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Airline Consolidation

»Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems, Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

People tend to get concerned when they hear the words consolidation or merger when used with the subject of Airlines.  Recent consolidations have created arguments from analysts, labor officials and consumers.  Some say mergers lead to efficient services while others believe this will lead to loss of jobs, less flight schedules and almost always higher fares. So, what does happen when two or more airlines decide to consolidate or agree to a merger?  The consolidation/merger will go through several steps that will ultimately lead to one operation.  Below is a brief summary of some of the steps they will need to partake in: The airlines involved will need to sign an agreement after all legalities have been negotiated. Integrate management, routing structures,...

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Frequent Flyer Miles

»Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) is a program that is offered by many airlines.  Travelers enrolled in this program can accumulate Frequent Flyer Miles (kilometers, points, segments) corresponding to the distance flown on the airline.  Frequent Flyer Miles (FFM) earned on official travel were considered the property of the Government up until The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, that was signed by President Bush on December 28, 2001.  Section 1116 of this law specifically states that federal employees may retain for personal use promotional items earned, including Frequent Flyer Miles on official travel, only if these items are obtained under the same conditions as those offered to the general public at no additional cost to the...

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CRS, GDS & the E Gov Travel System

»Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

In the 1950s the airlines began using computers to keep track of reservations and the seats available on their flights. By the 1970s airlines such as United Airlines, American and TWA began to install computerized systems in travel agencies. These systems were the first airline computer reservation systems and allowed travel agencies to obtain information and make reservations for several airlines. A computer reservation system (CRS) is a computerized system designed to create and maintain a database concerning reservations and links distributors and suppliers to a centralized storehouse of information for the primary purpose of making reservations. In the beginning, CRS’ were used to make airline reservations only. By the late 1970s airlines were installing...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The information in Section 2A on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) was very informative and interesting. It has been my experience that many Government travelers do not understand the GDS underlying our Online Booking Engines and E-Gov travel Systems. One improvement that would be extremely helpful to the Government would be if the General Services Administration could convince all airlines that want to participate in the City Pair Program, be required to be mandatory participants in the GDS. It is frustrating to our users when they follow all the Government’s mandatory requirements such as mandatory use of the city pair program, mandatory use of an E-Gov Travel system and are still charged a full service fee because the airline does not participate in the GDS....

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Global Distribution Systems (GDS)

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

How much do you know about the global distribution system (GDS) that is used by your E-Gov Travel System?  Maybe your E-Gov System uses Sabre, Galileo/Apollo, Worldspan or Amadeus.  Currently, these are the four major GDS systems. My agency chose an E-Gov Travel System that uses the GDS, Sabre. The GDS houses the necessary information that will allow travel agents to book and sell airline tickets, book hotel rooms, make rental car reservations, and reserve rail reservations and more. The first GDS, Sabre, was created by the airlines in the 1960s.  Sabre has been around a lot longer than its competitors; Amadeus was created in 1987, Worldspan in 1990 and Galileo/Apollo in 1993. These complex systems have numerous capabilities.  Besides what was previously...

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City Pair Fares Are They Still Cost Efficient?

»Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Airlines, Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

In November 2011, Executive Order 13589 “Promoting Efficient Spending” was signed in to order. In that Executive Order, each agency was directed to reduce its combined costs in a variety of administrative categories by not less than 20 percent in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. A follow-up memorandum issued in May 2012 noted (I’m paraphrasing here) that while travel is often necessary for federal employees to discharge their duties, we are also required to be good stewards of federal funds and agencies must do all they can to manage their travel budgets efficiently. The memo went on to state that each agency shall spend at least 30 percent less on certain travel expenses than they did in FY2010 and to maintain the reduced rate through FY2016. This reduction in travel...

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Federal Government Travel

»Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

As with any industry in today’s business times, the history of that industry is important to understand the direction it may move in the future.   Federal government travel and understanding the evolution of government travel planning is essential not only for federal travelers but those who plan travel for each specific entity of the federal government.  As we move into the future, all of the aspects of federal travel and the unique needs of travelers and their specific branch of the federal government must be studied, applied and followed accordingly. Government travel is regulated by numerous laws and regulations.  Understanding the laws and rules that apply to government employee travel and each branch they are employed by is essential to doing business...

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First Class and Business Class Travel

»Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Airlines | 0 comments

We are a government agency and provide reimbursable administrative services to other government agencies. Of course, the service line I work for is travel. We support the E-Gov Travel initiatives with a customer support desk. We average about 5,000 calls per month, with most of them being about the system, but quite a few involve travel policy. The majority of these are in the category of airfare and the difference between contract fares (YCA), capacity controlled contract fares (-CA) and non-refundable fares. Frequent travelers understand the differences pretty well, but the vast majority of federal travelers are infrequent travelers and do not always understand what the requirements are for the types of airfares they can select. In addition to this, travelers...

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Baggage Fees Increase

»Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in Airlines | 0 comments

More and more airlines are starting to charge additional fees for checked baggage.  Commercial Baggage fees for the first bag can range from $10 – $50 with a second baggage fee of $80 and over, according to weight.  Some airlines have even added fees for carry-on baggage.  “It’s time to draw the line,” Sen. Schumer said. “Airlines should not be allowed to charge for overhead luggage.”  Schumer has received commitments by other airlines who have vowed to not charge for carry-on baggage.[1] Below is information from the FTR geared towards carriers under the City Program contracts.  To make sure you get the most current information on baggage allowance policies you can  check with your agency’s Travel Management Center...

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Secure Flight

»Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Airlines | 0 comments

It was recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) take over the matching of the terrorist watch list from airlines. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and (TSA) developed a behind the scenes, prescreening program that will theoretically match traveler information against government watch lists to identify suspected and known terrorist and individuals who have been misidentified in the past – Secure Flight. Secure Flight is intended to prevent known or suspected terrorist from boarding flights and protect legitimate airline customers identity.  By moving the watch list matching responsibility that was previously performed by dozens of air carriers to TSA, it has simplified and streamlined the process,...

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Airline Fare Codes

»Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Airlines, Industry Postings | 2 comments

YCA, CA, CB, DG . . . What do all of these airfare codes mean?  Airfare codes were designed to help us, but they can be very confusing when we don’t know what they mean.  Don’t worry; I was confused too until I did a little research. First, let’s look at what an airline fare code is.  Fare codes are a way for airlines to differentiate between class of service, cost of ticket, award ticket, etc.  We will be looking at four airline fare codes used for government travel, but let’s first look at the government’s airfare program. The airline city pair program is a successful program between the US General Services Administration (GSA) and the airlines.  Yearly, GSA contracts with airlines to get discounts off the price of commercial...

