Posts Tagged "ftr"

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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...

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Government Travel Policy Administration

»Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

My agency’s helpdesk not only supports our selected E-Gov Travel system, but all the associated questions that go along with it. A primary area is the Federal Travel Regulations. While seemingly straight-forward, there are many gray areas that are left to agency discretion. In fact, there are about 14 areas in the FTR that an agency must have a policy about such as the size of rental car to authorize, the amount of telephone calls to reimburse, the transportation method most advantageous to the government, etc. Often there is a something different to a policy question that makes it unique and has to be researched. In order to accomplish this, we have a Departmental travel contact for the agency’s Bureaus that assits. After that, we verify with...

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ETS and Culture Change

»Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

When the ETS became mandatory at our agency, we found that there were several unpleasant surprises that had been lurking under the safety of our diffused paper processes.  A definite advantage of the ETS is that it made it much more difficult for various offices to operate their fiefdoms outside of the internal regulations and policies, and in some cases even appropriation law.  Where there was no political will to correct such violations, the ETS provided  an effective mechanism for bringing all parts of the organization into compliance. When we were in the initial pilot format, and the problems became more acute and obvious shortly after we required mandatory use of the system agency-side, we discovered several problems in our internal practices.  Many...

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The E-Travel Service

»Posted by on Dec 13, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) mandated all government agencies utilize a Travel Management System (TMS) in 2001.  The introduction of electronic travel systems for civilian government agencies was initiated in 2002 by the General Services Administration (GSA) to create an end-to-end travel service to connect travel authorizations, reservations, and the voucher process.  It was initially called the e-Travel Project; and evolved into the present E-Gov Travel Service (ETS). Federal travelers are required to use a Travel Management Service (TMS) and their ETS. In 2003 the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) were published to state in Chapter 301-50:3 that travelers must use the ETS once it becomes available through their TMS.  However, for reasons beyond my...

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ETS Receipt Management Tool

»Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Payment Methods | 0 comments

On September 22, 2006 the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) was amended to mandate the use of the Receipt Management tool within an Electronic Travel System (ETS).  Within the Per Diem section of the FTR a statement was added, which states that hard copy, receipts should be electronically scanned and submitted with your electronic travel claim when your agency has this capability available with the use of the ETS.  Additionally it is stated that Approving Officials are now required to review the attached electronic receipts during their review/approval process. At our agency, Travelers are responsible for making sure that their receipts are attached correctly and the attachment is legible.  All receipts for air, lodging, rental car, and any single expense greater...

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Procurement and Management, the Federal Travel Disconnect

»Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

When considering travel programs, program management and procurement are both essential.  Once travel is procured, the role of the program manager is to focus on getting the maximum value from any and all negotiated agreements through careful follow up, tracking, and compliance monitoring. In turn, suppliers are more inclined to offer better deals if they believe the corporate client closely tracks usage, trains travelers, and communicates policy in ways that lead to significantly higher compliance levels.  It is the combination of procurement and program management that leads to effective overall travel programs.  In this paper I explore and assess the federal government’s approach to procurement and program management, and offer recommendations to...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in History and Overview | 0 comments

There are numerous guidelines available to Federal travelers and the staff who administer the payment of that travel voucher. I feel that the most important of the tools available is the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Chapters 300 – 304. The FTR administers the laws governing travel allowances and entitlements for federal employees. The FTR covers travel from who is considered a federal traveler; to how travel should be booked, through the payment process. The FTR mandates that all federal travel should be made using a Travel Management Center (TMC), and paid for utilizing the government issued charge card. This means that the traveler is not permitted to charge official expenses on a personal card. This also allows for...

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Airlines, Hotels, and the TMC

»Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Airlines, Hotels, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To ensure the value a TMC can bring to government travelers and all governments agencies, a TMC must understand the regulations and rules and that influence airfare and hotel reservations on an ongoing basis.  CPP, City Pair Program, and understanding the difference between YCA, _CA, and _CB air fares is most important for TMC agents booking each government traveler with an air itinerary.  It is a TMC’s responsibility to know how to get the CPP contract, display the options in the GDS, and follow each specific government agencies rules for approval and ticketing.  Other essential knowledge for booking airfare for government travelers is interpreting and applying the Fly America Act, the Airline Open Skies Agreements, airline code shares, frequent flyer...

