311 Air Travel Policy

UW-Madison Administrative Policy
Policy # 311
Air Travel Policy

Effective Date: October 10, 2015
Last Updated: July 1, 2019
Last Reviewed: July 17, 2019
Next Review: Jan 1, 2020

Functional Owner: Controller, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Executive Sponsor: Associate Vice Chancellor (Interim), Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Policy Contact: Expense Reimbursement Program Manager, Division of Business Services, Graig Brooks graig.brooks@wisc.edu

Policy Summary

Travel by air shall be limited to the lowest, logical, non-refundable, coach/economy class fare available.  All flights must be booked through Concur or Fox World Travel.  Certain associated fees are payable/reimbursable.  Cost comparisons from Fox World Travel are required for trips including personal travel.

Who This Policy Applies To

Faculty, staff, students, and non-employees traveling or using funds and/or resources administered by the University.


The University has a managed travel program. The travel policy and approval process is designed to ensure prudent usage of University resources while minimizing the administrative burden for travelers and support staff.

Policy Detail

I. What to Book. 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, or,
  • It is an international flight with 8 hours or more of total flight time, including domestic segments (Premium Economy class only).

II. Booking Methods. All airline reservations – for either employee or non-employee travel – must be made with Fox World Travel or via the Concur self-booking tool.  Any airfare that is purchased outside of Concur or Fox World Travel, will not be paid or reimbursed by the University.

III. Associated Fees.

  • Baggage: The first piece of baggage within the airlines’ weight and size limits is payable/reimbursable. Costs for additional baggage beyond the first piece and overweight or oversized baggage may be payable/reimbursable with a business justification.
  • Aisle, Window or Exit Row Fees: Additional fees associated with booking a coach/economy aisle, window or exit row seat at check-in or at the gate are payable/reimbursable. This is not to be confused with fare class upgrades to economy plus/economy comfort, which are not allowed.
  • Change/Cancellation Fees: Fees charged for changing a non-refundable ticket are payable/reimbursable if justified by circumstances outside of the traveler’s control (i.e. meeting dates changed).
  • Booking Fees: Travel agency and online booking fees are payable/reimbursable.

IV. Cost Comparison. Cost comparisons must be obtained by contacting an agent at Fox World Travel (866-230-8787). Travelers must, at the time of booking, obtain a cost comparison in the following circumstances:

  • Indirect routing/extra stops/extra days for personal reasons: this is payable/reimbursable provided there are no additional costs incurred.
  • Departing earlier/returning later than business requires: Departing from and/or returning to a city other than Madison, Milwaukee or Chicago is payable/reimbursable 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 allowable 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.

V. Airline Promotions. Benefits from any airline promotion, such as free tickets for frequent fliers, merchandise, etc., that accrue as a result of UW paid travel belong to the UW and must be used for UW related business only; however, benefits that accrue as a result of voluntary bumping may be retained by the employee.  An employee may not be reimbursed or compensated for business use of personally earned frequent flyer vouchers, vouchers for bumping, discount coupons or other instruments of value.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Non-compliant airfare purchases will not be paid or reimbursed by the University.

Supporting Tools

UW TravelWIse: https://uw.foxworldtravel.com/

Concur Travel Booking Tool: https://www.concursolutions.com/default2.asp


  1. Fox World Travel: the University-approved travel agency.
  2. Concur: Web-based travel booking tool utilized by the University of Wisconsin for purchasing airfare and reserving lodging and/or vehicles.
  3. Cost Comparison: a price comparison between the travel actually booked and the travel that would have been booked had no personal travel taken place. For airfare, this must be done at the time of booking.  When preparing a cost comparison, travelers must consider extra meals, lodging, parking, mileage and other expenses that may be incurred, in addition to airfare price differences.  Cost comparison documentation must accompany the payment mechanism (either attached to an Expense Reimbursement or saved with Purchasing Card receipts).


Traveler/Travel Arranger –

  • Register for Concur access and create a Concur travel profile.
  • Understand and comply with University travel procurement and payment policies.
  • Obtain a cost comparison, when necessary.
  • Retain all required receipts.

Link to Related Guide

Booking Air Travel

Related Policies

310 University Travel Policy
312 Lodging Policy
313 Meals & Incidental Expenses Policy
314 Vehicle Use/Rental Policy
315 Ground Transportation Policy
317 International Travel Policy
320 Expense Reimbursement Policy


Policy Number: 311
Date Approved 7-17-2019
Revision Dates

  • Removed “initiated by” language
  • Linked to Procedure 311.1
  • Updated language regarding travel agency fees
  • Updated language to require all Airfare cost comparisons to be performed by FWT
  • Added a link to the “Booking Air Travel” landing page