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OHIO Travel Policy: University Policy No. 41.121 - Reimbursement for Official Travel and Entertainment

OHIO has contracted with Christopherson Business Travel (CBT)(opens in a new window) for all of our travel needs. CBT's services can be accessed through Concur(opens in a new window), via phone at 866.266.8806 or email at

Paying for Airfare

Airline tickets must be paid for on a university card unless prior exception has been approved. The Central Travel Card (CTA) is available in CBT for all employees to utilize when booking air travel for themselves, other employees, students and guests. This card provides life insurance for all travelers. Visit Paying for Travel for more details.

Personal Card for Airline prior to funding approval

If you are booking travel and you are unsure if University funding will be available, you should request an exception to put the airline ticket on a personal card prior to booking to simplify reimbursement if funding is received. To get an exception, send an email detailing the reason for the request to

Basic Economy

These are the cheapest fares but they are highly restrictive. Each airline has different restrictions, but these tickets are not changeable or refundable. If you cannot take your scheduled flight, you will have to purchase a new ticket. If you do not have a legitimate business purpose or medical emergency as defined by OHIO sick leave policy, you will need to reimburse the University for the original flight.


This is the standard fare to use for University travel. Upgrades are not allowed, except in the following circumstances:

  • Flights longer than 5 hours (less than first class only)
  • The traveler has an approved accommodation through the Office of University Accessibility

Economy Plus (Premium)

This is considered an upgraded fare and is not allowed except in the circumstances listed above. Economy Plus would be considered a “less than first class” fare for international travel.

Business Class

This is considered an upgraded fare and is not allowed except in the circumstances listed above. Business Class would be considered a “less than first class” fare for international travel.

First Class

As good stewards of public funds/student tuition, the University does not pay for first class tickets.

Early Bird Check In (Southwest)

This is an allowed fee for Southwest Airlines to help ensure our travelers can obtain overhead bin space.

Airport Parking

Employees are eligible for a discount parking rate at the Columbus Airport for business or personal travel through our preferred supplier, the Parking Spot. Show your OHIO ID when paying to receive this discount. You can also reserve parking through the Parking Spot website.

Ancillary Fees Charged by Airline

Ancillary fees charged by airlines, (e.g., seat assignments, baggage fees, excess baggage fees) are reimbursable with a reasonable business-related justification. 

Requesting Travel Accommodations

If you need an accessibility accommodation to upgrade travel, contact the Office for University Accessibility at 740-593-2620 or email for information on how to register.

Cancellation and change fees

Cancellation and change fees for airline tickets or charges for unused rooms or airline tickets are only allowable if there is a business purpose for the change or a medical emergency for the traveler or immediate family. (See Ohio policies 40.013, 40.030 and 40.029 for definitions of immediate family.)

Some examples of business purpose:

  • You are needed back for an important meeting and must leave your conference early
  • You are visiting recruits and one of your recruits has decided on another school
  • Your son has been sent to the hospital

Examples of purposes that would require reimbursement:

  • The conference is not that interesting
  • You want to go home early for a family gathering
  • You decided to fly out immediately after the conference though your original flight was booked to leave the next day

Airline Discounts

The new discount rates are for individual airline tickets only. To secure these discount rates, travel must be booked through Concur or through the OHIO travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel (CBT).

Southwest Airlines Discount Program-Effective December 1, 2023

The new agreement provides discount rates for flights originating from Columbus, OH (CMH) and Phoenix, AZ (PHX) airports based on the type of fare you purchase.

The applicable fares and the related discount rates are:

Southwest Discount Rates