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 no advance purchase, the tickets are fully refundable, and there are no penalties or fees for re-booking, re-ticketing or ticket cancellation.  If you are comparing City Pair fares to economy fares, then you are comparing apples to oranges, as the old saying goes.

I have often heard comments about it being less expensive to use economy fares than City Pair fares.  If all you do is compare the ticket price of the economy fare to the ticket price of the City Pair fare, then that is very likely true.

But there are additional costs associated with widespread use of economy fares that many travelers do not consider.  An example of an additional cost associated with an economy fare occurs if a ticket has to be canceled or changed, invoking penalties/fees.  Since economy fares very often require advance purchase, any change between purchase and travel will very likely create additional cost.  As compared to City Pair fares, which can be reserved and held far in advance of travel dates, with ticket purchase not occurring until two or three days prior to travel.  There is also additional administration involved with tracking and justifying the penalties/fees associated with economy fares.  For example, when is it the responsibility of the traveler to pay for the penalties/fees or additional tickets; and when should the traveler’s agency assume these costs?

By:  Kevin Young

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