City Pair Program

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» 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 restrictions.

These tiered programs are restrictive and cumbersome to manage hampering the many cost savings initiatives that are incorporated into travel programs. Some of these cost saving initiatives are impeded by drastic changes including additional baggage fees, blackout dates, preferred seating fees, on board amenities, and increased ticketing change fees.  In contrast, the CPP offers no advance purchase requirement, no blackout dates, all tickets are fully refundable or other penalties associated with the airfare.

While many cost saving initiatives are incorporated into travel programs, we also struggle with rising costs of purchasing travel under the Fly America Act.   In most cases with codesharing the foreign carrier offers a significantly lower airfare for the same trip.   The Fly America Act requires all ticket purchases to be issued on the American carrier ticket stock which means we purchase the higher airfare.  This appears, to employees and government sponsors, that our cost savings measures are lacking.

After all, we are also using taxpayer dollars to purchase travel.

by Stefanie Tretola

 

 

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