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Elon Musk's Boring Company to build O'Hare-downtown tunnel


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#21 jis

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 10:49 AM

Actually it is more like reducing the need for further investment in checked luggage infrastructure. Given the rate at which ridership is increasing, there is a lot of incentive to reduce the amount of checked baggage per passenger to handle, and I don't think any airline is feeling that they have a lot of idle capacity for checked baggage hanging around. This is a fantasy of the AU land. :P

 

Irrespective of business or otherwise, one has to be crazy to try to take the Blue Line in Chicago with a pile of baggage. The shared shuttle services (Blue Smurfs and others)  are quite cost effective and much more suitable for carting around piles of baggage. Indeed, when I traveled to Chicago on business I never even remotely considered taking the Blue Line.

 

OTOH, in London, even on business trips, I have always taken the Piccadilly Line or the Heathrow Express/Connect, depending on what my destination is within London. The difference is that the Blue Line is just not as user friendly as the Piccadilly Line or the rail services to Heathrow.



#22 Ryan

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 10:53 AM

I disagree with your premise on business travelers not being cost sensitive. My experience in both government and private industries are that the company puts in place rather stringent policies to keep costs down.

Also, a significant number of people don’t have the “just expense it” ability and instead have a fixed per diem. Every dollar of that I don’t spend is free money in my pocket, so I’m much more inclined to live cheaply whilst on travel.
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#23 jis

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:06 AM

I disagree with your premise on business travelers not being cost sensitive. My experience in both government and private industries are that the company puts in place rather stringent policies to keep costs down.

Also, a significant number of people don’t have the “just expense it” ability and instead have a fixed per diem. Every dollar of that I don’t spend is free money in my pocket, so I’m much more inclined to live cheaply whilst on travel.

Yeah, there is no one single paradigm that fits all business as far as their treatment of travel costs go. There is a whole spectrum ranging for complete freedom to do whatever, typically true of private sector senior professionals in small to medium companies, through booking of all travel through designated travel agency enforcing policies, but allowed to spend upto a threshold on daily expenditures and get reimbursed, and to per diem and that's it for food, and sometimes even for local transport.

 

OTOH, for leisure travel there is a full spectrum too starting from the "minimize cost at any cost at one end to spend money for a good time at the other end. Frankly on many intercontinental flights, I am surprised to see how many people travel on their own dime on vacations in the front cabin of the plane, and also how many "business people" following company policy, are cooped up in the rear cabin. Life is full of surprises I suppose.



#24 Trogdor

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:10 AM

 

What does going on vacation for a normal amount of time mean, anyway? What defines normal?

And I agree about business travel. I often have two-week trips for work, and dont have time to hunt for a laundromat (and getting the hotel to do laundry is so ridiculously expensive it ought not to be legal). That means bringing clean clothes to last two weeks, plus business shoes and athletic shoes, plus all the stuff I need for work.

 

 

Business travellers are typically not very cost sensitive, seeing they can charge everything on expenses.

 

And also fly high bucket anyway for the flexibility.

 

So the business market is quite a different one to the leisure market.

 

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but my general feeling is that, business travellers are also more likely to use taxis, Ubers or other personalized systems rather than bog-standard transit.

 

Obviously there are exceptions. 

 

I've only done Chicago's Blue Line a handful of times. But I don't recall seeing many suits and ties there, or many particularly large bags either.

 

 

Your view of business travel is a bit...off.

 

The number of people with "not very cost sensitive" travel privileges is small, and dwindling every year.  Companies are putting more and more restrictive policies in place on booking travel in order to cut costs (as the Bill Gates character in an old Simpsons episode said: "I didn't get this rich by writing checks").  Employees are often required to book the cheapest fare, or at least cheapest within limits.  Paying $1000 for a flexible ticket instead of $300 for a nonrefundable ticket doesn't make sense if you're using that ticket more often than not.