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Using the TMC/ETS

»Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

Most government employees who travel on official government business know that they are supposed to use the TMC and ETS, but many may not know why they should do so.  American Express, SATO and for the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), National Travel, are the TMC’s used when booking travel through GovTrip.  There are many popular travel sites available for booking trips:  Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz, just to name a few.  Also, many airlines offer the service of booking directly through their websites.  While doing so may take less time and in some cases, may be significantly less expensive, there are risks involved that many may not be aware of. Perhaps the most important advantage of booking travel through the TMC is that unused tickets are fully...

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Airline City Pair Program

»Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in Airlines | 0 comments

It appears that there are still a few Federal Travelers still having a hard time grasping the benefits and functions of the GSA City Pair Program.  The program has been extremely successful, starting over 30 years ago when they had originally covered only 11 markets and now have expanded to over 5,000 city pairs.  Yet still, the average Federal Traveler automatically wants to compare these flights to the ones that they can find out on the internet through sites such as; Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz.  It only makes matters worse when these airlines try enticing them through commercials and advertisements with their great deals that no one would want to pass up, especially when it is the airline of your choice.  Finding a cheaper fare that is...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Policies and procedures set forth in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) insure accountability of taxpayer’s money. The Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) is contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapters 300-304.  The purpose of the FTR is to interpret policy requirements to insure that official travel is conducted in a responsible, most cost effective manner.  It also strives to communicate the policies in a clear manner to Federal agencies and employees. The FTR sets forth the rules and regulations applicable to employees traveling on behalf of the U.S. Government.  It administers the laws governing travel allowances and entitlements for Federal employees.  The FTR contains information on mode of transportation, per diem, and miscellaneous...

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Roles and Responsibilities in Travel Management

»Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Not long after graduating college, I became a travel specialist. At the time I saw it as just a stepping stone to my career that would eventually lead me to a job more closely related to my major.  I now realize that when I started I had no idea how large the travel field was, and all of the parts involved.  I thought it was simply learning how to use the ETS system and being able to read a few regulations, with no regards to the other pieces involved.  It takes a great deal of cooperation from a number of individuals, teams and offices to effectively manage a Government travel management program.  These different components work together in varying degrees.  Some may not work directly at all, yet they indirectly have an affect on the work of others.  These...

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The Evolution of Government Travel

»Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

Twenty years ago I was assigned to the office that was responsible for travel processing.  In 1989 very few employees had computers and most of the work continued to be done as it had been for decades – by paper.   At that time a traveler would work with their secretary to complete a multi-carbon copy travel authorization.  The per diem rates were looked up in a GSA published book and the secretary would complete the estimates after calling the airline and hotel to make reservations.  Once the paper authorization or voucher was completed it was sent to several people for signature and eventually ended up in the Finance Office. Once the Finance Office received the documents, a technician verified the per diem rates and quarter day calculations for first and...

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Promoting Efficient Travel Spending

»Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Hotels, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 1 comment

Last year I wrote about the emphasis on reduced travel budgets and gaining cost savings and efficiencies related to Federal Government travel.  Since that time, the Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have further reduced travel funding.  The President signed an Executive Order entitled “Promoting Efficient Spending” dated November 9, 2011 asking agencies to review policies and procedures to find savings and efficiencies related to official travel, and in other areas such as fleet, IT and printing.  The Order calls for reductions of not less than 20% below fiscal year 2010 budget totals, effective by 2013. The Order states: “As they serve taxpayers, executive departments and agencies also must act in a fiscally responsible...

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FTR Workshop

»Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, History and Overview, Payment Methods | 0 comments

In January of this year I had the privileged opportunity to attend a FTR Workshop, which was hosted by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). GSA & DOD collaboratively enlisted the help of an outside contractor to assist with the task of researching the feasibility of creating a streamlined and updated Federal Travel Regulation draft. Any new draft of the FTR would need to be approved by various high-level government entities, including OMB, and the US Congress on Capitol Hill. During the FTR workshop, the brainstorming sessions became very interesting, as we discussed various possible directions we could take with regards to the FTR. One of the options mentioned (and the most favorable) was to eliminate a lot of the...

