Winging it

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Business travel managers are clipping wings these days, according to a recent survey by the National Business Travel Association (see story).

The reason: higher fares. The result: a combination of selective travel and smart buying that involves nothing more than common sense.

Hopefully, some of this common sense will rub off on the leisure market. Last week I was talking with a friend about the high fares she was bumping into while trying to book a flight to Las Vegas. Turned out she was traveling, by choice, from Sunday through Wednesday. Yikes! She'd never heard of the Saturday-night-stay advantage.

All travelers, including the leisure variety, need to work the system to their advantage. Utilize advance-purchase discounts, shop around, be as flexible as possible about dates, times and airports.

And agents, if the vibe you get from a customer is that the lowest fare will get the booking, don't wait to be cajoled, find it.

I'm not ashamed to admit that when I'm flying, especially on short hops, I call my agent and ask for the lowest possible fare. She gets it. I'm loyal. Win, win.

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