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Quelle est la pratique habituelle en matière de billets d’avion pour une conférence ? Est-il préférable de demander un billet prépayé au client ? Faut-il acheter soi-même son ticket et demander le remboursement dès l’émission du billet ? Ou faut-il avancer le montant du billet, même s’il s’agit de billets business intercontinentaux par exemple ?

asked 30 Apr '12, 15:21

Danielle's gravatar image


edited 02 May '12, 06:04

Delete's gravatar image

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It all depends on what we have agreed with the client - although it means more work for us, most of the time it is probably best to make our own bookings and agree with the client on the applicable fares (see below for exception). Whenever possible, our tickets should be flexible so we can change the bookings in case we need to, e.g. because we cannot fly back to our professional domicile but need to travel on to another venue.

It is recommendable to check the availability and fares of flights on the day your client signs your contract, to print out this information and make sure the client agrees to pay this fare (which might not have been mentioned in absolute terms in your draft contract). Should you then get another assignment which would force you to change your travel arrangements, you check the availability and fares of the flights available from your professional domicile to the venue of the second assignment and also print out this information and make it the basis for the second contract. You can then make your own travel arrangements - of course not leaving it too late or else the flights might be totally booked. Although open jaw flights can turn out to be more expensive than two individual flights from your professional domicile to venue A and back and to venue B and back, they might be the only option to make sure you can accept the second assignment.

Sometimes a client asks me to book a short-haul ticket that is basically not changeable and thus cheaper. This may even be company policy for everyone - including board members. I agree to follow suit provided the client agrees to pay for a new ticket in case I need to change travel arrangements - this may still turn out cheaper for the client than a flexible full-fare ticket.

When it comes to charging the client for the flight fares before the assignment actually takes place, I play it by ear - it depends on the amount in question, the time until I can write my invoice and finally on the payment policy of the client. If I can be fairly sure to get my invoice paid before the fare will be debited from my credit card account, there is no need to ask for an advance payment - if I do not know the client or know they pay very late - I make sure to get the fare paid immediately OR I make the client book the flight according to my needs.

By the way my advice is to insist on at least business class fares for long-haul flights (and to book business class!) - the danger of suffering a deep-vein thrombosis on long-distance flights when sitting in economy class is not to be neglected.

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answered 30 Apr '12, 17:09

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 01 May '12, 06:40 touched on a very sore spot, Danielle... travelling particulars and arrangements have far and away been the most aggravating, frustrating part of my professional practice these past 5 or 10 years ... oftentimes have I felt thouroughly disgusted when I finally get to the airport, after all the kerfuffle, for a conference yet to start!... don't get me started on the number of offers I've refused or seen cancelled on those very grounds!

Let me wipe the foam off my mouth ;-) and contribute to replying:

  • irrespective of who book/pays, I always look into flights and select my own preference... which I then forward to the client's staff dealing with it for booking/payment, should that be the case
  • experience tells me that otherwise you get the most ludricous itineraries being proposed by travel agents or staff members with interests other than getting you there the fastest and most hassle-free way possible... never mind cheapest - of course another source of aggro: irrespective of what exalted staff may do for that organizer, I know my own circumstances and I draw my own lines - I have yet to be offered stock options to off-set cheaper flights :-)
  • for a profession such as ours, flight classes are not, contrary to what we are increasingly made to feel if not outright told, a whim of miniature-bottles fond prima donnas: other than the DVT Almute rightly mentioned and flying comfort, treatment on the ground, access to sanity-preserving lounges, differences in time required to navigate airport hassles and flexibility in dealing with unexpected route/time changes (both of which which may determine your being able to accept or forced to refuse a successive assignment) are all a function of your ticket...and all have an impact on professional performance and quality
  • beware: because sometimes tickets and extra time involved are paid from different budget lines they may try to have you accept a package that will cost more (!) provided you can be seen to be flying hanging on to the landing gear: make sure that agreed flights match the requisite - and remunerated - approche/déproche and rest periods, if any...
  • needless to say, any flights for a first-time, un-referenced customer will hinge on emailed etickets or money wired in advance, very rarely reimbursement upon arrival, never otherwise paying for them myself
  • if it's a regular customer and in light of payment delays these days as well as differentiated tax status of advance payment/reimbursement of expense money vs. remuneration, I insist on earlier - if not advance - remittance of travelling costs
  • PD's should, if not advanced, be paid on the spot, before the hotel bill is due; from trusted customers who find it unpractical to do so, early remittance will also be expected, NOT lumped with remuneration
  • finally travelling costs are just that , ie costs, and should not be turned into additional sources of income... past abuses by some may go some way towards explaining present constraints :-(.
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answered 30 Apr '12, 20:32

