First Class and Business Class Travel

» Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 in Airlines | 0 comments

We are a government agency and provide reimbursable administrative services to other government agencies. Of course, the service line I work for is travel. We support the E-Gov Travel initiatives with a customer support desk. We average about 5,000 calls per month, with most of them being about the system, but quite a few involve travel policy.

The majority of these are in the category of airfare and the difference between contract fares (YCA), capacity controlled contract fares (-CA) and non-refundable fares. Frequent travelers understand the differences pretty well, but the vast majority of federal travelers are infrequent travelers and do not always understand what the requirements are for the types of airfares they can select. In addition to this, travelers often think they can take business or first class fares.

There are limited reasons in the FTR where this can be acceptable, but in general they are not allowed for the routine traveler. Some of you may have seen this issue on the news this week where the General Accounting Office conducted a study of first class and business class trips. The result was some cases were found where there was either no valid FTR justification to take these type of flights, or there was fraud in taking them.

Many of the people taking them were higher graded government officials and as a result of spending more taxpayer money than was necessary, GAO recommended in their report that the FTR should be amended to institute better controls in requesting business class and first class fares. As you saw in this section of the class, travelers can fly business or first class when the government is not paying for it.

This is generally done by travelers using their frequent flier mileage points. Even though this is permissable, those travelers in the GAO report were not doing this, and even if they had done so, they were so high up the ladder that even the appearance of flying first class for them may not be worth the publicity.

We strive to educate our travelers in the correct procedures for flying for the government. And as can be seen, sometimes these points can make the national news.

Here is the link in the event you want to read the GAO Report:

By Daniel Carozza

“The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily relfect the position of the Bureau of the Public Debt, or the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

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