Re: How hard can it be?
@d3vy: From memory, depending on how hard you push the boundaries, typical tax yield from contract income (going back a few years) is 15-35% with 35% being damn safe (i.e. you get 1 - tax yield in your pocket). Not 40% by any means. Whether it affects your personal income tax or not is irrelevant as we are comparing the spend of pre-taxation money versus post taxation money i.e. £1 vs down to £(1-0.35). The money you'd have to spend personally (rather than corporately) to get the ticket is money taken out of the company remember, and that gets taken out after personal tax is paid as well as corporation tax.
Still, I consider the perks of pre-tax travel to be minor compared to redundancy, pension provision, holidays etc etc. If permies think contractors have it so damned easy and it's such a life of coke, hookers, and unicorn tears then perhaps they should STFU and try it.