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Travel Planner Handbook 

Getting Started

Now that you've joined forces with Sterling Travel, an American Express Representative agency, making travel arrangements will become a great deal easier. However, starting off on the right foot is the key to a successful, long term working relationship. That means carefully following instructions to complete a few basic implementation steps, and becoming familiar with the many features and benefits of our business travel service.

 Your Company Profile                                                                                                              

Sterling Travel is working for you before you make your first call, because our counselors have already been trained in the unique rules and requirements of your company. This information, called the Company Profile, has already been entered into our computer and includes information on your company's approved billing method, delivery locations, and most important, your travel policy. This means that our counselors will always offer flight, hotel, and car rental options that are in compliance with policy and we'll always be able to confirm any special rates that your company has negotiated. We'll know in advance when travelers may fly first class, business class, or coach. We'll know that special rate at the hotel across the street from your field office. And we'll know what car rental agency offers your company the best rate. By keeping all this information on record, we'll save a lot of time on the phone and eliminate any problems that may arise during expense reporting due to travel policy violations.

The Traveler's Profile                                                                                                               

Just as your company has provided us with its op-erating requirements, so must you submit a traveler's profile. Our counselors will refer to the Traveler's Profile every time you call, so we'll already know details such as charge card numbers, seating preferences, airline or car club ID numbers, etc. Again, this will save you time on the phone and insure that you receive the services that you expect. Of course, all profile information is kept strictly confidential.

Our online profile form can be found for your company on the main portal page of this site.

A Traveler's Profile should be completed for anyone who travels, even if it's only once a year. In completing the profile, accuracy is critical, as is thoroughness. The profile is completed as follows:

Name - Enter the full name. Always enter the last name as it appears on a passport. This will avoid any problems that might occur during international travel if the name on the ticket does not match the name on the passport. The traveler's Employee ID is necessary to properly identify travelers on billing statements and management information reports. Instructions on your company's format for the ID code will be provided by your company's travel coordinator or agency representative. Names and numbers are essential so we may contact you with confirmations and changes.

Business Information - Company name, business phone and address, department and division, and, when appropriate, floor numbers are necessary so that we can deliver documents to the correct location and contact you whenever necessary. Information on whether tickets are to be charged to a corporate charge card or a company account will be provided by your company's travel coordinator or Sterling Travel representative. If your tickets are not charged to an individual corporate card, we will need a credit/charge card to guarantee your hotel reservations for late arrival. 

Travel Information - This is your opportunity to relay in-formation on travel preferences. Indicate seating preferences, special meal requests, club ID numbers, medical alerts, etc. 

Personal Information - We need personal information to help us or an airline locate you in the event of any last minute schedule changes. Also, many customers ask us to record a personal charge card number so that personal travel expenses may be properly billed when requested.

Authorization - Each profile must be signed by the traveler and/or traveler arranger. You will be advised if your company requires an additional authorizing signature.

To Change or Add a Traveler Profile                                                                                        

From time to time it will be necessary to change a Traveler's Profile. For example, a transfer within the company often means that the Traveler's ID or department will change or marriage may involve a name change. When a new traveler joins your company, a new profile is required. Profile changes and additions may be handled simply by placing a call to Sterling Travel, or accessing your company's official profile form on your Sterling Travel Portal and marking "Update". Remember, submitting a completed profile to Sterling Travel is essential for efficient service. The alternatives are long delays on the phone and unnecessary complications, particularly if the traveler needs to call the 24 Hour Emergency Service after hours!  If a business traveler for your company leaves your employ, it is very important that you contact us to delete their information from your company's confidential database. 

