Companies often go to great lengths to keep a lid on costs, but here's one place where many won't skimp: airfares.
Corporate travel providers tell CNBC that many of their clients are asking them to block airlines' basic economy airfares. These are usually the cheapest seats on the plane, where in exchange for the lower airfare, passengers often cannot select a seat ahead of time, upgrade, make changes or get a refund. In some cases, passengers cannot use an overhead bin or check a bag.
"I flat out told them not to [book basic economy]," Andrew Davis, an airline analyst at asset manager T. Rowe Price, a major airline investor, said he explained to his colleagues, regarding work travel. "This is my rule: If it looks really, really cheap, there's a reason."
Airlines say the fares are aimed at the most price-sensitive customers, who would give up perks that used to be free in exchange for a good price. Airline executives haven't been shy that they measure the product's success by how many passengers pay higher fares to avoid basic economy. That companies are opting to block basic economy from travel systems is great news for airlines.
Businesses that haven't blocked these fares may need to remind travelers exactly what they're getting as airlines expand these restrictive fares to international routes. Getting it wrong could mean both an unhappy employee and getting stuck with a big bill if the traveler's plans change.
Many companies aren't taking chances.
"As the airlines have introduced them, we have blocked them," Cathy Moulton, manager of travel services at Robert W. Baird, said through a spokeswoman. The investment firm has 3,400 associates, half of whom travel at least once or twice a year, and some every week, she added. "All along, we have viewed them as more suitable for leisure travelers and did not feel they met the needs of our business travelers."