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Air Fares

»Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Airlines, Industry Postings | 0 comments

It is amazing how Government Travel evolved shortly after the enactment of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Like any other government agencies that is facing reduced  budgets, our travel and entertainment dollar consequently garners the most scrutiny among travel procurement tasks. Buyers and airlines have much to assess in determining  value with the pros and cons of airline contracting. Other says that airlines would be  better off measuring the profitability of client relationship. It’s all about the margins and  not the market share. Others say when the airline says profit margin, they should mean  contribution. Contribution is just the volume times the profit margin. Wherein the reality is, consumers should weigh whether airline contracts reward...

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Some Thoughts On The GSA Hotel System and Airline Flights

»Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Airlines, Hotels | 0 comments

First, the material does not note that some chains permit Government workers on personal travel to take advantage of Government rates. This is not so of all chains and you cannot use a Government credit card for such purposes. I suspect, that it works well for those chains that offer it as it creates a kind of brand loyalty and Government travelers are free to select the hotel they wish to use on Government travel. Second, the article does not note that per diem for a CONUS city is broken into two parts. The first part is for lodging, the second is for meals and incidentals. Government workers on CONUS travel, under GSA rules, receive up to the Government rate for hotels in an area (with some exceptions). However, that part of the per diem is limited by what the...

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Airline Deregulation To The Next Generation of Air Transportation

»Posted by on Jan 4, 2015 in Airlines, History and Overview | 0 comments

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 has changed the face (and faces) of air travel from the Government controlling the routes each airline flew and overseeing the prices they charged to today’s market-driven industry, where customer demand determines the levels of service and price.  After deregulation, millions of Americans began to fly for the first time and continue to do so today. However, crowded airports, overbooked flights, and delayed flights have travelers believing that our nation’s air transport system is not functioning very well. When in reality, it is evidence of how well deregulation has worked to substantially lower fares, provide better passenger service, and provide passengers with more flight options.  Today, airplanes are fuller than...

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Airline Code Shares

»Posted by on Dec 29, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

In many days past, there was a time when the name on the side of a plane – was actually the airline that you were flying on.  Those days are, as I’ve already mentioned, in the past.  Fast forward to current day and now, when you are certain that you just know that you bought a ticket on Airline A. However once you’ve arrived at the ticket counter of Airline A, you get sent to Airline B because Airline B is actually operating the flight.   And, alas, welcome to the world of airline code shares. A code share is an arrangement where an airline sells seats, under its own name, on another carrier’s flight.   Code sharing is a practice that allows airlines to extend their reach into cities or routes beyond those they actually serve.  It was...

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Secure Flight

»Posted by on Dec 25, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

Secure Flight is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) traveler pre-screening program that matches limited traveler information against government watch lists to identify known and suspected terrorists, prevent known and suspected terrorists from boarding an aircraft, facilitate legitimate traveler air travel, and protect individuals’ privacy.  The laws that mandate Secure Flight are the 9/11 Commission Report, which recommended that TSA take over watch list matching from the airlines, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004, which codified the 9/11 Commission Report and required DHS and TSA to assume from airlines the function of conducting pre-flight comparisons of airline...

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Getting the Traveler Compliant

»Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

When the government deregulated the airlines in 1978, it was based on the premise that it would improve the industry and offer travelers more options and better prices.  One area  that seems to be a sticking point is the global distribution system.  For us travel professionals who know there are differences and that every airline has the option to choose what they want to do, we adapt.  It is the occasional or green traveler who suffers the most. One of the challenges I face is travelers feel that they can get a better deal searching themselves on the internet, rather than using the States TMC.  One reoccurring theme is that travelers are unaware that different  pricing models exist between the airlines, the 4 GDS’ and the  internet booking tools and that...

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What is PNR????

»Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

What is a PNR and do I need one?  In the travel industry, PNR stands for Passenger Name Record.  PNR is a record in the Computer Reservation System (CRS) database that contains your itinerary and other information about you.  If you have traveled by air, then you needed one and was assigned one whether you knew it or not.  PNRs were developed by airlines so they could exchange reservation information since passengers frequently use more than one airline to reach their destination.  In the electronic travel system we use, the travel management center (TMC) creates a PNR in the Global Distribution System when an airline reservation is made.  The PNR contains various information such as the traveler’s name, contact and ticketing details, itinerary, fare...

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Keeping Airlines and Passengers Safe

»Posted by on Dec 7, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented a Secure Flight Program that requires passengers to provide their name as it appears on their government issued identification when traveling and making airline reservations.  The program has gone further in a second phase by asking passengers to enter their date of birth and gender when making their reservations. Since Secure Flight is a process that goes behind the scenes to match to watch lists this happens before passengers arrive at the airport, current security checkpoint procedures remain the same.  Failure to provide the information could result in delays at check-in. Secure Flight is a key tool in confirming that someone identified as a ‘No Fly’ does not receive a boarding...

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The Sabre Global Distribution System within our e-Travel System

»Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

Our E Travel System uses the Sabre Global Distribution System as an integral part of the overall travel system. The GDS is a legacy data based system that is used by all travel suppliers such as airlines, hotels and rental car vendors to automatically book travel. The GDS is separate from the commercial internet booking sites, although some booking sites will use GDS information to offer information to their users and to assist with bookings. Not all airlines and hotels use a Global Distribution System as the GDS charges travel vendors to display inventories. If a supplier uses a GDS, it is the airline carrier, hotel, or rental car company’s responsibility to keep the GDS updated with current information. In some instances some small airlines do not use the GDS...

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Yield Management – Airlines & Hotels

»Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels | 0 comments

Yield management, also known as “revenue management is the process of understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximize yield or profits from a fixed, perishable resource (such as airline seats or hotel room reservations)”. Successful yield management focuses on selling the product in such a manner that is timely, price competitive, and directed towards the right subset of customers. The basic concept of yield management is based in the economic principle of supply and demand: when supplies are short, prices go up; when supply is high, prices go down. Yield management is a studied, systematic method by which managers can logically place customers within the supply demand spectrum, and thus gain the highest yield for their...