Trip Planning

The most critical component in arranging travel is getting clear and accurate understanding of the travel requirements. If you provide all the necessary details up front, you can avoid time consuming revisions later on. The first rule of trip planning is to Write Down the travel requirements. Some important points to clarify before you call Sterling Travel -

  1. Desired travel day and dates
  2. Departure city and airport In cities with multiple airports (such as Chicago with O'Hare and Midway), be sure to specify the desired airport. 
  3. Desired departure and/or arrival times. In order to be flexible on flight options (and potentially save money for your company), clarify which is more critical - the requested departure or arrival time. 
  4. Desired airline
  5. If the traveler will be flying with someone, request adjoining seats in advance.
  6. Preferred hotel or location (travelers are encouraged to use your company's preferred hotels or an American Express preferred hotel partner). 
  7. Desired in/out dates. 
  8. Designate an alternate hotel in case the first choice is sold out. 
  9. Specify any special requirements such as late check in/check out, meeting rooms, audio-visual equipment, etc. 
  10. Specify where the rental car is to be picked up and returned. 
  11. Clarify the number of people who will be riding in the car to determine the appropriate size car to reserve.

Don't Delay!  With your notes complete, call Sterling Travel at once. The earlier you call, the better your chances of: Securing the lowest logical airfare, confirming the most convenient flight, getting priority ranking on waitlists and confirming your first choice hotel!

Interactive Travel on the Internet                                                                                           

The increasing popularity of Interactive Travel has had a dramatic impact on the travel industry. Access to travel information from a personal computer in the office or on the road has provided a much anticipated solution for many travelers. Sterling Travel offers an on-line booking system that enables travelers to make airline, car and hotel reservations on their personal computers in real time, in complete accordance with corporate travel policy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With a click of the mouse, travelers may access comprehensive infor-mation such as lowest fares, seat maps, meal options, on time arrival information, hotel amenities and direc-tions. Plus, our counselors have the ability to easily retrieve the traveler's record in order to provide sup-port with a difficult request or unusual destination.

 The Trip Record                                                                                                                       

Be sure to accurately record confirmations provided by the travel counselor. Accurately recording this information is essential because it's the only written record you'll have until the itinerary is delivered. Reviewing arrangements, making changes and checking the accuracy of documents become complicated endeavors if you don't maintain accurate notes.

 Reservations by Telephone                                                                                                     

Sterling Travel reservation phone numbers provided in this Handbook are answered by a team of counselors specially trained in the requirements of your company. Any counselor answering these phones is capable of handling your request. Although it's natural to develop a "favorite counselor" over time, such requests often result in the need for a call-back, or your having to wait "on hold'. To avoid unnecessary delays, always book with the answering counselor. When a counselor comes on the line, please give:

  1. Your name
  2. Your company's name 
  3. The traveler's name (if different than yours) 
  4. State that "This is a new booking" or "This is a change"
  5. At this time, you should also record the travel counselor's name and the date in your notes. Airline Reservations Because your travel counselor will be entering all information you provide into a computer, it will save time if you state the information in the proper order. In order, please pro- vide the following.
  6. Day and date of travel 
  7. Departure city and airport 
  8. Arrival city and airport 
  9. Desired departure and/or arrival time 
  10. Any special requirements

Your travel counselor will then offer the best available flight consistent with your company's travel policy. If this is acceptable, advise the agent to confirm. The counselor will recap flight data, which you should enter in your notes. Now go on to any additional flights. As a final step, seat assign-ments will be confirmed whenever possible.

 Hotel Reservations                                                                                                                   

When the air section of the itinerary is complete, you are ready to move on to hotels. It's important to note that, unlike air seats, hotel rooms cannot always be confirmed over the phone. Your counselor will advise you whether accommo-dations are confirmed or "on request." To book a hotel, please provide: 

  1. Name of requested hotel and city 
  2. Arrival/Departure dates 
  3. Type of room (single, double, suite) 
  4. Any special requirements (non-smoking room, king bed, etc.) 
  5. The type of hotel (first class, deluxe) 
  6. Desired location
  7. Remember to use your company's preferred hotels or Sterling Travel American Express Preferred Hotels whenever possible!

A Word About Hotel Guarantees                                                                                              

Hotel reservations are often guaranteed for late arrival by Sterling Travel on behalf of the traveler. Because a commitment to pay for that room has been made, the hotel will not sell the room under any circumstances. If for any reason, a trip is canceled or the traveler's itinerary changes, it is the responsibility of the traveler to advise either Sterling Travel or the 24 hour Emergency Service or the hotel directly by 6:00 pm local time of the hotel to prevent a one night no-show penalty from being charged to the traveler. Note, most hotels still adhere to the 6:00 pm cancellation time, but some may require earlier cancellation (e.g., 4:00 pm is common at resort properties). If the reservation is canceled directly with the hotel:

Secure either a cancellation number or the full name of the hotel employee with whom you cancelled the reservation. 

