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Quick Hits: Come Fly the Frugal Skies

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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European businesses are foregoing first class travel, opting instead to stretch their pounds and euros in economy.

A survey compiled by Visa (V) and the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce revealed that only 10% of the 500 companies in Victoria, England chose first class when booking business trips for employees, including executives.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that of the remaining 90% of area businesses, 43% always booked economy class and 47% settled for the lowest available airfare.

According to a representative with Visa, business travel is no longer the privilege it once was. With a three- to six-pound price hike in British Airways ticket prices -- a byproduct of rising fuel costs -- and the looming possibility of more surcharges when European carriers are made to pay a multi-billion euro penalty for carbon dioxide emissions, it's no wonder organizations are cutting back on frivolous travel costs.

The survey may have found a slowdown in business trips, but travel was still seen as an integral part of doing business. In fact, while continuing to curtail spending on first class seating, this year most companies expect to either maintain current travel-related expenditures, or increase travel budgets altogether.

For more on the airline industry, check out Hoofy & Boo's always astute report.

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