 

There may be business travelers out there wearing suits, but plenty of folks wear normal clothes on the plane, and change before/after.

 

I often see plenty of large bags on the Blue Line, though my impression is that they are often tourists going home on a long international flight.


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#25 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:13 AM

Business travellers are typically not very cost sensitive, seeing they can charge everything on expenses. And also fly high bucket anyway for the flexibility. So the business market is quite a different one to the leisure market.


That hasn't been my experience at all. Every single business travel expense had a target range and a maximum reimbursable cost. Exceptions had to be preapproved before travel. Only last minute emergency trips were immune to these restrictions.

 

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but my general feeling is that, business travellers are also more likely to use taxis, Ubers or other personalized systems rather than bog-standard transit. I've only done Chicago's Blue Line a handful of times. But I don't recall seeing many suits and ties there, or many particularly large bags either.


No argument there. In my experience it's much easier to explain a $50 taxi charge than a $5.00 commuter rail pass.

.


#26 jis

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 11:16 AM

As for refundable tickets, a fact that is not well known is that many large companies have deals with one or two preferred airlines which includes pooling of unused nonrefundable fares for use by any employee of the company booked through designated travel agent. They also get a post facto kickback for meeting certain usage thresholds specified in the contract with the preferred airlines. So company travelers can basically use nonrefundable fares as if they are refundable as far as the company is concerned. This is what leads to the corporate travel agent forcing you to buy a ticket on a specific airline even with a somewhat higher fare than one can find on the internet. Net net it all costs the company less at the end of the year.



#27 Blackwolf

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 03:29 PM

I extremely rarely travel via public carrier on business, since we're expected to drive 99% of the time ( am a State employee for California.)  But, if we are traveling by way of a public carrier (airline/bus/train) then we adhere to the following rules:

 

  • No class of service higher than Coach (and including complementary upgrades; we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
  • No deeply discounted/bargain fare Coach. Must have flexibility; the State prefers to pay Y - Full Fare Coach.

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#28 cpotisch

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 03:34 PM

  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades?

Edited by cpotisch, 18 June 2018 - 03:34 PM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#29 Blackwolf

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 03:47 PM

 

  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades?

 

I highly doubt its that, but I'm sure someone somewhere may have added that reasoning.  It is undoubtedly all about perception; State employee on State business is a liability if sitting in a better seat (even if, say, Business was less money than Coach and thus was saving tax-payer money).  Government employees are treated differently on the West Coast than the East Coast; there is a tremendous amount of skepticism and distrust of anyone in Government here.  I get it all the time, and I'm one of the "Good Guys" (firefighter)!


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#30 me_little_me

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 07:13 PM

Before I retired, I almost always took transit and skipped the car rentals if possible and especially hated the overpriced, dirty taxis in most cities that had no real regulation of them. Transit, to me, was fun and educational.



#31 cirdan

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Posted Yesterday, 03:32 AM

As for refundable tickets, a fact that is not well known is that many large companies have deals with one or two preferred airlines which includes pooling of unused nonrefundable fares for use by any employee of the company booked through designated travel agent. They also get a post facto kickback for meeting certain usage thresholds specified in the contract with the preferred airlines. So company travelers can basically use nonrefundable fares as if they are refundable as far as the company is concerned. This is what leads to the corporate travel agent forcing you to buy a ticket on a specific airline even with a somewhat higher fare than one can find on the internet. Net net it all costs the company less at the end of the year.

 

In my company we have freuqntly recurring drives to cut costs. But I have yet to see one focus on the actual costs, but more on asking people whether they need to travel at all and pushing them towards video conferencing and such unless there is a really pressing reason for a face to face meeting. 

 

So I often have to justify, why do i need to make this trip. I have yet had to justify, why so expensive?