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City Pair Program Benefits Unrecognized

»Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

One thing I’ve noticed while assisting travelers with booking reservations through ETS/GDS is that sometimes the prices on certain city pair legs are higher than what the public would see on other sites such as Orbitz or Travelocity.  We get this complaint quite often.  The fact that city pair fares can save up to 50% to 70% on unrestricted coach fares is a big deal.  Unfortunately I don’t think a lot of travelers quite understand this.   In times like these when travel budgets are being slashed all over the Federal Government, many travelers are becoming even more conscientious of their travel expenses.   They are encouraged to minimize their travel expenses as much as possible.  This has caused many travelers to become upset when they see a plane...

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Frequent Flyer Program

»Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

In May of 1981, American Airlines (AA) started a loyalty program called AAdvantage .  AA’s goal was to retain their frequent customers by offering them rewards for flying with AA.  AA’s program was so successful that later the same year Delta and TWA introduced their own loyalty programs.  These loyalty programs became known as frequent flyer programs (FFP) because the airline tracked the miles a customer flew and rewarded them based on those miles.  Therefore, the more miles a customer flew under an airlines frequent flyer program, the greater their reward. Hotels and rental car companies started participating as “partners” in the successful airline programs.   Even though the major hotels now have their own frequent-stay programs,...

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Airlines, Hotels, and the TMC

»Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To ensure the value a TMC can bring to government travelers and all governments agencies, a TMC must understand the regulations and rules and that influence airfare and hotel reservations on an ongoing basis.  CPP, City Pair Program, and understanding the difference between YCA, _CA, and _CB air fares is most important for TMC agents booking each government traveler with an air itinerary.  It is a TMC’s responsibility to know how to get the CPP contract, display the options in the GDS, and follow each specific government agencies rules for approval and ticketing.  Other essential knowledge for booking airfare for government travelers is interpreting and applying the Fly America Act, the Airline Open Skies Agreements, airline code shares, frequent flyer...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

There appears to be some confusion and even debate regarding the fares negotiated and contracted by the United States Government’s City Pair Program.  Many Government travelers do not realize what they are getting for their money, and what total costs are associated with non-contract restricted fares. Many Government travelers compare the ticket price of City Pair contract fares to the ticket price of economy fares that they book for personal travel using internet sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity.  While the economy fares many of us use for personal travel have restrictions, penalties/fees for cancellations, and often require advance purchase, this is not the case with the Government’s City Pair contract fares.  City Pair contract fares require...

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Code Sharing

»Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

What is code sharing? Code sharing is an agreement between airlines that allows the sale of seats by a partner airline on another airline’s flight as if the flight were its own. Code shares can provide a cost-effective way for a carrier to enter new markets by using the facilities and operations of a partner carrier. While code sharing is beneficial to many airlines, it can be misleading for travelers who believe they have purchased a ticket on one airline only to discover that they are actually flying on another. Or worse, when the traveler believes they are staying on a single airline on a multi-leg trip only to discover that they are not only changing planes, but also changing airlines in their connecting city. An important factor that a traveler should...

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CITY PAIR PROGRAM

»Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Airlines, Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

The General Services Administration (GSA) manages the airline City Pair Program (CPP) to provide discounted air transportation services for Federal travelers Government-wide.  Since its inception in 1980, the airline City Pair Program has expanded its presence domestically and internationally, to include 13 carriers in over 6,100 markets. Federal travelers are able to achieve the best deals on airfare available.  CPP averages savings of 70% below full, commercial air fares.  In addition, CPP features benefits that allow Government travelers supreme flexibility. When you use the City Pair Program, Fares are unrestricted, meaning: No Advance purchase required – you get the same great deal anytime No minimum or maximum length of stay required Tickets are fully...

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Government Travel Super Saver Fares

»Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Airlines, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

My interest in the travel industry began many years ago. My ultimate goal was to find a position within the airline industry. At the time, the industry was going through a tough time so a job with the airlines was not “in the cards” for me. When my circumstances changed and I moved to the Washington, DC area, the opportunity arose for a part-time position with the airlines as a reservations sales agent. I worked for Piedmont/US Airways until the reservations center was closed. I was then employed with United Airlines until I relocated to a different state. This was more of a “fun” job for me; the travel benefit alone at that time was sufficient compensation for me. I was eager to learn everything about the airlines, airline reservation policies and...

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City Pair and Hotel Programs

»Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels | 0 comments

AIRLINES – CITY PAIR PROGRAM: In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act changed the dynamics and working ways of the airline industry. The government taking a cue from corporate houses, that started demanding discount in airline prices, established the City Pair program to benefit from the travel expenditure on airlines. These fares are only issued against government credit cards or GTR’s and published under the code YCA, where Y means unrestricted coach and “CA” means Contract Award. There is also Government Business contract issued under code –CB (like DCB, which means controlled capacity in Business booked under D and “CB” means Contract Business. To confront various scenarios of what can happen, certain exceptions to the mandatory use of city pair...

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Airline City Pair Program

»Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

It appears that there are still a few Federal Travelers still having a hard time grasping the benefits and functions of the GSA City Pair Program.  The program has been extremely successful, starting over 30 years ago when they had originally covered only 11 markets and now have expanded to over 5,000 city pairs.  Yet still, the average Federal Traveler automatically wants to compare these flights to the ones that they can find out on the internet through sites such as; Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz.  It only makes matters worse when these airlines try enticing them through commercials and advertisements with their great deals that no one would want to pass up, especially when it is the airline of your choice.  Finding a cheaper fare that is...

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What is Code Sharing

»Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

Ever get to the airport and think you are flying with one airline, but when you get to the airline counter they tell you to check in with a different airline?  If so, you have probably experienced Code Sharing.  Code sharing is an agreement between airlines allowing the sale of seats by a partner airline on another airline’s flight as if the flight was their own.  This allows airlines to extend into cities or routes beyond those they actually serve.  The airline providing the plane, crew and ground handling services is call the operating carrier.  The airline selling tickets for the flight but not actually operating it is called the marketing or validating carrier.  The following scenario would be an example of code sharing.  You booked a flight on...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Airlines, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The GSA City Pair program has helped save millions of taxpayer dollars since it’s inception in the early 80’s.   This program allows government employees to travel on negotiated flat airfares in most markets with up to 70% discount on refundable airfares.  Government contractors, however, are not allowed to participate in the CPP with GSA, but can negotiate with airlines on their own. Working for an FFRDC proves to show significant differences between GSA CPP rates and corporate rates.  As airlines continue to struggle to make profit in today’s world due to fuel hikes, competition, union employees, airport fees, mergers, etc., corporate contracts have been revamped to tiered programs which provide small discounts on published airfares with heavy...

