate in one of these expeditions, the answer should be a big YES. The people I met and the friendships I developed are ones I will cherish for a lifetime.
See more of Brandon’s team’s photos here and pictures from previous expeditions.

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How To Help Ban Phone Calls On Planes

Have you ever noticed how sounds seem amplified when you are on an airplane?   Everything is louder than normal due to the confined space – like babies crying or stranger’s conversations. This is one of the reasons why I am a passionate supporter for not allowing phone calls on planes.  If you thought the middle seat was bad before, just imagine being seated between two different phone calls!

In a recent blog post by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), they cover additional insights, like the potential security risks and impact on personal productivity.  Interestingly, 64% of business travelers oppose allowing phone calls on commercial airplanes. Even if specifically designated rows are assigned, still 51% of business travelers disagree.

What to write to the Department of Transportation, to help ban phone calls on planes

As an active member of GBTA, I support their efforts to ban the use of cell phone on planes. I also encourage anyone who feels strongly should go to the DOT website and share their comments on that page. The docket will close February 13, at 11:59pm ET.

Feel free to copy and paste the text below, which was provided by GBTA, or write your own.  Then enter your name, select “Public Comment(s)” from the drop down menu under “Category” and click continue.

Sample Comment:
I believe the use of mobile wireless devices for voice calls is detrimental to the traveler and should be banned between the time the aircraft door is closed and the aircraft’s landing. In February of 2014, when the DOT previously issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft, 97 percent of the commenters expressed opposition.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41712, DOT should find the use of mobile devices for voice during flight to be so disruptive that it would be inconsistent with adequate air transportation. Travel is difficult enough and the DOT should not add to traveler’s misery.  When it comes to flying on commercial airplanes in the United States, silence is golden.

#NoCallsOnPlanes

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Christopherson Honored As A Utah Business Fast 50 Company

Utah Business magazine hosted its annual Fast 50 event on Thursday, August 24, to recognize the 50 fastest-growing businesses in the state of Utah.  Christopherson Business Travel was honored at the event, and the only company to date to achieve the Fast 50 recognition for 8 consecutive years. Companies were selected based on five years of compound revenue growth and total revenue, submitted to an independent accountant for analysis.

Christopherson-Business-Travel-Utah-Top-50Christopherson is an innovative organization focused on long-term growth objectives in a rapidly changing industry.  We were awarded for our entrepreneurial spirit and innovative tactics. It is a notable accomplishment to have maintained sky-rocketing revenue growth for such a substantial period. Our CEO, Mike Cameron accepted the award, “When my wife and I first bought the company 26 years ago, we were doing under a million dollars a year and we set some very ambitious goals at the time. . . we wanted to become one of the top ten travel agencies in Utah. Turns out we met all those goals, actually exceeded them, and today we are doing 600 million dollars a year and we are the largest travel agency in Utah”.

Recognition as one of the Utah Business Fast 50 is shared with many of our Utah-based clients including Nu Skin Enterprises, Jane.com, Pluralsight, Extra Space Storage and Crest Financial Services. We applaud everyone for their success and wish them luck for an outstanding year ahead.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management agency with more than 60 years of experience. We are passionate about providing efficient travel solutions for busy professionals, so they can focus on what’s important to them. Contact us to learn more about our travel technology and consultative services.

Delta One Suite

I am constantly amazed by how Delta Air Lines continues to wow travelers. Even after widespread power outages causing cancelled and delayed flights last week, Delta announced their new international business class service, Delta One suite.

Delta One Suite business travelersInternational Business Class

Delta claims they are the first carrier to offer an all-suite business cabin. This sophisticated business class will consist of ultra wide seats, increased storage, an 18-inch entertainment system and much more. I am most amazed by the increased privacy with individual sliding doors. Not only can you fly comfortably in a fully-reclining seat, but your full-height sliding door will make you feel like you’re falling asleep in the privacy of your own home.

When To Expect Updates

Delta has said the pricing for the new suites will not change from the current Delta One pricing. These suites are expected to be available in Fall 2017, starting with the Airbus A350 fleet. They will then add suites to their Boeing 777 fleet. Already established features of luxury will continue, such as chef-curated meals, wine pairings, Westin Heavenly in-flight bedding, amenity kits, and in-flight lounge wear.

Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President said. “Delta continually listens to customers and responds with products that deliver what they want. . . Added comfort and privacy are important to business travelers, and that drove the design of the all-new Delta One suite.” This philosophy is one reason why they are one of my favorite airlines to fly with. (Their cookies might be another reason.) They have a knack for defining traveler pain points and then delivering the best solution available. For example, their new checked baggage system replaces the traditional baggage sorting system with RFID scanner technology. Soon you will be able to determine the exact location of your luggage through their Delta App! Free in-flight entertainment is another feature they have customized over their competitors.

Overall, Delta’s new Delta One suite follows suit with their brand, providing luxury and comfort from the moment you walk on board. Whether you are a business traveler or traveling for leisure, don’t miss out on an opportunity to try out Delta’s latest comforts.

 

Christopherson Sponsors Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association Luncheon

This past week, Christopherson Business Travel sponsored a luncheon hosted the Rocky Mountain Business Travel Association. An affiliate of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA),  they are committed to connecting business travel professionals and enhancing education and partnerships in the West. It was hosted in the conference room of the beautiful new Hyatt Regency Aurora Hotel.

Rocky Mountain Business Association Luncheon

The hotel itself was updated and modern, with many elegant touches.  Before entering conference room, the we socialized with 80 other travel industry professionals. The conference room was set up beautifully and ready with our deconstructed cobb salad, bread, drinks, and chocolates.

Christopherson Business Travel Sponsors luncheon

Following member news and update was the presentation by Tim Hines, an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and consultant. His highly entertaining presentation defined the millennial generation and how they are affecting business travel.

Tim Hines presents at Christopherson sponsored luncheon

Here are a few defining characteristics about millennials:

  • Members of the millennial generation were born between 1980 – 2000. They are the largest generation we have ever had, even out numbering baby boomers!
  • Growing up amid new technology such as computers, internet, and mp3s, they can easily adjust to change and are quick learners.
  • Most were affected by ‘the great recession’, often resulting in them being thrifty but also willing to spend additional money for something of value.
  • They desire a greater work/life balance than past generations. Technology has made work achievable from any time or place, and they typically enjoy this flexibility.
  • Experiences are more important to them than past generations. For example, 71% of millennials would live in another country if the opportunity presented itself.

Tim Hines offered valuable and insightful information on the generation as a whole and their impact on the business travel industry. Keep your eye out for a blog post further detailing this trend, including how travel managers can engage with millennials to improve compliance.

Packing For Conferences – What Should You Bring?

With the GBTA conference rapidly approaching, we realized that packing for conferences and conventions have their own nuances. Sure, you have packing for a quick business trip down to a science. And your family beach trip packing down too. Perhaps this is your first time attending a conference. Or maybe it’s just been awhile since your last conference.

Whatever your situation is – don’t fret – we have you covered. Our checklist below was created with you in mind. Click on the image to link to the full checklist.

conference packing checklist

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Our advanced travel technology and superior customer service sets us apart, but we continually strive to streamline solutions for our clients.

Read next- Travel Packing List for Dummies

What Is The Right Size For Carry-on Luggage?

Just the other day I was looking for a new piece of luggage.  I frequently travel for business, and I’ve found carrying on luggage is the most convenient for short trips.  I’m also upgrading to a piece of luggage with four wheels.  As I began my search, I realized how tough this new quest is, considering the varying size specifications between airlines.  Not only are these size requirements often changing in general, but they vary by airline too.

With these varying size requirements, I think it is best to stick with the Delta Air Line, United Airline, and American Airline’s size requirements (22 X 14 X 9 inches).  The size is smaller than permitted by other airlines, but it seems to be the average size used. Some airlines do allow slightly larger luggage, like Southwest or Air Canada.  If you decide on a piece of luggage, you then need to consider if a future flight will be with an airline like United or Delta. If so, you will be required to check your new ‘carry-on’ bag with these airlines.

Our new cheat sheet about carry-on luggage facts provides additional information. Keep it handy for carry-on dimensions based on the airline you are flying.

LuggageInfographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company. With more than 60 years of experience, we provide our clients superior mobile travel technology and individualized customer support. Contact us to learn why we are different.

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