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Travel Policies: Travel Reservations

Making reservations for travel

All Calvin College faculty and staff are to use the services of Carlson Wagonlit to make all reservations for air travel, lodging, rail and rental cars.

If you do not have a personal travel profile, which gives Carlson Wagonlit necessary personal travel information, please contact Cristi at  She will create a basic travel profile for you, which will auto-generate a message to your Calvin email with instructions on where to go online to register your travel account.

Carlson Wagonlit provides a full range of travel agency services including, but not limited to:

  • Scheduling air travel on commercial airlines and rail travel on Amtrak with consideration given to the traveler's convenience balanced with cost-effectiveness to the college;
  • Making reservations for motels/hotels and rental cars that are respectable and satisfactory to the traveler and within the guidelines established by the college;
  • Providing the traveler with an itinerary package including tickets, confirmations and schedules;
  • Planning group trips, including airfare, ground transportation, lodging stays, applicable tours, arranging guides, and any other activities pertaining to a group trip. Please note that Calvin also uses Witte Travel for group travel arrangements.

Travelers may retain any travel incentive awards resulting from Calvin business trips. However, options that would entail a higher expense in order to attain personal travel awards (e.g. frequent flyer miles) may not be used.

Flexibility in booking

Carlson Wagonlit recommends the lowest reasonable fare, regardless of carrier. “Lowest reasonable fare” takes into consideration the fare, length of layover, and shortest possible route. The traveler must choose the most appropriate and cost-effective option.

  • Airfares within two hours prior and two hours following requested departure and arrival time are quoted. If your schedule allows you to be more flexible than this, please advise the agent.
  • When relevant, travelers are presented with air travel options that entail a Saturday night stay-over, which is usually significantly lower in cost. The decision for selecting this option must be made by the traveler and his/her department chair/supervisor.
  • On occasions where ten (10) or more travelers plan to leave and arrive at the same destination, savings can be obtained by entering into a group contract. For information on making these arrangements, please see GROUP TRAVEL.
  • Chartering of non-commercial aircraft by Calvin College faculty and staff must be coordinated through Financial Services to ensure use of operators who meet commercial safety standards.

Making arrangements in advance

Every effort should be made to secure travel arrangements as far in advance as possible.  At a minimum, tickets should be purchased at least seven days prior to the travel date.  Making reservation 21 or more days in advance provides the best opportunity to obtain the lowest possible cost. 

Types of airline tickets

  • First Class travel is not allowed. Coach Class must be used for domestic travel – which includes 48 contiguous states, Alaska , Hawaii , Canada , Mexico and the Caribbean . In the case of international travel – when documented quotations are obtained that show business class costs are the same or lower than coach class, business class is allowed.
  • Non-refundable tickets provide significant cost savings and should be used whenever possible.
  • If a weekend is spent on the road to save the college money, costs for additional weekend meals and hotel are reimbursed as long as these costs do not exceed the airfare savings.

Changing tickets/unused tickets

  • Changing tickets – when you are traveling and you find it necessary to change any portion of your airline ticket, contact Carlson Wagonlit Travel.  During normal business hours contact Cristi at 888-534-6810 and outside regular business hours call the after-hours emergency at 855-754-3416 and refer to membership code 0Q0 (zero, Q, zero).  If you are at the airport, an airline agent can also make changes.
  • Unused tickets - Should you be unable to take an airline trip as scheduled, please contact Carlson Wagonlit to ensure any potential refund may be secured on your behalf. A refund may be offered for non-refundable tickets when the carrier cannot fulfil its obligation to operate as scheduled due to weather, maintenance, or other factors. If you need to cancel ahead of your trip, nonrefundable tickets will be tracked for reuse to minimize any loss to the college. Refundable tickets will be credited to the card used for the purchase.

Airport Parking

Travelers must use the most economical parking facilities available within reason. This is normally the airport long-term lot. Travelers will be personally responsible for use of premium parking services, e.g., airport valet parking.

Traveler's Clubs

The major airlines have special service club rooms in many of the larger airports. Membership in travel club may be purchased at the personal expense of the traveler and is not reimbursable by the college.

Phone Usage on Airplanes

Air time and roam charges for calls related specifically to Calvin College business are reimbursable, when other telephone communications are unavailable. Due to the expense of airplane telephone charges, this service should only be used if absolutely necessary.

Carlson Wagonlit travel services

Calvin College has selected Carlson Wagonlit to provide travel services to those who travel on behalf of Calvin College . This company was selected by a team of Calvin faculty and staff through a thorough evaluation process. Calvin has elected to consolidate all travel reservations through Carlson Wagonlit for the following reasons:

  • solid, established and proven travel management program;
  • desire to position a travel agent on campus;
  • ability to facilitate for the college preferred cost contracts with travel service providers;
  • standardization of travel services;
  • consistency of service;
  • maximization of savings opportunities via consolidation;
  • savings opportunities continuously evaluated based on total travel volume.

The performance of Calvin's selected travel management company is reviewed on an annual basis.

To better serve you, a Carlson Wagonlit office has been established on campus in office #370 of the Spoelhof Center. You may communicate with Travel Services via email: or by dialing x66810 on campus or 616-526-6810 (or toll free at 800-534-6810) from off campus. The after-hours emergency number is 1-855-754-3416 and membership code is 0Q0 (zero, Q, zero).