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I'll be flying to an out-of-town interview at a large US company for a senior-level technical position. They've told me I'll be reimbursed for expenses (and they're arranging the air tickets and hotel). My question is about getting to my local airport.

I own a car, so it would be reasonable (and least expensive) for me to drive to the airport and park there instead of taking cabs. However, I try to limit my night-time driving because of poor vision -- it's legal for me to drive at night, but I pretty much stick to local roads to reduce risk, and I can't get to the airport doing that. This travel would involve night-time driving.

Is taking a cab to the originating airport common (and they won't even blink)? Or is this something that might make me appear either lazy or spendthrifty, and I should either make alternate arrangements, swallow that part of the cost, or say something?

I understand that this probably varies based on the company, location, level of job, etc, which is why I've specified those details. And I know that cab fare is a small expense compared to the whole cost of the interview, but sometimes it's the appearance that matters, not the bottom line.

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Do you know if they plan to reimburse your mileage and/or airport parking fees already? –  enderland Mar 24 at 18:23
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They'll give me an allowance (amount not yet specified) up front, and I'm to submit receipts if that doesn't cover it. I'm sure parking would be covered; no idea about mileage. –  Monica Cellio Mar 24 at 18:24
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Look at it this way. Recruiting, interviewing and onboarding a new employee costs thousands of dollars. The return on investment should you be hired will, they hope, be a considerable multiple of your salary; if you're not driving, say, four times your salary into revenue then something is wrong. If the company you want to work for is going to balk at an unbelievably tiny expense like cab fare then you probably ought not to work for them. Cab fare as an expense should be right up there with postage stamps. –  Eric Lippert Mar 24 at 20:19
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@EricLippert: that's a solid argument, but it presumes that a cab to the airport is a reasonable expense, which is the question. You could say that given the expense of hiring, then a hooker in the hotel after the interview is small potatoes. That doesn't mean the interviewer will pay it (or would if it were legal). Or for a less silly example that still might raise eyebrows, submit an expense item the same amount of money as the cab fare, for a few collector's editions of movies to watch during the journey. As the questioner says, it's not just about the amount. –  Steve Jessop Mar 25 at 0:48
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... it's whether travelling to the airport by cab, when you could drive, is considered an appropriate expense or an unnecessary frill. –  Steve Jessop Mar 25 at 0:56

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Is taking a cab to the originating airport common (and they won't even blink)? Or is this something that might make me appear either lazy or spendthrifty, and I should either make alternate arrangements, swallow that part of the cost, or say something?

I don't know if it's "common" or not. I do know that I've had folks get reimbursed for the costs of cabs to their local airport in the past after interviewing with me. In my case it was for other logistical reasons rather than night time vision issues, but the underlying reason isn't relevant, in my opinion. It never concerned me when they sent a bill involving cab fare on their local end.

It sounds as if "taking a cab to your local airport" is something you regularly do when your flight is at night. If that's the case, then you shouldn't be concerned about it. The worst that could happen is they ask "why". If you explained it to them as you have here, I'd be surprised if there was any push back or other problem.

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Thanks. I rarely fly, and even more rarely alone, so this doesn't come up for me very much. –  Monica Cellio Mar 24 at 18:27
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Nah, it's much better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission in this case. Don't tip your hat from a negotiation standpoint by revealing that you're worried you're asking for too much. "Man up" (sorry, ironic considering you're female) and assume they want to keep you happy. –  kingdango Mar 24 at 19:58
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I think a useful formulation to ask is, "I will need a cab to my home airport. Does your expenses policy cover it?". You assert the fact that it is a genuine cost to you incurred by the journey, and that you will incur that cost regardless of their expenses policy. In other words, you are not trying to chisel luxury transport out of them just because it's on expenses. It's then down to them. If they have bean-counting rules that refuse it or need to know why it's necessary then you learn something about them, but it's still better than submitting and having it refused. –  Steve Jessop Mar 25 at 9:04

In any decent company this is going to be no problem. For all the company knows you may not have a car, or your spouse may need it while you are away. Your explanation is perfectly reasonable.

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Yep, exactly and much more concise. –  kingdango Mar 24 at 19:59
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Not sure why this was flagged for low quality length and contact. Short, sweet and straight to the point. –  Michael Grubey Mar 25 at 11:18
    
depends greatly on the job. For a CEO position of a multinational you'd expect a different package than for a junior clerk that come a dime a dozen. –  jwenting Mar 25 at 13:01

I think a 30-60 minute cab ride is completely reasonable regardless of the underlying reason. Driving and parking is not only an extra hassle but it too has a cost (fuel, wear, and actual parking fees). It is common (if not implied) for origin commute and parking to be fully reimbursed, especially in the tech sector.

I've flown in people for interviews and this type of expense was never something I cared about -- in fact, only absurd things would have even been brought to my attention.

Why are you concerned about this? I'd suggest YOU are the one in demand and if a company has any problem covering this expense then it will end up being a good indicator that you shouldn't pick up and relocate there.

Lastly, assuming baseline credentials, 80% of interviewing for a senior role is confidence. Don't go in there making apologies about taking a cab. If for some odd reason you are questioned I'd simply remark that your nighttime eyesight isn't great and you wanted to take the time to relax and prepare for the interview.

Finally (yes finally), a "large US company" probably handles its expenses through some HR admin and I'd bet your interviewer isn't aware of these details.

Cheers... and CONFIDENCE!

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Thanks. I asked the question because it's been a long time since I've done out-of-town interviews and I've no current info on what's considered normal. (This wouldn't actually involve relocation; there's a local office. But the people I need to interview with to close the deal aren't local.) –  Monica Cellio Mar 24 at 19:48
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It is common to take a cab if it's 30-60 minutes. If it's longer than that (a much more expensive) consider alternatives or clear it ahead of time. If it's longer than 60 minutes perhaps you can use a closer airport. Either way, they are asking you to travel, you are important and highly valuable, you will travel in a manner that is reasonable and comfortable! :) –  kingdango Mar 24 at 19:50

I'd think about how much it will be, and what's reasonable in your area. Do people often take cabs to the airport, or just take shuttle services?

Either way, not driving is for sure OK, just be conscious of what's a reasonable & cost effective way to get there.

In NYC it could be $65 to get a car to the airport, and it'd be perfectly reasonable. In South VA, that's be rather expensive.)

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this does not seem to add anything substantial over what was already posted in prior 3 answers –  gnat Mar 25 at 17:09

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