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First and Business Class Flights

»Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

In September of 2007, GAO report GAO-07-1268 found that 67 percent of all first and business class flights by Government employees were not properly justified or authorized. This was somewhat surprising to me as I thought it well known to most employees that first class and business travel are not permitted except in very limited circumstances. The Code of Federal Regulations, at 41 C.F.R § 301-10.123 states as follows: § 301-10.123 When may I use first-class airline accommodations? You may use first-class airline accommodations only when your agency specifically authorizes/approves your use of such accommodations, for the reasons given under paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section. (a)  No coach or business-class accommodations are reasonably available....

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CPP Reviewed

»Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Airlines, Contracting for Travel Services, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The City Pair Program began in 1980, growing from 11 airport/city pair markets with awards of $1.3 million to 4900 pairs with awards estimated at over $2.89 billion. GSAs Airline City Pair Program, http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/105401 (last visited March 31, 2012). “[The] program is for scheduled certificated U.S. airlines to provide passenger transportation services, governmentwide, for approximately 6000 domestic or international airport and City Pairs.” Id. The City Pair Program is touted as being a highly successful venture for both the federal government and participating airline carriers. Id. The CGTP Training Course book also praises the City Pair Program and states that “[t]he government benefits from lower rates, no restrictions and available...

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The Evolution of Government Travel

»Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Twenty years ago I was assigned to the office that was responsible for travel processing.  In 1989 very few employees had computers and most of the work continued to be done as it had been for decades – by paper.   At that time a traveler would work with their secretary to complete a multi-carbon copy travel authorization.  The per diem rates were looked up in a GSA published book and the secretary would complete the estimates after calling the airline and hotel to make reservations.  Once the paper authorization or voucher was completed it was sent to several people for signature and eventually ended up in the Finance Office. Once the Finance Office received the documents, a technician verified the per diem rates and quarter day calculations for first and...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Airlines, History and Overview | 0 comments

The City Pair Program began in 1980 with 11 City pairs and has grown to over 5,000 city pairs, both domestic and International.  The airfares offered under this program are discounted considerably off comparable commercial fares saving the federal government billions of dollars annually.  The City Pair Program is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all government travelers. The CPP is important to the government and the airlines though it only represents 2% of the airline business.     Each year GSA awards contract fares for air fare for travelers on official government travel under the city pair program.  These contract awards are based on the best overall value to the government, taking into consideration type,...

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City Pair Fares Vs. Low Cost General Public Fares

»Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

As a government traveler, I appreciate the City-Pair Program (CPP) administered by the General Services Administration (GSA).  I was surprised to learn that the CPP only represents 2% of the airline business.  This number may be larger today with the down economy and fewer leisure travelers.  At least in my line of work – facility inspections – travel is a necessary part of the job.  Thus, the many benefits of the CPP are routinely utilized.  There have been many times when I have had to change or cancel my flight itinerary and the no fee penalty and fully refundable ticket benefits for YCA Fares have definitely saved my agency a lot of money.  Recently, however, I have noticed both for myself and fellow colleagues that non-contract carriers frequently...

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Macro economics and U.S. Government Travel

»Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Airlines, Industry Postings, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The material covered in 4a (Payment Methods) has a particular significance in understanding some of the relationships between government and the current economy. In essence, it covers how payment is ensured to the airlines and the issuance of credit by the banks to the government for travel expenses. In essence, the macro relationship is that the banks extend credit (via IBAs or CBAs) to the government, which purchases travel from the airlines. The credit extended by the banks is paid back by the government using funds from various taxes (income, transportation, levies on financial transactions). A short, open source search did not reveal if the airlines pay more or less in taxes than they receive in government travel income. Likewise, it is unknown the ratio...

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Airlines- _CA Fares

»Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

One of the most misunderstood and under advertised benefit to Government travelers is the _CA fare. This is the capacity-controlled coach class fare mentioned in Section 2B Airlines. During regular training classes on our E-Gov Travel System, I continue to be astonished at the misperception and fear of choosing these _CA fares. These fares are still fully refundable, fully changeable; but they are not last-seat availability. If travelers can make their arrangements far enough in advance, sometimes airlines will offer a certain number of seats at the lower _CA pricing. This can save an office $20.00, $40.00, even hundreds of dollars per leg off the full YCA fare. Travelers misunderstand the capacity limit to mean that they either will not get a seat on the aircraft...

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Airline Loyalty Programs – Now more important than ever

»Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

Loyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal buying behavior — behavior which is potentially of benefit to the company that is offering them.  After spending a decade trying to stay afloat, airlines are turning their focus back on the travelers that matter the most- the high yield passenger. In April of 2002, the General Services Administration (GSA) amended the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) to remove the provisions which stated that promotional benefits, including frequent flyer miles earned on official travel are considered the property of the government and may only be used for official travel.  This change was a result of a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides that federal...

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Travel Budget Savings

»Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars | 0 comments

The Bureau of the Public Debt performs reimbursable administrative services to other Government agencies.  Our office administers travel services that include GovTrip E-Travel services and travel policy.  In the current economic climate with all the focus on cost savings and reduced budgets, saving travel dollars is taking center stage. Agencies are faced with reduced funding for travel and using video conferencing wherever feasible. The Government is tracking the ‘carbon footprint’ of their trips and setting targets for reductions.  This stemmed from a Presidential Executive Order last year and has been highly visible since reporting began. Also centralizing reporting for adherence to Federal and agency travel policies is appearing with the new GSA...

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GSA City Pair Fares and Government Fares

»Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Airlines, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

There are two types of government fares that our travelers can book in the E Travel System, GSA City Pair Fares and Government fares. In 1980 the General Services Administration (GSA) developed the City Pair Program (CPP) to provide discounted air passenger transportation services to Federal government travelers. In the beginning, this service only covered 11 markets, but has grown to over 5,000 city pairs. The average savings is 63%-77% below commercial full fares. A critical aspect of travel planning is flexibility and the CPP has many features that allow Government travelers all the flexibility possible. Features of the Service include: Non-stop service was awarded on 95% of the markets where non-stop service was offered. Fares are priced on one-way routes,...

