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As with flying in general, business travel has become increasingly distasteful in recent years. You face long lines at the airport. You squeeze into cramped seats (even in business class). You’re asked to arrive two hours early. And so on. Yet we keep on doing it: The Global Business Travel Association estimates $340 billion in global business travel and meetings expenditures annually.
While some things may be beyond your control, the wonders of technology can alleviate some of the pain. Here are five of the best websites and apps for booking seats, saving money, traveling comfortably and generally making the whole process a little more tolerable.
Accessfares.com is all about the greenbacks, focusing its efforts on finding the best business-class airfares, some discounted up to 70 percent. The site digs deep, tapping into unpublished fares that aren’t marketed or advertised to the general public. That behind-the-scenes access can mean big savings. An actual person, as opposed to an automated algorithm, scans the landscape for these fares daily, and the site offers live chat for those seeking guidance.
This site helps travel managers save, even after they have spent. The site will watch fares on identical itineraries and send an automatic note when the price of a ticket drops, giving business travelers the chance to claim refunds or credits. Yapta reports that this FareIQ feature has saved users an average of 3.9 percent on their total air spend.
The name pretty much says all you need to know about this handy app. Stuck at a midpoint? Trapped in a layover? This app will help you find and book last-minute hotel rooms at competitive rates in more than 100 destinations in 12 countries. Did your flight touch down late? You can book rooms up to 2 a.m., and there’s 24/7 live customer support via phone or email for those who need it. NFIB members have access to exclusive benefits saving them 20-40% at over 10,000 hotels.
Fare compare.com helps diffuse some of the angst from the task of shopping for business-travel bookings. Sometimes booking a plane ride feels like rolling the dice. You’ll find a fare, watch the web to see if it dips, wonder what the cheapest day is to fly, all the time trying to pin down the right moment to make your move. With airfares constantly in flux, it’s an exhausting and often frustrating experience. This site gives you an edge in the game, offering an easy means to compare fares at many of the leading travel sites and helping you to book with confidence. It becomes much easier for business travelers to know whether they are in fact getting a deal, and instant alerts let you know when prices have changed.
Seatguru can help make the ride a little more comfortable. While others may wrangle with prices and itineraries, this one gets down to brass tacks: the actual act of sitting on a place (which often is akin to, well, sitting on brass tacks). Seats vary among airlines and even among aircraft types. A couple of inches between your seat and the next one over can make a big difference. Seatguru rates the seating, shows you the electrical outlets and even points out the best view for the in-flight movie.
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