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Why Federal Travelers Should Not Use a Commercial Internet Site to Book Reservations

»Posted by on Jul 10, 2014 in Business Practices | 0 comments

The prudent person rule in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) requires travelers to take the same care in incurring travel expenses as they would if they were traveling on personal business.  The FTR mandates the use of the electronic travel system (ETS) for travel reservations and the use of city pair fares for flights.  However, it should be noted that there is a provision within the FTR which allows the traveler an approved exception to either one of these mandates. The City Pair Program (CPP) which was developed by the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide discounted air transportation services to Federal Government travelers with an average savings of 60-69% below commercial air fares.  The CPP is projected to save the Federal Government...

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GSA City Pair Fares and Government Fares

»Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Airlines, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

There are two types of government fares that our travelers can book in the E Travel System, GSA City Pair Fares and Government fares. In 1980 the General Services Administration (GSA) developed the City Pair Program (CPP) to provide discounted air passenger transportation services to Federal government travelers. In the beginning, this service only covered 11 markets, but has grown to over 5,000 city pairs. The average savings is 63%-77% below commercial full fares. A critical aspect of travel planning is flexibility and the CPP has many features that allow Government travelers all the flexibility possible. Features of the Service include: Non-stop service was awarded on 95% of the markets where non-stop service was offered. Fares are priced on one-way routes,...

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E-Gov Travel Service Systems

»Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

E-Gov Travel is a government wide initiative that is mandated by the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) for all federal travelers and is one of 24 E-Gov initiatives outlined in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). The E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) vendors include Carlson Wagonlit Government Travel’s E2 Solutions, EDS’s FedTraveler and Northrop Grumman Mission System’s GovTrip. The vendor hosts and maintains the software and GSA administers the contract. ETS travel systems replaced several in-house systems, COTS software, and manual processes throughout government. The ETS systems are E-Gov travel and FTR compliant that requires no client installation and can be accessed 24/7 from the Internet. These systems embed the reservation component in the...

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Where to Draw the Line as an Authorizing Official

»Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Business Practices, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

As an authorizing official for my agency, there is so much I can say on what is right and wrong. A question I have for you is where do you need to draw the line with travel expenses? Yes, we are suppose to stick to the rules, but how about the people who expect you to break them and get you into trouble for their own selfish reasons… or should I say their own lazy ways. For example, parking at valet parking versus long term parking… In the name of I didn’t know… or having the person dropping the off park at the daily parking just to talk them in… and you are suppose to pay for the hourly parking in addition to mileage for the drop off? Seriously, I say! I believe in treating people fair and not matter what level you are the rules are the rules. The FTR...

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Government Travel Policy Administration II

»Posted by on Jun 14, 2014 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

My agency offers E-Gov travel reimbursable services to other government agencies as a means for them to more cost effectively provide travel and let’s the agency concentrate on their core mission. In support of this, we offer a travel Help Desk. Initially, our intent was to offer better service administrating E-Gov Travel and travel policy questions for our customers than we felt the vendors could provide, and we were able to accomplish this. (We were used to doing this even before E-Gov Travel). However we have noticed that our Helpdesk has expanded somewhat in the scope of questions being asked. We receive more than just the routing administration questions such as routing lists and group changes. Travelers have questions about finding the correct flights...

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Travel Industry Experience

»Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview | 0 comments

I have played a major role with the travel industry and can relate because of my more than twenty-four years in working in the industry.  At the very beginning of my travel career, I worked with a company called CATO (Combined Airlines Ticket Office).  Very similar to SATO, CATO was owned by fourteen different airlines and we supported such federal agencies as The Department of State.  I was responsible for reviewing airline charges on a large printed report that would deliver to our office from Diner’s Club, the excitement of moving to a paperless and automated travel process was very much welcomed by me. Even though General Services Administration (GSA) establishes policy and guidance for travel, agencies still struggle with internal guidance which allows a...

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E-Gov Travel Partnerships

»Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

E-Gov Travel is a Government-wide initiative that is mandated by the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) for all federal travelers and is one of 24 E-Gov initiatives outlined in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA). The E-Gov Travel vision is to deliver a unified, simplified service that delivers a cost-effective travel experience, supports excellent management and results in superior customer satisfaction. The E-Gov Travel goals are defined as follows: develop a government-wide, web based, world-class travel management service; establish a cost model that reduces or eliminates capital investment and minimizes total cost per transaction for the government; and create a policy environment based on the use of best travel management policies. The E-Gov Travel...

