"Business travel is certainly down, there?s no question about it," said Lesley Harris, president of Travelocity Business, the corporate division of the Southlake-based online travel agent.

Worldwide, premium travel ? first- and business-class fares typically purchased by corporate fliers ? dropped more than 13 percent in December, according to the International Air Transport Association. The increase far outpaced the decline in coach-class fares, which dropped 5 percent during the month.

The decline in business travel is an ominous sign for the nation?s airlines. The major carriers traditionally earn a majority of their revenues from business fliers. That?s because corporate customers tend to pay more for last-minute refundable tickets, are more likely to fly in first or business class, and traditionally favor the most convenient schedules rather than the cheapest price.

Get the full story at Star-Telegram.com