Changes in Government Travel

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» Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in History and Overview | 0 comments

It is amazing how far the Travel Services and related services like hotels & rent a car have changed since the late seventies.  Government travelers used to buy their tickets from SATO with no choice of carrier or price given to them.  In 1978, deregulation happened.  Government officials realized that they have a very strong buying power as the single largest corporation to purchase airline tickets; thus, in 1980, the government started negotiations on a program called CITY PAIR in which they allowed airlines to compete between 2 points for the government business.  The progress was phenomenal from 11 city pairs to over 5000 city pairs now.

Airlines developed Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) to help them manage their bookings and yields.  These systems developed later into powerful Global Distribution Systems (GDS) with 3 major GDS’s around; AMADEUS (based on the old System One), SABRE (based on American Airlines system), TRAVEL PORT (includes Galileo {based on United Airlines Apollo} and recently added Worldspan {based on Delta Air Lines System}.  These GDS’s are under the DOT supervision in order to prevent biased toward one carrier over another.

Through these powerful GDS’s systems, reservations progressed, not only booking a flight and making a ticket (lately tickets became electronic) was possible but in addition you can book a particular seat on the plane, book a special meal, a wheelchair for people with special needs, book a hotel room and Rent a Car.  In one action you could do all the above and serve your customer well.

The Government removed the prohibition on using travel agents to procure travel services in 1984 and started using Lodged Credit cards to pay for their purchases to alleviate the burden on travel agents who usually pay the ARC every week since the airlines now will have to charge the credit card for the value of tickets instead of agents.

Two other programs followed; in 1986 SDDC was tasked to handle the Rent a Car issues like discounted rates, unlimited mileage & CDW.  Responsibility for the rent a car agreement has been assigned to Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO).  The 2nd program also followed with regulations for the hotel industry by issuing the “Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990”.

In conclusion we can say that the government has succeeded in revamping the government travel to its advantage by using all of the above mentioned programs and facilities.

By Metri Altwal

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