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Just a general question about ethics not just in interpreting.

If a client pays for my flight to a conference, can I then list the frequent flyer miles programme I already use on the ticket to get the miles from that flight?

asked 21 Oct '12, 19:02

charlielee's gravatar image


I really do not see the problem either. Consider this:

  • I buy most of my tickets myself and get reimbursement months later.
  • I am a free-lance, not a staff member, and a ticket is part of my business expenses.
  • The program is between the airline and me (a frequent traveler who chooses that particular airline for the benefits it gives me) and not with the client (who does not fly).
  • If I can use a lounge or get priority boarding, thanks to the miles accumulated on all my business flights, and arrive better rested, it is bound to be good both for me and for the future users of my interpretation ;-)

No, a frequent traveler card is a very small compensation for all the hassle that travelling involves. I wouldn’t be in two minds about it. Without the few perks that it gives you, many of us would have given up travelling long ago…

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answered 22 Oct '12, 05:44

Danielle's gravatar image


Phew, I can sleep soundly now. I put my number on a ticket from DC to Munich and got enough points to upgrade on my flight from Zurich the next week. I felt bad at first, but the full-recline seats on Lufthansa certainly help to alleviate all woes of the conscience.

(22 Oct '12, 16:07) charlielee

Danielle, those are reasons that many of us cite, but apart from the first one (buying and being reimbursed rather than having the ticket bought for you) I 'm not sure they have much legal or ethical weight

(23 Oct '12, 05:48) Andy

I did mention that my reasoning applied to FREE LANCERS (it may be a different story for staff interpreters). Would you even think of asking your lawyer not to use his frequent flyer card just because you, his client, happen to be paying for his travel??

(23 Oct '12, 06:08) Danielle

Yes, definitely no problem, because you are the actual traveler, so you got your scores; and if I remember correctly, the client also got his/ her share for payment. Do not worry, it does not contradict.Paris

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answered 21 Oct '12, 21:20

Paris%20Si%20de%20Chine's gravatar image

Paris Si de ...

...just like any other flyer whose ticket is not paid for by her or himself, it's perfectly acceptable to have airmiles credited to the flyer's account - actually, I don't think one can credit them to any other. Clients may also, if they so wish and the airline in question has such a program, have a different set of points credited to them as buyers of that ticket, as Paris rightly writes :-)... but I don't think this latter scenario can be made to apPly to tickets bought by yourself and later reimbursed.

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answered 21 Oct '12, 22:11

msr's gravatar image


edited 23 Oct '12, 13:10

I'm not sure the issue is quite so clear-cut.

For more, from these articles. I've included one quote from each.... "A good many companies tell their staff they may use air miles. But you don't assume you can." Which includes the quote... "A German court ruled this week [that airmiles] belong to the company paying for the trip."

I don't know if having the ticket bought for you, or buying it and being reimbursed later makes a difference here. I'd be interested to know.

In practice this policy is only worthwhile for a company/institution where it has a lot of staff travelling a lot and so it's not much use to most our our private clients for whom a few interpreters travel only rarely. But even they don't all do it. It's quite possible that big institutions (EU, UN etc) one day decide to try and get these airmiles back. But for the time-being they don't. One reason is probably the fact that the admin required to get the airmiles back would cost more than they are worth.

But if in doubt, ask.

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answered 23 Oct '12, 05:47

Andy's gravatar image


edited 23 Oct '12, 05:54

... this other quote from your 2nd link makes a lot of sense to me

"If a company disciplined an employee about air miles without warning that this was going to be its policy, it would be on dangerous territory because of the implied duty of trust and confidence,"

ie other than the employee/FL issue, unless your client has told you you may NOT accrue airmiles on tickets pre-paid by them (as opposed to reimbursed)...which you will then consider along with other issues before accepting the contract, they should not ex post claim them or berate you for having accrued them.

Insofar as - surprisingly to me - the matter does indeed seem to be less clear cut than I thought, why not ask Council for guidance?

(23 Oct '12, 09:30) msr
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question asked: 21 Oct '12, 19:02

question was seen: 11,356 times

last updated: 23 Oct '12, 13:10 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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