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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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TIME FOR CHANGE

»Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

CHANGE is defined by Merriam Webster as “to make different or to replace with another”. Change is something that affects people in different ways. Some people love change. Others have issues with change. Like it or not, change happens. If we did not change, we would still be using pen and paper. When a child is born, the baby changes every day, beginning with their first smile. Then it’s on to their first word and then the first step! Businesses have to be willing to make changes in order to be successful. The same concept applies to government, especially to the travel world. I started my government career ten years ago. There have been quite a few changes in those ten years. Change was happening when I started. At that time, my agency was converting to a...

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Hotels Embracing Technology

»Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Hotels, Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

From what I’ve been reading lately, it looks like the hotel industry is stepping up to the plate when it comes to implementing some of the emerging technologies into their business. Now I know my way around a computer quite well, but I’m not the most tech savvy person when it comes to all of these devices out there. However, even a novice techie will be able to benefit from some of these new technological enhancements being implemented by various hotels. As a Federal traveler, I recognize some of these hotel brands as participants in the FedRooms program so I know we will have the chance to experience some of these advancements in the near future. Travelers may have already encountered some of these. One example of this new technology is a new door lock...

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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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Developing Interface Requirements for an E-GOV Travel Application and Accounting System

»Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Many aspects surround developing an interface between an EGOV travel application and a financial system.  Understanding the type of documents the EGOV travel application produces and how the financial system handles each document type is very important.  Determining the vendors required for each transaction type is also essential in this assessment.  Accounting requirements of the financial system will also have a significant impact on the design of an interface.  The type of travel specific information passed to the accounting system is important and has great impact on the reporting capabilities of the financial system. The basic document types an EGOV travel application can produce include an authorization, a temporary duty voucher, a local voucher, and...

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International Date Line & Per Diem

»Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Have you ever flown from the United States to Japan? Or how about to Beijing, China? If so, then you have crossed the International Date Line. Now you may be wondering, “What is the International Date Line?” The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and determines one calendar day from the next. However, the time difference between either sides of the IDL is not always exactly 24 hours because of local time zone variations. While the world is divided into 24 time zones, there has to be a place where there is a difference in days, somewhere the day truly “starts” on the planet. Thus, the 180° line of longitude, exactly one-half way around the planet from...

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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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Travel and Government Quarters

»Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Hotels, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 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. Several suggestions have been submitted that relate to Government travel. One suggestion that was submitted was that the agency should require that Government quarters be used because they are much less expensive than commercial lodging. This paper provides an overview of what the regulations state about the requirements to use Government quarters. In accordance with the Department of Defense (DoD) Financial Management Regulation (FMR) Volume 9, Chapter 5, the orders for travelers must specify the actual TDY duty location For example, if a...

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Proper Use of a Government Issued Travel Charge Card

»Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Industry Postings, Payment Methods, White Papers | 0 comments

In today’s world of instability and financial woes, people are struggling to survive.  Government employees are included in those people who are struggling.  People are relying more and more on credit cards to get by in this tough economic time.  That is why this is the perfect time to review the proper use of a government issued travel charge card. The number one thing for cardholders to remember is that the government issued travel charge card is to be used for “official government travel only”.  Even though the charge card is in the cardholders’ name and goes against their personal credit history, it is still only to be used for government travel.  It is hard for some individuals to understand that since the financial responsibility of the card is...

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Promoting Efficient Travel Spending

»Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Hotels, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 1 comment

Last year I wrote about the emphasis on reduced travel budgets and gaining cost savings and efficiencies related to Federal Government travel.  Since that time, the Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have further reduced travel funding.  The President signed an Executive Order entitled “Promoting Efficient Spending” dated November 9, 2011 asking agencies to review policies and procedures to find savings and efficiencies related to official travel, and in other areas such as fleet, IT and printing.  The Order calls for reductions of not less than 20% below fiscal year 2010 budget totals, effective by 2013. The Order states: “As they serve taxpayers, executive departments and agencies also must act in a fiscally responsible...

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Approving Official’s Responsibilities

»Posted by on Jul 5, 2014 in Business Practices, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

The responsibilities of an Approving Official include a variety of knowledge and understanding in the Federal Travel Regulations. Even though the traveler must also have knowledge of the FTR and agency travel policies to ensure their travel claims are entered correctly within the guidelines of the policies, the ultimate responsibility for verifying expenses are valid and necessary for official business and meet the agency’s mission lies with the approver. Along with the FTR the approver should be knowledgeable of their agency’s inner policies and that their travelers abide by them as well. When reviewing authorizations the Approving Official should make sure the traveler has entered reservations and expenses as any prudent traveler would, in making sure...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Post payment auditing is a service we provide to our customers. These audits are performed using the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR). Our goal is to make sure that the travelers are reimbursed in accordance with the FTR. The Post payment auditing that we perform is on the voucher in the E-Gov Travel Service System and our accounting system. We conduct the audits using a Statistical sampling checklist, which is used on each voucher that is sampled. The amount of audits conducted can vary from month to month. This is determined by the number of vouchers that were paid the previous month. The vouchers are reviewed using the Statistical Sampling Checklist, which outlines multiple items to ensure the voucher is in compliance with the FTR. The voucher is...