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eGov Travel System Featuring GovTrip

»Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

There are three choices when an agency selects an eGov Travel System.  The choices are; Carlson Wagonlit Government Travel’s E2Solutions, EDS’s Fed Traveler and Northrop Grumman Mission System’s GovTrip. All of the eGov Travel Systems meet the minimum requirements which were defined by General Services Administration (GSA), who awarded the contract.  This article will be referencing GovTrip. GovTrip forces the  travelers to comply with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR).  The FTR governs the expenses the traveler is allowed to claim and the requirements which must be met in order to conduct official travel on behalf of the Government.  An agency can have travel policy which is stricter than the FTR.  GovTrip can be set up to reflect some...

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Travel Professional Resources

»Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The Travel Departments of companies involved in the support to the US Federal Government are subject to Government regulations such as the FAR and FTR; however the interpretation of theses laws is very subjective to the T&E policy of each company.  Government Contractors need to educate their travelers by emulating the government communication process regarding Travel and Ethics training. According to the DCAA Contract Audit Manual, advanced planning for travel should be an integral part of the contractors internal travel policy.  Such planning to combine visits to the same geographical area into a single trip would minimize the use of above standard fares and accommodations  In 1985, legislation revised the costs allowability criteria from reasonable meals...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Business Practices, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

There are several resources that are available to both travelers and systems staff that guide and govern the federal government travel process.  One of the most important documents is the Federal Travel Regulations or FTR.  The FTR provides regulations on just about any aspect of travel that you can think of from how reservations are to be made, how they should be paid for and what expenses are allowable on the voucher. The FTR mandates that all reservations should be made using a Travel Management Center.  It also mandates that all reservations are to be paid for with the government travel card.  This means that the traveler isn’t permitted to charge official travel expenses on a personal card.  While there are additional benefits to the traveler by...

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A Traveler’s Choice

»Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations state that travelers have the right to choose their lodging as long as it is within agency policy.  When the traveler is booking hotel accommodations using the E-Gov electronic travel system (ETS) and has an individually billed government travel card (IBA), the traveler has the option to select the hotel they want to stay in giving first consideration to FedRooms.   However if the lodging is being charged to the Centrally Billed Account (CBA), the traveler may have to stay at an alternate hotel. When lodging is being charged to a non-point of sale CBA, someone within the agency that is authorized to use the CBA would need to place a telephone call to the hotel and reserve a room.  When calling to make a reservation, the only...

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Lodging

»Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Hotels | 0 comments

When a government employee is preparing to go on travel to conduct official government business, one question the person may ask is “Where am I going to stay”?  When it comes to selecting lodging, there are many regulations the government has established to try and be cost effective. The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) offers guidance concerning lodging for civilian government travelers.  Travelers are required to stay at hotels that are at or less than the per diem rate allowed.  Per diem rates consist of lodging, meals, and incidental expenses.  The per diem rates are released by the General Services Administration (GSA) after they have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Budget and Management (OMB).  The rates are reviewed and adjusted...

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Federal Agencies Partner with the Travel Management Center

»Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

A professional travel agency, the Travel Management Center (TMC), is the federal agency’s link to the travel industry.  The TMC agent is experienced in the use of the Gobal Distribution Systems (GDS) and is specially trained in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) to assist the federal traveler. As a partner with E-GovTravel Services (ETS), the TMC facilitates the federal agency in reserving and booking transportation and hotel services in compliance with the FTR. How does the TMC assist in arranging for travel accommodations?  The federal agency and the TMC establish a written agreement or ‘Business Rules’ defining their relationship for reservation assistance, automated and full service. The on-line booking feature of ETS initiates automated...

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Travel Policy and Compliance

»Posted by on Dec 1, 2013 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Travel policy for official Government travel is governed by the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) and those areas within the FTR that require/allow agency-specific policies to be instituted.  While travel policy has always been an integral part of the Federal travel process, travel policy became more visible with the advent of the current generation of E-Gov Travel systems, and continues to be very critical and visible as we progress towards the next generation of these systems. This is mainly due to the automated systems forcing travelers and approvers to be more in compliance with the FTR and agency policy. While a step in the right direction, this also seemed to generate even more travel policy questions and was a key factor in reorganizing our travel support...