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The City Pair Program

»Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The General Services Administration contracts with airlines for reduced airfares for official government travel. Travelers who are on official travel are required to use these reduced fairs in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulations.  GSA has urbanized a tremendously successful Airline City Pair Program. This service originally covered only 11 markets, but over the last 27 years, it has stretched to over 5,000 city pairs. The airfares offered under this program are discounted considerably off comparable commercial fares–saving the federal government billions of dollars annually. Each year, the General Services Administration awards contracts for air transportation for travelers on official government travel. Contracts are awarded competitively based...

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Utilizing SGTP Resources

»Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, History and Overview, Hotels, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Overview:  The largest membership base within SGTP are smaller companies such as travel agencies, individual hotels, and or other industry suppliers that are currently or looking to enter or increase sales revenue within the government travel sector. Challenge: To communicate effectively with our membership in a two way dialogue of the SGTP resources and have them utilize them to better understand the government travel marketplace.  And to assist in creating developing increased sales for their organization in his $20 billion annual spend by arena. Issue: New members are continuously joining SGTP on a year round basis.  And though we would like all to be successful immediately with positive results we are aware of the lengthy process, time commitment and...

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Electronic Tickets

»Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in Airlines, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

The electronic ticketing system has certainly altered the travel industry. Subsequent to June 2008, most airlines were continuing to issue paper tickets.  Paper tickets and electronic tickets mutually worked in the same capacity. They show proof that a  passenger has actually purchased their airline ticket.  We recall the tribulations experienced with paper tickets.  Airlines always charged more for issuing the paper tickets verses the electronic ones.  Travelers would often forget their airline ticket  at home.  Furthermore, there were also tons of fees associated with paper tickets. According to Bryan Wilson of the International Air Transport Association the elimination of paper tickets will reduce airline costs by as much as $3 billion worldwide and cut...

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Where Do We Go From Here?

»Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Let’s take a look at where government travel will be in the future. To see what a government traveler will experience, we’ll need to look at the various aspects of the travel system covered in our course, and extrapolate the current trends ten years down the road. The major trends in the Global Distribution world are connections across the internet and controlling distribution costs. In the next few years we are likely to see suppliers using focused distribution channels rather than the GDS to control their costs. By distributing on more effective channels, the suppliers not only safe, but gain more control over their inventory. No doubt, these channels will be internet based as the new systems coming online now are all web riding. This trend will impact...

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The Fly America Act

»Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

I have noticed that this training course book touches on some topics very succinctly. On page 57 for example, the term ‘Fly America Act’ was used for international travel. I wanted to learn more so Wikipedia was my first stop. There I found out that this “Act refers to the provisions enacted by Title 49 of the United States Code…”regarding government financed air transportation. What makes this topic a bit more interesting to me is that this Act applies equally to non-U.S. nationals and non-U.S. companies both within the U.S. and ex-territorially, regardless of enforcement difficulties or possible infringement of international law and personal liberty that this could represent.  So, because of this, the Act is generally regarded by non-U.S. interests as...

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Open Skies and Code Shares Nitty Gritty

»Posted by on Jun 2, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels, Industry Postings | 0 comments

I found the material in both of these lessons (2b and 2c) informative regarding airline and hotel requirements. Particularly useful are the sections on City Pair fares and FEMA hotel requirements. While the target audience for the material is travel agents or those in the travel industry dealing directly with government employee travel, there is an opportunity to expand to those working for government contractors by outlining how these regulations apply or do not apply to the government contractor. Government contractors have to abide by many of the same regulations, though not all. For example, the GSA on its Contractor Fact Sheet (http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/102009) has made it clear that City Pairs are not required of, because they cannot be used by,...

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Educating Travelers on the City Pair Program

»Posted by on Jun 1, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices | 0 comments

The City Pair Program (CPP) is a mandatory program administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) and is available to all government travelers.  This program offers competitive air fares at a significantly reduced price.  Along with the reduced price, there are also other benefits such as: Tickets are fully refundable Last seat availability No advance purchase requirement No blackout periods No penalties No cancellation fees While the CPP has been in existence since 1980, many travelers were not aware of the program until recent years.  Once agencies started implementing an E-Gov Travel System (ETS), travelers could see a variety of flights, some were city pair flights and some were not.  Prior to this time, the traveler just picked up the phone,...

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Yield Management And The Travel Industry

»Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

As a Government traveler, I am often astounded by the differences in airline ticket prices when I travel.  I may have paid $350 for a Government-fare seat in coach class while the business traveler in the seat beside me paid $1,200.  This is the result of yield management.  In this instance, airlines are trying to sell the right seats to the right type of customer at the right time and for the right price. Yield management uses information about customer purchasing behavior and product sales to develop pricing and inventory controls that produce greater revenues and deliver products that are better matched to the customers’ needs. Yield management is well-suited for travel service providers because of the following characteristics: Perishable...

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Fly America Act

»Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Fly America Act was first approved by congress with the Air Transporation Fair Competitive Practice act of 1974. In 1981 it was amended to include the verbiage requiring Federal Employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees and others performing United States Government financed foreign air travel to travel by US flag carriers. In April 2007 the US-EU Open Skies Agreement was signed this agreement amended the earlier Fly America Act to provide airlines of the European Community or its Member States the right to transport passengers and cargo on scheduled or charter flights for US Government transportation. In October of 2008 the United States Government signed an Open skies agreement with Australia and Switzerland.   These agreements...

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Code Sharing in the Airline Industry

»Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

‘Code Sharing’ is the industry term for an agreement that allows airlines to sell one another’s flights as if they were their own.  The ‘Code’  is identified by two letters on the ticket so that the airlines can identify who booked the reservation. After September 11, 2001, there was a decreased demand for air travel and cuts in schedules had to be taken. Code Sharing was a way that airlines could attract customers even as they cut their networks. Affiliations among carriers were formed to expand flight networks and to keep cost low and, with current financial struggles, code sharing is supposed to help sell more tickets. Code Sharing agreements require approval of regulators. The text book states on page 49 that “This Offers...

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GSA City Pair Fare

»Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The airline industry has seen many changes in the past few years.  For government travelers the most significant change occurred in 1980 with the implementation of the City Pair Program (CPP).  Governed by the General Services Administration (GSA), CPP started out with 11 city pairs but has now expanded to over 5,000 city pairs for both domestic and international locations.  The program offers competitive rates which saves the government an average of 50% to 70% off unrestricted coach fares. Government travelers, following the requirements set forth in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), must use a contract fare when available unless the traveler has a valid justification.  Some of the justifications are: There are no seats available on a contract...