 

The reason being that such trips are mostly booked through an approved travel agent who claims to be more cost efficient. But I always get a booking with checked luggage for example. It's not something they ever ask me about. I can't verify that it is still cheaper nevertheless. I'll have to take their word for it, even if i am sceptical. But definitely when it comes to ground transportation they don't offer any support or advice there but just tell me to make my own way and expense whatever it takes. I always try to be as cost conscious as possible but many of my co-workers don't care. This has never been an issue as far as I know.

 

And travel flexbility often does matter. Sometimes when a customer''s system goies down it can be because somebody left their coffee mug on the reset button, or didn't realize you need to turn the power on. We can be on the next flight home. Sometimes we need to spend three days troubleshooting, two days waiting for a part, a day installing it and another day testing. These things cannot be predicted. 


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#32 Anderson

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Posted Today, 09:36 AM

 

Business travellers are typically not very cost sensitive, seeing they can charge everything on expenses. And also fly high bucket anyway for the flexibility. So the business market is quite a different one to the leisure market.


That hasn't been my experience at all. Every single business travel expense had a target range and a maximum reimbursable cost. Exceptions had to be preapproved before travel. Only last minute emergency trips were immune to these restrictions.

 

I'm venturing a wild guess here, but my general feeling is that, business travellers are also more likely to use taxis, Ubers or other personalized systems rather than bog-standard transit. I've only done Chicago's Blue Line a handful of times. But I don't recall seeing many suits and ties there, or many particularly large bags either.


No argument there. In my experience it's much easier to explain a $50 taxi charge than a $5.00 commuter rail pass.

 

My understanding is that a number of companies have refundable/exchangable policies, depending on those arrangements.  Nobody wants to lose a seat and then have to buy a walkup fare because your immediate superior held you up for another hour at the office (or the client meeting ran long).

And I'm reminded of someone (on here, I think) who was given utter hell by his accounting department for buying a subway pass instead of driving everywhere in New York City.

As to the leisure customers "up front", I wonder what portion of those are cash fares and what portion are points redemptions (either full redemptions or upgrades).


Edited by Anderson, Today, 09:37 AM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#33 cirdan

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Posted Today, 12:57 PM

 

 

  • we are required to turn them down and insist on the purchased class of service.)
Interesting... I imagine that's to prevent employees from pestering airlines and employees for upgrades?

 

I highly doubt its that, but I'm sure someone somewhere may have added that reasoning.  It is undoubtedly all about perception; State employee on State business is a liability if sitting in a better seat (even if, say, Business was less money than Coach and thus was saving tax-payer money).  Government employees are treated differently on the West Coast than the East Coast; there is a tremendous amount of skepticism and distrust of anyone in Government here.  I get it all the time, and I'm one of the "Good Guys" (firefighter)!

 

 

I concur.

 

Some of our customers are governments or government agencies or arm's lengh companies owned by governments.

 

For various reasons, not least of which is keeping well clear of anything that looks like corruption, we are not allowed to offer any presents or perks beyond a certain threshold to anybody who is or may be a government empoyee.  



#34 jis

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Posted Today, 01:27 PM

Some of our customers are governments or government agencies or arm's lengh companies owned by governments.
 
For various reasons, not least of which is keeping well clear of anything that looks like corruption, we are not allowed to offer any presents or perks beyond a certain threshold to anybody who is or may be a government empoyee.

Yes indeed!

And each time some executive screwed up and got fired, we in the trenches were retrained on these matters with additional vigor. In any case it was at least a refresher training once a year on Code of Conduct.

 

It used to be interesting within the company too, where we are allowed to get and use award upgrades on tickets that were bought according to company rules through the company travel agent. Since I travel a lot on my own dime, I often had a much higher status than many who had their status if any, only through company travel. So there would be many occasions when I would have an upgrade go through and I'd be sitting in First or Business, while my boss and his boss walked by me to the rear cabin. But they knew that I am a travel nut and will go for a weekend trip cross country if I could find a $250 round trip fare, just for the heck of it. One thing good about 757s and wide bodies is that the folks in Y do not have to walk by all of the rows of various upper classes.






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