Note the date and time of the cancellation

 Car Rentals                                                                                                                               

Most car rentals can be confirmed while you are on the phone. Remember that the travel counselor has already referred to your Company and Traveler Profile, so we already know the preferred car rental company, corporate ID, club and express service numbers. Please advise your counselor if this information has changed.

To reserve a car: 

  1. Specify the type of car required (compact, intermediate, standard) within corporate travel policy. Special orders (such as an SUV) may require as long as 24 hours to confirm. 
  2. Advise where the car will be picked up and dropped off, if not at the airport.
  3. Special Services

After air transportation, lodgings and car rentals have been taken care of, indicate any special services that are needed by the traveler. This could simply be booking a limousine or conference room, scheduling someone to meet the traveler at the airport, or arranging for special dietary needs with a local hotel. It could also be something more complicated like arranging for helicopter transportation or chartering private aircraft. Whatever you need, our staff can arrange many things that are, indeed, special.

 Ticketing Arrangements                                                                                                          

An e-ticket itinerary will be emailed directly to you and/or the traveler. This typically happens anywere from right after the ticket has been issued, to within several hours, depending how busy the Internet server is.  If a paper ticket is the only option, confirm the date and time that travel documents will be delivered to your location. 

 Those Inevitable Changes                                                                                                       

Because business travel arrangers are encouraging you to book as early as possible, we realize that the itinerary may change several times before the trip is taken. Don't worry, we expect it; changes are a part of our business. One thing to note is that any of Sterling Travel's counselors can access your itinerary in order to handle the changes. There is no need to wait on hold or to request a call back from the original counselor. Just be sure to advise the answering counselor that you are changing an existing record. Also, be sure to note all changes, the date they were made and the counselor's name.

 If You Have to Cancel                                                                                                              

Record the date and the name of the Sterling Travel counselor who canceled your reservation(s). Note that cancelation of some airfares will result in the assessment of a penalty. The counselor will advise you if any apply. If you received a paper ticket, immediately return all unused tickets or any unused part of a ticket to Sterling Travel. (see information on refund procedures below).

International Travel

Passports and Visas                                                                                                                  

Sterling Travel will handle all the details of obtaining these documents. We'll advise you of all requirements and provide you with all the necessary applications. When they're completed and returned to us, we'll send them to the passport office, embassy or consulate on your behalf. Remember, these documents may take anywhere from 24 hours to 21 days to secure, so advance planning is essential. Although Sterling Travel assesses no service charge for our Passport and Visa Service, fees charged by the passport office or foreign consulates will be passed on to your company. One limitation worth noting is that we can only process passport renewals, not first time passports, because first time passport applicants must appear in person to take the required oath. In these uncertain times, international travel can be stressful, with security restrictions often causing unexpected delays. However, attending to a few extra details can insure a smoother international trip. 


Sterling Travel can alert you to any special documents required for international destinations. A valid Passport is required for most international destinations. Several countries require a Visa, usually in the form of a stamp in the passport obtained prior to arrival in the country. Japan, Brazil, Egypt, France and China are examples of popular destinations currently requiring visas. A Tourist Card is required by some countries, notably in Latin America. While Tourist Cards can often be obtained aboard the aircraft, sometimes they must be obtained in advance. An International Drivers License is sometimes required of people planning to drive at their destination. 

Although proof of immunization is no longer mandatory for most destinations, various innoculations may be recommended. 

International Air Travel has a few special rules of its own

International Airfares, especially for multi city trips, can be very complicated. In order to insure the lowest possible airfare, your travel counselor will often refer these itineraries to the originating airline for fare calcu-lation or to the American Express International Rate Desk. In these cases, we will not be able to confirm a fare to you at the time of booking. 

