Benefits of DTS and CTO Services versus using Other Sources for Travel Arrangements

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» Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Government agencies are faced with reduced budgets in recent years due to the economy.  At our agency, employees have been asked to submit suggestions to improve processes and save money during this time of limited resources, and several suggestions have been submitted that relate to government travel.   One suggestion was to allow travelers to make their reservations and arrangements through a commercially available online travel search engine rather than through the Defense Travel System (DTS) or the Commercial Travel Office (CTO).

It is our policy that all travelers use an available CTO for all official transportation requirements.    While online ticketing may initially appear to be less expensive and a way to save taxpayer dollars, these fares are usually not refundable, and the travelers may be charged substantial fees to make changes should the traveler’s mission needs change.   DLA recently reported that they have gleaned monetary savings through use of DTS.   If a traveler needs to change a City Pairs airfare, they typically do not have to pay for an entire new ticket fare.  The standard CTO fee would be charged each time a change is made, but in most cases, the traveler does not incur other ticketing costs.  In contrast, travelers going through a commercial vendor could pay a change fee of $100 to $150, plus the price of a new ticket.   The traveler themselves might be responsible for these charges, should the Approving Official decide not to reimburse transportation purchases that do not follow agency regulations.

In conclusion, using these online sites would not support policy or, in most cases, save taxpayer money.  Due to contracts that have been negotiated for travel services, CTO tickets are at the most economical route, consistent with travel regulations and government policies that satisfy mission requirements.

Reference: DLA gleans monetary savings through use of Defense Travel System (9/28/2011 by Jonathan Stack)

K. Barnoski, 2012.    Disclaimer: The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.

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