Business Travel: Cheap Euro Airfares

Global firms push execs onto the E.U.'s new discount airlines

Air travel remains one of the last bastions of rigid social stratification. First- and business-class flyers enjoy expedited check-in, curtained-off cabins and a lot more legroom. But with the economy heading toward recession, fewer companies are willing to pay for such perks. In fact, more employers are pushing their executives onto discount airlines--even in Europe, where intercity air travel has long been more expensive than in the U.S.

As he waits in a serpentine queue in the crowded departure terminal at Stansted Airport near London, pinstripe-suited Canon executive Brian Owen, 58, is an easy-to-spot casualty of this corporate belt tightening. He's...

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