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ETS Implementation

»Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

In 1995 my agency purchased the Gelco Travel Manager software and I worked on transitioning our travelers from a paper based manual system to a fully automated one that was hosted in-house.   Almost 10 years after implementing an electronic travel system, the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) were updated to require all government agencies to migrate to one of three ETS systems hosted by the vendor.  During those 10 years with Travel Manager the Bureau I work for began franchising accounting and travel services and we converted our 30 plus customers from a manual travel process to that of an automated one.  During those years, we supported our customers with training and a robust help desk.  In addition, we had developed a strong travel program that revolved...

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E-Gov Travel Simplifies Travel Voucher Processing

»Posted by on Oct 19, 2013 in Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

Implementation of E-Gov Travel simplifies the voucher processing. When I began my career in administrative accounting 19 years ago, our agency used the paper-based system for processing travel reimbursements. A traveler submitted a manually prepared travel voucher with original receipts to his/her approving official. The voucher and receipts arrived at the administrative office for payment by internal mail or hand delivery. Prior to issuing a reimbursement to the traveler, the administrative office reviewed the voucher and receipts. Every detail of the trip was analyzed for compliance to the Federal Travel Regulations and any pertinent accounting regulations to assure the claim for reimbursement was proper and valid for payment. Upon validation of the claim a...

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City-Pair Program

»Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The City Pair Program began in 1980 with 11 city pairs and has grown to over 5,000 city pairs, both domestic and international.  These airfares are very competitive and saves the government an estimated 50% to 70%.  The City Pair Program is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all government travelers.  Each year GSA awards contract fares for air fare for travelers on  official government travel under the city pair program.  These contract awards are based on the best overall value to the government, taking into consideration type, distribution, number of flights, flight time, and price. The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) requires government travelers to use a contract fare when available, use coach class service unless...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Government Traveler Comments, Payment Methods | 0 comments

The 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) chapters 300-304, of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) administer the laws that govern the travel allowances and entitlements for federal employees.  It implements provisions and statutes pertaining to per diem, travel and transportation allowances.  Amendments to the FTR are published in the Federal Register and the CFR.  The FTR has the force and effect of law. Training specific to these travel regulations is available from General Services Administration (GSA) and other federal training centers.  Each federal agency may have their own travel policy that includes regulations, procedures and business practices unique to their agency.  The Federal Travel Regulations take precedence over agency-specific...

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Communication

»Posted by on Jun 23, 2013 in Business Practices | 0 comments

Communication is a key ingredient in any business or aspect of life.  In our agency, one of our biggest assets is our ability to communicate well within our office, with the customers we service, and the communication between us and the vendors we work with on a daily basis.  We focus on high quality customer service.  Our travel helpdesk is staffed with technicians who are very knowledgeable in the E Gov Travel system and the Federal Travel Regulations. Our technicians answer any questions the traveler may have regarding the FTR or questions that pertain to the creation of documents in the E Gov Travel software.  Our customers have access to our helpdesk five days a week within the hours of 6:00am to 6:00pm.  The most common calls are from first time...

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Tracking Travel Expenditures

»Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

From my experience working with the federal government, they still have difficulty tracking their travel expenditures. “The government presently has very limited capability for management information reporting of its travel usage and spend.” This phrase appeared in the statement of objectives for GSA’s Business Travel Intelligence RFP in 2006. Although the government has the foundational tools (ETS/DTS), vendors (TMC/CTO, SmartPay) and processes (FTR) in place, they still are unable to determine how their money is spent to any degree of specificity. One key reason is that, unlike corporate clients who maintain a single travel agency for all transactions*, GSA allows each agency to contract with individual travel agencies. Having various travel agencies...

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ETS and the FTR

»Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

A major benefit of converting to an E-Gov travel system is that the system enforces travelers to comply with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR).  The FTR governs what expenses the traveler is allowed to claim and what requirements must be met in order to conduct official travel on behalf of the Government.  An agency may also have a travel policy which is stricter than the FTR.  The E-Gov travel system can also be set up to reflect some of the agency’s requirements in addition to the FTR requirements. Pre-audits have been built into the electronic system, which makes the travelers follow the guidelines. The E-Gov travel system has a built-in reservation module, which allows travelers/document preparers to select their airfare reservations.  Travelers...