msr's gravatar image


I couldn't agree more - Thank you for your comments! They actually open up a number of new points to be addressed, such as payment delays these days and rest periods to be observed...

(01 May '12, 06:47) AlmuteL

Je remercie @Manuel et @Almute de leurs réponses, que j’essaierai de résumer et commenter (en français puisque c’était la langue dans laquelle j’avais posé ma question ;-)

Vos recommandations sont donc de :

  • Choisir soi-même son itinéraire dans tous les cas (et de convenir du tarif avec le client)
  • Demander le business (ou éco sans restrictions) pour des raisons de confort, santé, traitement au sol, accès au salon et facilités en cas d’imprévus
  • Demander un billet prepayé ou le montant du billet à l‘avance (et avoir des preuves des tarifs applicables au moment de la signature du contrat)
  • Prévoir que le client paie le nouveau ticket si vous devez changer votre billet
  • Vérifier que les indemnités pour le temps consacré au transport et/ou aux journées d’adaptation correspondent à votre itinéraire
  • Essayer d’obtenir le versement des perdiem à l’avance ou sur place.

Ces principes semblent fondamentaux pour pouvoir exercer confortablement notre profession. On peut essayer d’obtenir gain de cause sur tous ces chapitres si on négocie pour soi-même et directement avec le client. Toutefois, les ¾ du temps, on passe par un intermédiaire ou un interprète-conseil (qui a déjà négocié toutes les conditions avec le client pour l’ensemble des équipes) ou on traite avec une organisation internationale ou une ONG qui ont déjà leur propre politique, et on est souvent amené à transiger, surtout à notre époque où bien des cadres ont vu leurs conditions de voyage rabaissées.

Cela dit, lorsque le client insiste pour faire voyager toute l’équipe à des tarifs avec restrictions (ce qui peut représenter une différence de prix du simple au triple), on peut essayer d’inclure une clause du genre : XXXX will purchase the lowest available airfares on the understanding that the client will reimburse any non-refundable fare should the meeting be cancelled/postponed or should the interpreter be unable to travel because of illness or similar, and cover the travel costs of a replacement interpreter in the latter case).

Face à la crise, je crois qu’il est utile que nous ayons des stratégies de repli pour minimiser les inconvénients sans pour autant nous évincer du marché, ni y laisser notre santé.

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answered 07 May '12, 18:26

Danielle's gravatar image


:-) merci à toi pour l'avoir brillamment résumé, comme à l'habitude - et désolé d'avoir "cédé" à l'anglais, "entrainé" par Almute :-).

Mon seul bémol: ne penses-tu pas que de nos jours et à l'aune de la multiplicité des tarifs aériens, l'on devrait essayer d'obtenir des billets certes avec des restrictions, s'il le faut - mais d'après moi que pour des courts déplacements - sans nécessairement descendre aux "lowest available airfares"?

(08 May '12, 00:20) msr

Merci bcp, Manel ;-) Si on convient avec le client de prendre un billet qui soit échangeable ou modifiable contre pénalités (au lieu de prendre un billet totalement non échangeable - ce qui est plus prudent pour tout le monde!), on peut tout de même prendre le billet le moins cher possible à ces conditions-là.

(08 May '12, 17:47) Danielle
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question asked: 30 Apr '12, 15:21

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last updated: 08 May '12, 17:47 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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