As with all flights, departure and arrival times for international flights are confirmed in "Local Time," not in your time zone. This is especially important to note for trips to or from the Far East and Australia, where there will be a date difference as well. Your travel counselor can advise you how to compute the difference between your local time and that of another time zone. 

Reconfirmation of return or continuing reservations on international flights is required 72 hours prior to departure. Reconfirm directly with the airline, and let them know where you are staying. 

Within Europe, train travel is a popular and less ex-pensive alternative to flying. Sterling Travel can book and confirm rail travel in most international destinations. 

 International Hotel Bookings                                                                                                  

In most cases, Sterling Travel will confirm the cost of international hotels in dollars. It's important to note that the dollar cost is often based on conversion rates on the day the booking was made, and may differ from the conversion rate actually used when the room is billed. 

Special Services assume a greater importance in International travel. A Meet and Assist escort may be a welcome sight to a first time traveler in a foreign city. For business purposes, a translator may be essential. Whatever special services you require, be sure to ask your travel counselor for assistance. For such services, local tariffs apply. For help en route, a traveler can stop in at any of the over 1700* American Express Travel Service locations worldwide. We call it Worldwide Customer Care! *Comprises Travel Service locations of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., its affiliates and Representatives Worldwide.

 Travel Documents                                                                                                                    

Electronic Tickets Electronic ticketing operates similar to the way hotel reservations are made. An electronic airline ticket resides on the airline's computer database. At the time of booking, you are given a flight confirmation number by the travel counselor. The traveler simply presents the confirmation number and a valid photo ID at either the airline check-in counter or at an e-ticket kiosk at the airport in order to receive a boarding pass.

Travelers retain advance seat assignments, curbside baggage check in and through flight boarding pass for all connecting flights Electronic ticketing is accepted by all major U.S. airlines and a growing number of international carriers. Travelers do not have to worry about tickets being lost or stolen since there is no actual ticket issued. A detailed travel itinerary may be sent via fax, email or regular mail. A receipt for back up documentation and expense reporting is sent by delivery or regular mail.

 Electronic Check-in                                                                                                                  

In an ongoing effort to ease security-related delays at airports, airlines are turning to the Internet and technology-enabled options that provide advance boarding passes. Currently the major airlines (American, United, Continental, Delta, Northwest and USAir) allow their passengers to print out boarding passes or security documents from their home or office, reducing the need to visit the ticket counter before heading for the airport security checkpoint. The process is especially convenient for those who are not checking bags and want to rush right to the gate. Most online systems currently allow only domestic check in, though Northwest allows for destina-tions in Asia, Europe, Mexico and Canada. Northwest also offers the widest window of check-in time, up to 30 hours ahead. Continental provides a 12-hour window, matching American Aairline's. To check-in online, most airlines require: 

Your departure city/airport + confirmation number   -  OR  eTicket number + Frequent Flyer number 

 Travel Documents and Prepaid Tickets                                                                                   

In certain instances, when an airlines does not allow for electronic ticketing , Sterling Travel will arrange for a prepaid ticket to be picked up by the traveler at the airport: When a late booking precludes any other means of de-livering the ticket OR when a new booking is made after business hours through the 24 Hour Emergency Service. Airline regulations state that prepaid tickets may only be offered for reservations made within 24 hours of departure (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). Also, airlines assess a service charge for prepaid tickets. Travelers should be advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours before flight time to claim their prepaid tickets; they should know the originating airline and flight number and should be prepared to show proof of identity to the airline agent.

If a prepaid ticket is not claimed, Sterling Travel must be notified as soon as possible in order to arrange a refund. Paper Tickets Documents received from Sterling Travel will include air tickets and a copy of the itinerary. Airline Tickets should be checked carefully against your notes to insure accuracy. Check the passenger name and the routing, and insure that there is a coupon for each flight segment. Also check the status box for the code "OK". Any other notation means that your reservation is not confirmed. RQ indicates that space is still on request, and WL signifies that your traveler is waitlisted. 