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Personal Convenience is not an FTR Exception

»Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

When it comes to official government travel, there are so many regulations and procedures that must be followed on how to make your travel lodging reservations that it gets quite confusing.  Keep in mind that personal convenience, which is certainly what we would prefer, is not a Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) exception. First and foremost, we should be looking for a FedRoom facility.  Doing so will meet the FTR requirement of giving first consideration to FedRooms properties.  These are establishments that are contracted by General Services Administration (GSA) under the FedRooms Program to ensure that the government traveler stays in fire safe accommodations at a government rate.  Lodging facilities participating in the FedRooms program offer rates at or...

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Government Travel System Support

»Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Government employees are mandated by the Federal Travel Regulations to use an E-Gov Travel Service when made available by their agency. Most government travelers are familiar with on-line booking engines such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc. when making reservations for personal travel. However, the E-Gov travel systems may not be as user friendly since travel regulations are integrated with the system. Travelers often find that they need assistance when preparing their travel documents in the system and making reservations. At my agency, we provide travel help desk support to other government agencies. This support ranges from assisting travelers with system functionality on a small scale to training infrequent travelers on how to use the system. When appropriate we...

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Global Distribution Systems and the Federal Traveler

»Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) require that all federal travel be booked using a government travel agent, also known as a Travel Management Center (TMC).  Reservations can be made on-line using an e-Gov travel systems or via a phone call to the TMC.  When you use a TMC, your reservations are booked using one of the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) such as Sabre, Galileo, or Worldspan.  The GDS were previously known as Computer Reservation Systems (CRS) and were created by major airlines to aggregate the schedules, pricing, and inventory of the world’s airlines that could be used by travel agents to make reservations. The GDS eventually began including hotel, rental car, tour and cruise inventory for those companies that wanted to pay to participate....

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FTR and ETS

»Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments | 0 comments

In 2003, the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) amendment 2003-07, FTR Case 2003-303, E-Gov Travel Service, was published in the Federal Register. This rule requires agency-wide use of the eTravel Service now known as E-Gov Travel” The proposed amendment to the Federal Travel Regulation requiring executive branch agencies to begin implementing the ETS no later than December 31, 2004 with complete agency-wide migration no later than September 30, 2006. According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA): “The E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) is government-wide, web-based, world-class travel management service. It was launched in April 2002 to save significantly on costs and improve employee productivity.” Well stated, so why does my agency not use the E-Gov...

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How the Federal Travel Regulations Affect Our Agency

»Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in Business Practices, History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

The Federal Travel Regulations are an important part of the work we perform in our office on a daily basis.  We provide other agencies with a full service travel help desk in which our personnel is often asked to quote the FTR and clarify any confusion the government traveler may be experiencing while traveling for business purposes. However, in order to answer more complex questions, we have two policy experts within our office who research issues and respond to the traveler in a timely manner. We also perform post-payment audits of travelers’ vouchers on a monthly basis.  We must ensure that travelers are complying with the FTR in areas in which the E Gov travel system isn’t capable of verifying.  For instance, the FTR requires that a traveler...

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Receipt Retention Capability In Electronic Travel Systems

»Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

On September 22, 2006, the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) was amended to mandate the use of the receipt management tool for agencies that deployed an electronic travel system. Under the Per Diem Expenses section, a note was added to §301–11.25 stating that hard copy receipts should be electronically scanned and submitted with the electronic travel claim if  the agency has this capability available with the use of ETS. The system used by my agency has this capability and is used accordingly. 301-11.25  Must I provide receipts to substantiate my claimed travel expenses? Yes. You must provide a lodging receipt and a receipt for every authorized expense over $75, or  provide a reason acceptable to your agency explaining why you are unable to furnish the...

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Federal Travel Regulations

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in History and Overview, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

All federal employees on official travel are subject to Federal Travel Regulations, more commonly known as the FTR.  These regulations cover nearly every aspect of travel including, but not limited to:  POV mileage, per diem, airfare, and other miscellaneous expenses.  The FTR does not cover every possible scenario, of course, but it does, at the very least, clearly define which expenses are reimbursable.  A good example is the allowance for Meals and Incidentals (M&IE).  Travelers are entitled to 3/4 of the allowance on their first and last days of travel, but are entitled to the full amount on days in between.  Exceptions to this are meals that are provided or if leave is taken.  If any meals are provided, the traveler must note this in their voucher...

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