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City Pair Fares and GSA Statistics

»Posted by on Apr 26, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 1 comment

There is a statistic cited in the training materials that I find interesting, which is that City Pair air fares save 50 – 70% off unrestricted coach fares. I have seen a similar measure of 72% savings off unrestricted coach fares published directly by GSA. This measure raises two questions: 1)    What data did GSA use to determine this measure and when was the analysis conducted? 2)     Is a better measure of program savings available? Section 2a discusses yield management tools and how airfare prices change continuously. To accurately measure savings off unrestricted coach fares, GSA would need a database of unrestricted coach fares that were purchased at the same their traveler purchased the ticket to the same destination. A second option would be to...

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Code Share “A Win Win for All”

»Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Fly America Act as you know it today provides excellent opportunities for all parties involved.  The program provides excellent advantages for the Traveler, the TMC, and the Airlines.  Code share when it began did have its challenges, travelers were unsure which ticket counter to check in, what airline they were actually flying on, which baggage claim was the appropriate one and whom do they speak to in the event of problem that needed resolution as a result of their flight.   Code share today represents positive changes to all involved in the process including the actual booking in ETS or DTS.    Government travelers are permitted to use the code share carriers provided the ticket is issued with the U.S. Flag Carrier code and U.S. Carrier flight...

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Security Check Point At The Airport

»Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

My experience on a normal traveling day for me is having my bags packed the prior night and I set my alarm. Before my alarm goes off I am already getting up and dress and heading to the airport. What is in store for me today at the airport? I always like to arrive early to the airport so if any surprises occur I am prepared and I will not be later. Sometimes I use different airline companies, it really depends on which direction I am heading.  I am heading to Washington, DC this time. My husband drops me off at the curb. Seconds to say good-bye. I check my bags in at the curbside service. I am using US Airways and the airline customer service gentleman says $15 for your bag, please. So I pay the $15 and head to the gate. Really $15 for a bag that I need to bring...

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Fly America Act 2009

»Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Fly America Act was first approved by congress with the Air Transporation Fair Competitive Practice act of 1974.  In 1981 it was amended to include the verbiage requiring Federal Employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees and others performing United States Government financed foreign air travel to travel by US flag carriers. In April 2007 the US-EU Open Skies Agreement was signed this agreement amended the earlier Fly America Act to provide airlines of the European Community or its Member States the right to transport passengers and cargo on scheduled or charter flights for US Government  transportation.  In October of 2008 the United States Government signed an Open skies agreement with Australia and Switzerland.   These...

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Airlines

»Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

In sections 2b and 2c of the Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course, I can relate to the “Airlines” training material from my previous reservations sales positions with Piedmont, US Air, and United airlines. I knew the complete description of Fare Basis Codes and what each of the code letters signified. What is pretty amazing is that I had a good memory of what the codes meant. Along the same line, I have remembered a good share of the airport three-letter codes and airline two-letter codes. My first position in the Postal Service required me to learn all the ZIP codes in Michigan and I have remembered most of those. What is it about that type of information that stays in your memory? In the “Hotels” section, I could relate more to my...

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Unused or Partially Used Airline Tickets

»Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

If you choose to hold on to an unused or partially used airline ticket (paper or e-ticket), you are costing your agency money.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost to the government and taxpayers each year because the government traveler does not initiate the refund process.  Government travelers having downgraded, exchanged, unused, or partially unused tickets that were purchased with their individually billed travel charge card account (IBT) should notify the servicing airline when a refund is due.  The refund request for the unused or partially used ticket should take place as soon as possible to prevent monetary losses to the government. Unused or partially used airline tickets are defined as: (1) tickets purchased for government travel, but never...

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Secure Flight and the Impact on ETS

»Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Secure Flight is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) traveler pre-screening program that matches limited traveler information against government watch lists to identify known and suspected terrorists, prevent known and suspected terrorists from boarding an aircraft, facilitate legitimate traveler air travel, and protect individuals’ privacy. The Secure Flight program added data elements that airlines were not previously collecting. The airlines must transmit the data, no later than 72 hours prior to flight time, to TSA for clearance to issue a boarding pass. If a reservation is made within 72 hours of the flight, the data is transferred at the time the reservation is made.  Secure Flight is intended to improve...

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Paper Tickets

»Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

We’ve come a long way in the airline business! But for you who cannot possibly know, I offer a trip down memory lane! Back in the middle 60’s when I first became a member of the travel industry, when an airline reservation was made either via phone, or in person at the airport or at the airline ticket office, the airline representative would simply pull a card, which looked much like a Bingo card, except instead of having letters and numbers, it was imprinted with flight schedules and city pairs, and would insert it into an “Instamatic” machine, highlight the proper flight, plug in the number of seats needed, and push a button to encode the inserted punch card with the pertinent information. We would then take the punch card, which we couldn’t...

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Travel Regulations for the Government Employee vs. the Government Contractor

»Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in Airlines, Hotels, Industry Postings, Rental Cars, White Papers | 1 comment

Government regulations regarding travel are not only required by employees of the U.S. government, but also extend to government contractors as well. Government contractors have to abide by many of the same regulations, though not all. This short treatise will touch on some of the similarities and differences of regulatory travel requirements for government employees versus government contractors in the areas of air travel, hotel accommodations and car rentals. The implementation of the Fly America Act for government employees is predominately in the form of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under the subsection Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) and the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) as well as the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR). The...

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How Far Government Management Travel Has Come

»Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Airlines, History and Overview, Travel Management Centers, White Papers | 0 comments

Government travel management stems a long way back with initiatives lunched after the enactment of the “Airline Deregulation Act of 1978”. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry (of new airlines) from commercial aviation. The Civil Aeronautics Board’s (CAB) powers of regulation were to be phased out, eventually allowing passengers to be exposed to market forces in the airline industry. The act, however, did not remove or diminish the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) regulatory powers over all aspects of airline safety. The stated goals of the act included: the maintenance of safety as the highest priority in air commerce; placing maximum reliance on competition in providing air...

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Airline Fees

»Posted by on Aug 26, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

Over the last few years of being in the travel industry I have witnessed great concern over increased airline fees that are now being imposed by most airlines. Unfortunately, the days of simply purchasing an airline ticket for a cost has come to an abrupt end.  Since 2008 when checked bag fees began to surface one doesn’t just purchase an airline ticket for the cost of the ticket.  Instead the airline ticket is purchased, but the passenger must adhere to additional expenses and funds are still to be spent on items and/or services that were previously conveniently included in the cost of the ticket.  If the traveler is not fortunate enough to be a premium class passenger, a military member on a mission or have a high frequent flier status they are not exempt...