The Itinerary includes all the pertinent details of the trip and should be checked against your notes. A copy of the itinerary should go with the traveler, and a second to admin person, spouse or anyone needing to know the traveler's plans. Items of particular value on the itinerary are hotel names, addresses, and phone numbers (for contacting a traveler enroute), hotel and car rental confirmation numbers (in cases when a front desk-clerk or car-rental agent denies knowledge of a confirmation), and the 24 Hour Emergency Service Number. 

Sterling Travel delivers documents in several ways. If you are located in Huntsville, Alabama, a mes-enger can deliver documents to your site. Documents that are mailed are sent by a traceable method (currently UPS).

In Transit

Early arrival at the airport is the best insurance against missing a flight or getting bumped. Travelers should plan to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and at least three hours early for international flights. Keep in mind that as of January 1, 2003, The Travel Security Administration began screening 100% of checked baggage at all 429 comercial airports across the United States. 

If a flight is delayed, travelers should be advised to stay close to the gate. It is not uncommon for airline personnel to give conflicting information on when a delayed flight is likely to depart. When the flight finally begins boarding, a traveler wandering through the airport may not hear the call and consequently miss the flight. If a flight is overbooked, airline personnel will ask for volunteers willing to give up their confirmed seat for monetary compensation and/or reduced rate travel. Many companies regulate the use of such compensation, so check your corporate travel policy. If there are not enough volunteers, the airline will deny boarding to confirmed passengers in accordance with its particular boarding priority. With few exceptions, persons denied boarding involuntarily are entitled to compensation. The complete rules for the payment of compensation and each airline's boarding priorities are available at all airport ticket counters and boarding locations. Note that these practices do not necessarily apply to foreign carrier flights originating outside of the United States. Also, travelers checking in less than 10 minutes prior to a domestic departure or 40 minutes prior to an international departure may not be eligible for denied-boarding compensation. 

If a flight is cancelled during regular business hours, the traveler should immediately call Sterling Travel's 800 number printed on every itinerary. If it is after 5:00 pm Central Time, the traveler should contact the 24 Hour Emergency Service number also provided on his or her itinerary. 

By calling Sterling Travel

  • the traveler does not have to wait in line with potentially hundreds of other stranded passengers
  • Sterling Travel will confirm the next/best flight, not just the next flight on the same carrier 
  • Sterling Travel is able to make any other itinerary changes that the delay causes, such as protecting a car rental reservation, changing a limousine pick up time, etc.

Checking in at the hotel Like airlines, hotels often overbook as a matter of policy. Rooms booked by Sterling Travel are usually Guaranteed for late arrival. Most hotels adhere to the following "Walk Policy" i.e. if no room is available despite a guaranteed late arrival, the hotel will:

  • Provide accommodations at a comparable hotel
  • Provide free transportation to the hotel
  • Pay the cost of the first night's lodging 
  • Provide one free long distance call

If a hotel does not acknowledge your reservation, ask to speak to the night manager and show your itinerary with the confirmation number. If this is unsuccessful, phone the Emergency Service from the front desk. Our Emergency Service counselors are often able to prove that the hotel acknowledged and confirmed the booking.

 24/7/365 Emergency Service                                                                                                  

Travelers and travel arrangers are never more than a phone call away from Sterling Travel. Our 24 Hour Emergency Service will provide assistance for travelers on the road or make reservations that cannot wait until business hours. Our Emergency Service counselors can easily access your Company Profile and Traveler Profile so you can expect the same high level of service that you receive from Sterling Travel.

When calling the Emergency Service, be prepared to state: 

  • Your Emergency Service traveler access code (8AO)
  • Your company name
  • The traveler's name
  • If making changes to an existing trip, give the date of the first flight.
  • Post-trip Details

Although a traveler has returned to the office, a business trip is not over until all the accounting details are settled, and any customer service issues are resolved. Prompt attention to these matters prevent billing problems from surfacing later on. 


All unused documents (air and rail tickets, prepaid hotel and car vouchers, etc.) must be re-turned to the Agency that issued the document in order for credit to be obtained. Documents that are mailed must be sent by a traceable method back to the issuing office location. 

