Having listened to the podcasts on airline travel and now being an expert, I am wondering what the procedure is for finding out about the travel policy at a company during the hiring process?

If the job is one that requires frequent travel or long haul international travel then the following questions are very pertinent in my opinion. If travel is a "way of life" then these policies can be as important as your benefits package or compensation.

When is the appropriate time during the hiring process (if any) to ask them? Is it better to ask to see the policy and then ask for clarifications? Or lay out the questions below? Since HR policies can change at the drop of a hat, is it possible to have some of this (ie biz class on a long haul) written into your offer letter?


  1. Do I get to keep the airline miles? Some companies have an arrangement where the company keeps the miles or no miles (and status) are earned at all due to the deep discount fares.
  2. What is the policy for selecting your preferred flight/airline? Is there a price difference threshold? Does a direct flight trump one with a connection (ie: is it an apples to apples comparison)?
  3. Can I pay for the flights on my own credit card - in order to earn the miles? Or can I enroll in the miles program of the corporate card?
  4. What is the policy on long haul (8+ hours) flights? If the company won't pay for biz class, will it pay for an upgradeable fare ("Y" fares are typically upgradeable while cheaper non-refundables aren't)?
  5. Who books the flights? Me? A bean counter? The boss's secretary?
  6. What are the daily meal allowances?
  7. For a job that is 100% travel can you arrive at noon on Mon and leave at noon on Fri? (or Thurs night)
  8. Similar questions as above regarding hotel and rental car policies...Do we stay in the same chain when possible? etc
xcelerator's picture
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If the answers are deal breakers, ask the questions in the interview. But I suspect these just make the process of travel better or worse from your particular point of view. If you're faced with two competing job offers with 70% + travel each, the questions and answers are certainly relevant to compare.

I suggest you ask for the travel policy in the interview and take some time to digest it. Follow up with an e-mail / phone call. If you bring it up in an interview with me, I would be concerned you're more interested in the policy than the details of the job, vision and strategy of the company, etc.

I would be extremely cautious about asking for international business class in your offer letter. Understand your concern as I'm 6'5" and travel a lot too. It's just that you become an exception ... and everyone knows it. You will have a very difficult time with your coworkers, I can assure you. In any case, your offer letter is probably not a contract of employment and the company reserves the right to amend and change the terms as they see fit.

- D

dmh's picture

Would waiting until the offer is in hand be a better approach? I liken it to benefits...and if it is a heavy travel position then it can definitely make or break the job.

I think it's worth knowing whether you'll be expected to save the company $100 by taking a Friday afternoon flight with a layover in Chicago or Atlanta during summer thunderstorm season vs. a direct flight back to your home. Or flying coach to India and heading into the office upon arrival. You'd be surprised how many places have policies like this. 

xcelerator's picture
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I wouldn't wait to see the offer. I'd ask at the interview for the corp / BU travel policy. As you've correctly noted it is no different than asking to review the health plan overview.

Completely agree on the nonsense non-travelers impose under the guise of saving money ... at the expense and personal health of the most important resource they have ... the people doing it! Unfortunately travel budget is the easiest to view cost savings potential and difficult to justify the offsetting risk in the short term.

cim44's picture
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If you could state the amount of travel you expect and the distances that would help framing the answer.  In my view you definitely need to ask the questions to address the risk but I think the bigger issue is do you trust the people that are hiring you to follow through on the spirit of the answers.  I echo the comment above that you don't want to seem fixated on the travel policy as then they will wonder what type of person they are hiring.

SamBeroz's picture

I would think you'd treat it like other benefits and wait until you had an offer. Any time spent discussing it prior, is time that could be better spent ensuring that you get the offer. Good luck - Sam

xcelerator's picture
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 A travel policy is a very reasonable item to request in an interview for a job with significant travel, and it takes three seconds to ask. The context of this role is different than other jobs. The hiring manager / HR person knows that the job requires significant travel and should not consider it strange that the interviewee is requesting the travel policy. You might also want to inquire about additional travel / life insurance, corporate cards, and expense reporting procedures. I personally would not get too focused on how travel is booked, Y vs. W fares, etc. because you'll find that out when you read the policy.

dmh's picture

Agree that asking for the policy and saving any questions for after you have reviewed it is probably the best approach. Any questions should be framed as how it is beneficial to the company. "I've had issues in the past where flying through ATL on Delta rather than taking a direct flight from Miami on American has resulted in delays that caused me to miss important meetings with customers - what is the policy here?"

mmann's picture
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If the purpose of interviewing is to get the offer, then I don't see how asking will achieve your purpose.  You ask questions in the interview to get the interviewer into the position of picturing you in the role.  If I'm interviewing you and you ask these questions I'm going to picture you filling out your timesheet and submitting an expense report along with original or photocopied receipts.  That, in turn, will remind me of one of my least enjoyable responsibilities, reviewing timesheets and expense reports!  Is that the image you want to give your interviewer?

Keep your interview questions focused on how you'll interact with people in another area of the firm, or how market trends or what effect a new business initiative will have on your responsibilities.  You want to use every opportunity available to convince the hiring manager that you can command the role.  Hold the questions about "How much do I get, where do I sit, when can I quit until you've convince the company that you're the one they want and you have an offer in your hands.

  Good luck,