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Airline Seat Assignments

»Posted by on Aug 25, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

For many travelers, the most important aspect of their trip is the seat assignment on the airplane. Some travelers want the exit row seats for more legroom, while others choose a seat based on class of service. Government travelers are not permitted to book First Class seats without high level agency approval based on Federal Travel Regulations; however, travelers are permitted to upgrade to First or Business Class seats using their frequent flyer reward programs. In our E Travel System we have two options for seat selection–travelers can select isle or window from a drop down menu; or, if one is available, the traveler can view a seat map of the airplane and select a specific seat. Unfortunately, their seat selection is not guaranteed until their...

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City-Pair Program

»Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The City Pair Program began in 1980 with 11 city pairs and has grown to over 5,000 city pairs, both domestic and international.  These airfares are very competitive and saves the government an estimated 50% to 70%.  The City Pair Program is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all government travelers.  Each year GSA awards contract fares for air fare for travelers on  official government travel under the city pair program.  These contract awards are based on the best overall value to the government, taking into consideration type, distribution, number of flights, flight time, and price. The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) requires government travelers to use a contract fare when available, use coach class service unless...

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What is Economy Plus?

»Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in Airlines, Industry Postings | 0 comments

Commercial airlines have varied prices for seating in different parts of an airplane. The Department of Defense (DoD) typically requires coach (economy) class travel accommodations be used when performing official government travel. Changes effective as of December 2009 to the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR), for DoD Civilians, and the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR), for the uniformed services, allow the “Economy Plus” type upgrades to be authorized by an Approving Official (AO). The AO must determine that accommodations are in the Government’s interest and/or necessary because the traveler is limited by a special need, such as needing additional legroom, that other lesser-cost (economy/coach) accommodations could not be used to meet. In addition to...

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Identifying and Capturing Air and Hotel Charges in an Accounting System

»Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Airlines, Hotels | 0 comments

This posting will be a discussion regarding how an interface between an EGOV Travel application and an accounting system identifies and captures expenditures for air and hotel charges.  First, the discussion will regard the identification and mapping of the air and hotel charges in the EGOV Travel application.  Secondly, the discussion will focus on the capturing and reporting options for the air and hotel charges in the accounting system. In the EGOV Travel application, the traveler selects the appropriate air tickets in the reservation module.  The cost of the tickets automatically populates upon the legs being selected, and the Travel Management Center (TMC) fee also pulls in once the tickets are booked.    The hotel room rate is automatically...

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Depleting the Unused Ticket Bank

»Posted by on Aug 3, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

It’s a known fact that keeping track of employee’s unused tickets is undeniably difficult.  Most companies struggle with employees who will purchase and or cancel directly with the airlines (usually against company policy), or those that chose not to do anything when a trip is cancelled.  If and when these situations occur, Travel Management Companies cannot obtain ticket information for future use.   Travelers often don’t say anything until they receive their credit card statement and are seeking compensation for the cancelled trip. Due to the many tickets that are written off due to lack of re-use or not recalled by the TMC, our organization needed to come up with a sure fire way to use up the hundreds of tickets before they expire.   We have...

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Using Premium Class Fares for Official Government Travel

»Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Government traveler needs to be conscientious in arranging for travel accommodations.  I compile the data for our agency’s Use of Premium Class Travel Report.  In reviewing the data provided by our Travel Management Center and speaking with the travelers, I find that several travelers are not aware when a portion of their airfare is classified as premium-class.  Sometimes the fares are automatically upgraded by the airline for one segment of a trip.  An upgrade in classification for this purpose is not an acceptable justification unless a qualifying circumstance also exists and the agency specifically approves this use in advance. The traveler on official Government business is required to use coach-class or economy-class accommodations for...

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Why Use the City Pair Program?

»Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

Often travelers question why they must use the “City Pair Program” by choosing contract flights for their travel.  I will briefly try to justify the benefits and reasons for the Government’s use of the “City Pair Program”. One obvious benefit of using the City Pair Program for airline flights is that there are no penalties to Government travelers.  For example, if one’s travel is cancelled at the last minute, the agency does not need to pay a hefty cancellation or change fee.  This is one of the reasons why the contract City Pair Program airline fares are priced higher than the typical fare one would find at Orbitz or Travelocity.  The fares that one usually books for personal travel are penalty-laden, and full of restrictions.  Using the contract...

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E Gov Travel – The Transition and Training Process

»Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Beginning in September of 2004, our agency began converting our customers from the legacy travel system to the new E Gov Travel system.  With approximately thirty agencies to convert, we completed the transition within a twelve month time-frame.  Even though this schedule was quite intense, we were able to complete this transition successfully due to the cooperation of everyone involved, the organization of a well thought out project plan, and a detailed training plan. For each customer to convert from the legacy system to the new one, there were two people in our agency assigned to lead each team.  We were responsible for performing all of the background maintenance tasks, such as routing lists, the people table, and security groups. We also trained all...

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The Impact of Unintended Consequences on Government Travel

»Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The “law of unintended consequences” (also called the “law of unforeseen consequences“) states that any purposeful action will produce some unintended results.  Deregulation was intended to increase competition and reduce costs.  Government travel policy experts had probably been hopeful that reduced costs and increased flights and airlines would make government travel easier and less expensive.  However, there were significant and unanticipated effects on government travel as a result of deregulation. In 1978, when the Airline Deregulation Act was enacted, the airline industry was delighted to be free of the controls (particularly rates which directly impacted their profits and ability to expand) enforced by the Civil Aeronautics...

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GSA’s City Pair Program

»Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The City Pair Program was developed in 1980 for use by all government travelers. The program saves the government an estimated 50% to 70% off unrestricted coach fares.  Because the fares are so appealing, the airlines insist that only government travelers on official business use these rates.  Furthermore, City Program fares can only be purchased by using the government issued travel charge card or in special circumstances, the Government Transportation Request (GTR). The City Pair Program is contracted and administered by General Services Administration (GSA).  Awards to airlines are made after evaluating both quality of services and price.  This allows an award to be made to a higher priced carrier that has superior service. Besides the obvious financial...