How to refund a Wholly Unused Refundable Ticket (i.e., the traveler did not use any coupon of the ticket): 

Return the ticket to the Agency Representative Office where the ticket was issued.  If the ticket was billed directly to your company, a credit memo will be issued for the full amount of the fare. If the ticket was billed to a charge or credit card, a credit application will be sent to the appropriate airline along with the unused ticket. Credit will be reflected on the cardholder's statement. 

How to refund a Partially Used RefundableTicket (i.e., one or more coupons were used):

Return unused flight coupons to the Agency where the ticket was issued. If the ticket was billed directly to your company, a credit memo will be issued for the value of unused transportation. If the ticket was billed to a charge card, follow the same procedure as above.

Note: Credits for some tickets may reflect airline-imposed cancellation fees. Sterling Travel will advise the traveler of any cancellation penalties at the time of booking. Also, partial refunds on some tickets (especially international) must be processed by the airlines. This can often result in long delays before the credit is issued

How to refund a Refundable Electronic Ticket : 

Advise Sterling Travel as soon as possible that the e-ticket was not issued and will not be used. Note that Sterling Travel is not automatically notified by the airline when an e-ticket has not been claimed. Sterling Travel will issue a Refund Authorization and credit will be processed as described above.

How to obtain a refund on an Unused Refundable Prepaid Ticket (i.e. the traveler did not pickup a prepaid ticket): 

Advise Sterling Travel as soon as possible that the ticket was unclaimed and will not be used. Note that Sterling Travel is not automatically notified by the airline when a prepaid ticket has not been claimed. Sterling Travel will obtain authority to refund from the airline. As soon as authority is received (usually immediately) credit will be processed as described above. 

The Prepaid service charge imposed by the airline is nonrefundable. If a prepaid ticket has been claimed and issued to the traveler, and all or any part of it has not been used, standard refund procedures apply. 

How to obtain a refund on a Lost Ticket:

Request a "Lost Ticket Application" from the airline or Sterling Travel to be completed and signed by the traveler. The passenger copy should be retained by the traveler, and the other copies returned to the issuing location. 

If the ticket has not been used, credit will be processed as soon as the refund is received by Sterling Travel from the airline (allow 120 days). The credit will reflect an airline-imposed processing fee, which varies according to the airline. Note: Airlines do not accept responsibility for ticket usage if the lost ticket is found and used by someone else. A refund will not be issued in these situations. Also, some airlines and Amtrak will not refund a lost ticket. 

How to obtain a refund on Deposits On Hotel Reservations: 

Notify Sterling Travel as soon as possible that hotel accommodations will not be used. The Sterling Travel counselor will provide a cancellation number for records. Sterling Travel will initiate and follow up on the refund request. A credit memo will be issued only after receipt of the refund from the hotel (allow at least 30 days). Note: Some hotels impose cancellation fees that will be de-ducted from the refund.

A Note about NONREFUNDABLE Fares Nonrefundable fares for most airlines must be used for the specifically ticketed flight and have no value once the flight has departed. Some airlines will allow changes to the non-refundable itineraries before scheduled departure, subject to certain restrictions and fees. With the ever-changing Airline Industry, it is imperative that you review specific fare rules and change fees with our agency staff for the most complete and updated information.

Account Service How Are We Doing?

At Sterling Travel, we carefully monitor our performance to make sure you are getting the best possible service. One way we measure this is through our online Survey Form, which can be found on your company's travel portal. It's important to let us know how we're doing, and it's helpful to get the good news as well as the bad. So respond to our survey questions and keep us on our toes!

 Account Service Procedures                                                                                                     

Although we all strive to anticipate any problems and assure a hassle-free business trip, problems inevitably surface from time to time. Following is a list of the most commonly occurring problems, and some tips on how to handle them. 

Hotel or Car Rental Reservations or Confirmed Rates Not Honored:

Contact Sterling Travel. If a rate is being disputed, be sure to save any applicable receipts. Sterling Travel maintains the complete reservation record on file and will represent you to the hotel or car rental agency. 

Inaccurate or Unsatisfactory Reservations, Documentation or Counselor Service:

Contact Sterling Travel. All such complaints will be followed up with the travel counselor and with office management until resolved. 