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Government Travel Management – An Overview

»Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Industry Postings, White Papers | 0 comments

Due to the deregulation act of 1978, the airline markets opened up for more choices, better pricing, more schedules to choose from. Competition became more evident. However, the down side to this change is fuller flights, tighter security and baggage concerns. From the airline industry side, many small carriers were unable to keep up to the constant changes and many carriers found themselves in bankruptcy and mergers. Several large carriers were also forced into mergers in order to continue with the ever changing demands of the public. Where this deregulation has been the best for the industry is still being debated. Government spending for airline travel is reported to be $3.4 billion in 2006. And as Corporations became more watchful of the pricing changes,...

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Going, Going, Gone — Going Green

»Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Have you completed a GSA Form 87, SF 1012, or SF1164 lately? If you have traveled for the federal government then you have used these forms for obtaining authorization and reimbursement for official government travel. Even though these forms are still valid today, the forms numbers themselves are not nearly as recallable or visible due to the use of electronic travel systems. Several laws and initiatives over the past decades have been put in place to move the federal government toward a paperless and green environment. All of these initiatives are focused on a common goal of saving the environment and reducing government spending – saving taxpayer dollars – while securing and protecting information. The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)...

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An Evolving Role of a Travel Manager on a Shrinking Travel Budget

»Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Back in the days, you will say, we are in the airline business, being politically correct now you will have to say, we are in the transportation business. Because transportation – not airline and aircraft – is what the customer buys. The Travel Manager’s role in these specialized environments varies and keeps on evolving. In this day and age, to capture Travel and Expense data will need all the tools to generate reports from the system to assist Travel Managers to understand how travel is purchased and managed. With the right integration of tools, Travel Managers will make important choices of how to use their travel budget wisely. The new age of data aggregation is Travel Manager’s best friend. On my “Seize to Spend” forum paper under Business Data...

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Planning a Government Business Trip

»Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Government travelers within my agency are required to use an electronic travel system to book business trips. The first step a traveler must take after being hired into a position with the government is to provide their direct deposit banking information to the office that will be issuing their travel payments. If required by the agency, the traveler should apply for their government issued credit card before traveling. This information is stored in the traveler’s profile and his/her travel reservations, along with some other expenses, will automatically be charged to their government issued credit card. Based on the automated travel system my agency uses, the first step is to gain access to the travel system by a one-time registration process. A first time...

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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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The Future of Government Travel and Customer Service

»Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, White Papers | 0 comments

The future of government travel and travel planning depends on the successful integration of the Electronic Travel Systems (ETS) with the Travel Management Center (TMC) in order for the government traveler and the government as a whole, to achieve ultimate satisfaction in customer service and price. In 1998, the Defense Travel System (DTS) was developed. The system was designed to provide end-to-end authorization, travel reservations and the voucher filing processes in compliance with the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) and, a number of financial systems. The system was designed to accommodate up to 3.5 million DoD military and civilian travelers with distinct travel requirements. In 2002, GSA introduced the ETS for civilian agencies. Like the DTS, it was...

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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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Passports . . . Are you handicapped too?

»Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Government Traveler Comments, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

My husband and I talked about visiting Canada a few years ago to see Niagara Falls, but now we can’t. My sister moved to Australia two years ago and I would love to visit “the land down under”, but I can’t. You may be saying, “Why can’t you? Are you handicapped?”. Well I do have a condition that prevents me from going. I don’t have a passport. However, in a few weeks that’s going to change. I thought getting a passport was going to require a bunch of red tape, but I was wrong. I did have to gather up some information and get some things done, but it was really a simple process. I wish I had done it sooner. I picked up an application form at my local U.S. Post office. The form is called a DS-11: Application For A U.S. Passport and can also be...

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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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Post Payment Audit (Sampling) of Travel Vouchers

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Business Practices, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 2 comments

Our division as well as many others, has developed a simple sampling (audit) plan for conducting quality control  reviews in compliance with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), the ARC Travel Program Guide, and Government Accountability Office (GAO) Guidelines.  The main objective is to ensure travel and travel payments are in compliance as determined by the FTR.  Our staff will complete a Travel Voucher Statistical Sampling Checklist on each document selected for audit. At the beginning of each month a random selection of documents is made from vouchers paid the previous month.  The Travel Voucher Statistical Sampling Checklist comprised of multiple tests per document is conducted on each randomly selected document.  The Statistical Checklist is comprised...

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Consolidation of Travel Policies

»Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Business Practices, Industry Postings, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

The volume of information presently available from a variety of web-based sources is immeasurable. With hundreds of millions of websites presently in existence, practically any topic imaginable is likely to yield more search results than the person running the query is capable of processing. For example, a simple query for “US government travel policies” using the Bing search engine yielded approximately 407 million results. The same search on Google yielded 875 million results. Regardless of the mass quantities of direct and indirect results to any given search, there remain gaps of knowledge when it comes to government travel policies. Government travelers and travel vendors presently have the ability to easily access rules and regulations as set forth in...

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