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City Pair Program

»Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Airlines, Contracting for Travel Services, Industry Postings | 0 comments

The City Pair Program (CPP) is contracted and administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all government travelers.  The program was established in 1980 and has helped save taxpayer dollars over the years.  The CPP offers one-way flights so travelers are able to take multiple destination trips. The benefits of using the City Pair Program are, but not limited to: Fully Refundable Tickets No Penalties for Rebooking Prices are in effect for one year Capacity Fares Availability The use of the City Pair Program is mandatory for most government travelers.  However, there are exceptions in which a CPP fare doesn’t have to be used.  If a scheduled flight or space is not available in order to reach a travelers’ destination on time, then...

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Prudence or Prudent – How is it applied?

»Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Airlines, Business Practices, Government Traveler Comments, Hotels, Industry Postings, Rental Cars, White Papers | 0 comments

For those of us who work for the government and with travel policy, we have heard the words “prudence” or “prudent” many times.  What do these words mean and more importantly, what do they mean to each of us as individuals? Dictionaries give us many definitions for prudence and prudent.  Care, caution, discretion, frugal, responsible, sensible, and thrifty are a few of the definitions for these words.  How are they applied by the government traveler? What does the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) say about being prudent?  FTR 301-10.123 basically states that the prudent person should use the same care in incurring expenses that would be spent on personal travel.  Most individuals use their personal money wisely and try to get the most value from their...

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Airline Code-Shares

»Posted by on Dec 2, 2012 in Airlines | 0 comments

Most airlines participate in some type of commercial code-share agreement.  These agreements allow carriers to expand their service offerings without additional resources, equipment and costs. A code share is an agreement between airlines that allows the sale of seats by a partner airline on another airline’s flight as if the flight were its own.  Code shares can provide a cost-effective way for a carrier to enter new markets by using the facilities and operations of a partner carrier. This can be misleading for travelers who believe they’ve purchased a ticket on one airline only to discover they are actually flying another. Or worse, when that traveler believes they are staying on a single airline on a multi-leg trip only to discover that they are...

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Reducing the Cost of Federal Air Travel

»Posted by on Nov 25, 2012 in Airlines, Contracting for Travel Services | 0 comments

The success of GSA’s contract City Pair Program (CPP) is widely acknowledged and well documented.  The CPP has now “expanded … to include 13 carriers in over 5,700 markets.”  GSA estimates that “CPP fares will provide average savings of 68% below full, commercial air fares” and that the program “is projected to provide the Federal Government cost avoidance and potential savings of $6.3 billion in fiscal year 2011.” (1)  While this number is significant on its own, it becomes even more impressive when compared to the $3.4 billion estimated cost for all federal travel in 2006. (2) In order to keep the program’s fares to a minimum, the government has mandated use of CPP fares through the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR).  While there are certain...

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A Matter of Ethics

»Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Airlines, Business Practices, Hotels, Payment Methods, Rental Cars | 0 comments

Government travel represents only a small portion of government spending.  When dealing with taxpayer dollars however, government employees are and should be held highly accountable.  The government traveler should exercise the highest level of ethical behavior to avoid any repercussions that could arise from public perception.  The newspapers and television stations are always anxious to report stories concerning government officials using the taxpayer’s money to fund personal vacations or lavish accommodations stating it was for official government business.  And that, my fellow Americans, is the fleecing of America.  Consistent enforcement of travel policies is needed to ensure waste, fraud, or abuse does not occur and also to avoid even the...

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E-Tickets

»Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in Airlines, Business Practices | 0 comments

The sight of travelers frantically searching for their tickets has become rare at airports in recent years. That’s because more people are relying on electronic tickets, or e-tickets, when they fly. E-ticket is now the main method of issuing tickets for the vast majority of airlines. It’s a secure form of ticketing that makes travel plans less cumbersome and more efficient for the traveler. The travel data is all stored electronically in the Global Distribution System (GDS) or the airlines reservation system. Passengers can, at any time, print their e-ticket receipt from the airlines web site. In addition, a passenger with an e-ticket can check in faster by just producing the e-ticket print out and an appropriate ID. E-tickets issued through the E Gov Travel...

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Contract City Pair Fares

»Posted by on Mar 31, 2012 in Airlines | 0 comments

Most of my experience comes to play on the audit end of the travel spectrum. I have 20 + years experience working in the finance arena; and currently serve as my Bureau’s travel ‘expert.’ I work a lot on the internal review or audit side of the house, as well as provide TDY travel training internally. One of the major items I stress to travelers is the usage of the Contract City Pair Fares (CCP’s), and not only is the government traveler mandated to utilize them by the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR); there are multiple benefits to them as well. One of the major benefits to utilizing CCP’s is the ability to make changes to your reservations without penalties up until the ticketing date at no additional charges. In my agency we ticket 2 business days...

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Special Needs for Travelers: Two Seats

»Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) authorizes additional travel and transportation expenses for those with disabilities or special needs.  In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, these provisions are intended to accommodate an employee with a special need or disability. These provisions are intended to accommodate an employee with a disability or special need by providing for reimbursement of necessary additional travel and transportation expenses incurred in the performance of official travel. The JTR also authorizes employees with a disability o r special need to be reimbursed for travel expenses when using Premium Class Travel. The premium class accommodations may be authorized by an approving official if the travel presents a medical...

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City Pair Program (CPP)

»Posted by on Aug 8, 2011 in Airlines | 0 comments

As a government traveler, I appreciate the City-Pair Program (CPP) administered by the General Services Administration (GSA).  I was surprised to learn that the CPP only represents 2% of the airline business.  This number may be larger today with the down economy and fewer leisure travelers.  At least in my line of work – facility inspections – travel is a necessary part of the job.  Thus, the many benefits of the CPP are routinely utilized.  There have been many times when I have had to change or cancel my flight itinerary and the no fee penalty and fully refundable ticket benefits for YCA Fares have definitely saved my agency a lot of money.  Recently, however, I have noticed both for myself and fellow colleagues that non-contract carriers frequently...

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Debit Memos

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in Airlines | 1 comment

My supervisor calls me the debit memo queen.  This is because I believe in staying on top of debit memo’s as they are received and believe it or not I actually enjoy the task.  I began working with debit memos for the purpose of assisting account managers with timely resolution and to keep the total amount of outstanding memos to a minimum.  Before I began working with debit memos our ARC team would forward all of those incoming to the proper account manager as they were received.  Due to the vast responsibilities of the managers such as ensuring 100% customer satisfaction, keeping staffing properly balanced, providing guidance to agents, and being on the front line in regards to ticketing procedures memo’s easily became a burden for them.  Dealing with...

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