Billing Problems:

Inaccurate debits or credits to a credit or charge card statement should be followed up directly with the card company. If any back-up documentation is required, Sterling Travel can usually provide it. If your company is centrally billed by the Agency, contact your company's paying location or the Agency's accounting department.

Travel Tips

Packing Luggage - Pack most loose items in the bottom of your suitcase. Leave your clothes on their hangers in dry cleaner bags. Put them all into the suitcase at once and before folding over, put in a row of small items to avoid a crease in the innermost garment. When you reach your destination, you only have to pick up the whole batch of hangers and put them in the closet.

Call Ahead - Phone the hotel or access their Internet website before you go to find out what amenities the room will have, such as hair dryers, shampoo, bathrobes. That way you can avoid packing whatever the hotel provides.

No Leaks - Avoid leaking liquids. Pack solid perfume, deodorant, cosmetics, etc. or put in moisture proof zip-lock bags.

Special Favors - If you or someone you're traveling with is in a wheelchair or is somewhat disabled, ask your airline whether you can use their executive lounge. This hospitality is often extended.

Luggage Tag - Tag your luggage, both carry on and checked bags! Use your business address on the inside and outside of all luggage.

Carry On Articles - NEVER check any items in your luggage you can't live without (i.e. medication, credit cards, cash, toiletries, etc.) Many items are not easily replaced if lost in your luggage.

Secret Address - You don't want to announce that your home is empty - even to people in another city. You might want to register at hotels using your business address. Remove address labels from magazines ad newspapers before leaving them in a plane, train or hotel room.

Sign Language - Putting out the doorknob sign to request maid service is like hanging a red flag that says, "No one is here, but my laptop is!" Don't do it.

No Frills - Many consumers wonder whether no-frills airlines are safe. According to the FAA, "All carriers must follow the same rigorous standards." The low fare airlines fly the same types of planes as the major carriers and are just as safe. Safety Tips · Allow plenty of time to check your luggage and get to the gate. Generally speaking, you should plan to arrive at the air-ort two hours before your domestic flight and three hours before your international flight. If you are flying domestically from a busy international airport you will want to give yourself some added time. 

Double check your purse and bags before you leave home for items that might cause a delay at the security checkpoint. All airlines require a government issued photo ID (i.e. driver's license or passport) at check-in. Have yours ready to present at the ticket counter and security gate. · Carry a mobile phone or other wireless communication device (e.g. a blackberry) at all times while traveling. If you haven't done so already, pre-program Sterling Travel's toll-free travel reservations telephone number into your mobile phone. · Make certain you record and carry with you at all times a hard copy of Sterling Travel's toll-free travel reservations number, as well as our Emergency Travel Services toll-free number. · If you change your plans at the last minute (i.e. at the airport and directly with the airline) and cannot make that change through our agency, call us or send us an email when you arrive, so that we can be up to date on your current travel plans. If you do not, and an incident occurs that could impact your new plans or would have impacted your previous plans, it will be more difficult for Sterling Travel or your company to track you and assist you. 

Many traveling employees book their trips through third-party Internet "consumer" sites, like Orbitz or Expedia. Trips booked through these channels will not be accessible to a Sterling Travel or your company in the event of an emergency. This would impair your company's ability to track you or book you on another flight. It is imperative during these uncertain times that you do not book outside our designated company travel program. ·

Call your airline's toll-free customer service number, or visit their website, prior to leaving for the airport for up-to-date departure information on your flight. 

Carry backup documents. Make a photocopy of your passport photo page and any required visa documents. Keep the originals in a safe place and keep the photocopies with you. 

Be alert and aware of the people around you and avoid anyone who looks suspicious. Contact airport security if you have, or anticipate, a problem. 

Before embarking on the trip, familiarize yourself with local customs and laws. 

Plan ahead to make sure you know where you are going. If you rent a car, ask the car rental company for a road map and directions for arriving at your destination. If you are traveling overseas, know the location, direction, and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, available via the Internet at Also, you can check current travel warnings by accessing the U.S Department of State at