CPP Reviewed

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» 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 flights, while the airlines have a predictable and stable market share volume.” Society of Government Travel Professionals, Certified Government Travel Professional Training Course, 45 (2007-2010).
Nonetheless, further scrutiny of the Program is merited. One aspect of the Program that should be looked at more closely is the mandatory nature of the use of the City Pair Program by most government TDY travelers. Although known exceptions exist, many government TDY travelers believe they may end up changing the flight, making them think the CPP ticket is the better option. But this does not always make the most financial sense for the government.
For example, on March 31, 2012, I searched for airfare from TYS to DCA. The CPP price is $1258.00 if they go April 2, 2012 and return on April 4, 2012. The nonrefundable ticket price is $821.00 for those same dates. Of course, any ticket change penalty is 150.00. Therefore, if the government TDY traveler would change the ticket just once, the price for the nonrefundable ticket would be $971.00. Even if the government TDY traveler would change it twice, the price would be $1121.00. This means that even with two changes, the eventual price, plus the change fee(s), would still be cheaper than the CPP ticket by $137.00. Consequently, because of the mandatory nature of the CPP program and the idea that the non-CPP tickets are nonrefundable, many government TDY travelers do not realize that by sticking with the CPP fare, a lot of times they are actually costing the federal government more money.

By: Ian Petrulli

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