Posts Tagged "GDS"

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CRS, GDS & the E Gov Travel System

»Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

In the 1950s the airlines began using computers to keep track of reservations and the seats available on their flights. By the 1970s airlines such as United Airlines, American and TWA began to install computerized systems in travel agencies. These systems were the first airline computer reservation systems and allowed travel agencies to obtain information and make reservations for several airlines. A computer reservation system (CRS) is a computerized system designed to create and maintain a database concerning reservations and links distributors and suppliers to a centralized storehouse of information for the primary purpose of making reservations. In the beginning, CRS’ were used to make airline reservations only. By the late 1970s airlines were installing...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The information in Section 2A on Global Distribution Systems (GDS) was very informative and interesting. It has been my experience that many Government travelers do not understand the GDS underlying our Online Booking Engines and E-Gov travel Systems. One improvement that would be extremely helpful to the Government would be if the General Services Administration could convince all airlines that want to participate in the City Pair Program, be required to be mandatory participants in the GDS. It is frustrating to our users when they follow all the Government’s mandatory requirements such as mandatory use of the city pair program, mandatory use of an E-Gov Travel system and are still charged a full service fee because the airline does not participate in the GDS....

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Global Distribution Systems (GDS)

»Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Airlines, Business Practices, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Rental Cars, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

How much do you know about the global distribution system (GDS) that is used by your E-Gov Travel System?  Maybe your E-Gov System uses Sabre, Galileo/Apollo, Worldspan or Amadeus.  Currently, these are the four major GDS systems. My agency chose an E-Gov Travel System that uses the GDS, Sabre. The GDS houses the necessary information that will allow travel agents to book and sell airline tickets, book hotel rooms, make rental car reservations, and reserve rail reservations and more. The first GDS, Sabre, was created by the airlines in the 1960s.  Sabre has been around a lot longer than its competitors; Amadeus was created in 1987, Worldspan in 1990 and Galileo/Apollo in 1993. These complex systems have numerous capabilities.  Besides what was previously...

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Getting the Traveler Compliant

»Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Airlines, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

When the government deregulated the airlines in 1978, it was based on the premise that it would improve the industry and offer travelers more options and better prices.  One area  that seems to be a sticking point is the global distribution system.  For us travel professionals who know there are differences and that every airline has the option to choose what they want to do, we adapt.  It is the occasional or green traveler who suffers the most. One of the challenges I face is travelers feel that they can get a better deal searching themselves on the internet, rather than using the States TMC.  One reoccurring theme is that travelers are unaware that different  pricing models exist between the airlines, the 4 GDS’ and the  internet booking tools and that...

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The Sabre Global Distribution System within our e-Travel System

»Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Airlines, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

Our E Travel System uses the Sabre Global Distribution System as an integral part of the overall travel system. The GDS is a legacy data based system that is used by all travel suppliers such as airlines, hotels and rental car vendors to automatically book travel. The GDS is separate from the commercial internet booking sites, although some booking sites will use GDS information to offer information to their users and to assist with bookings. Not all airlines and hotels use a Global Distribution System as the GDS charges travel vendors to display inventories. If a supplier uses a GDS, it is the airline carrier, hotel, or rental car company’s responsibility to keep the GDS updated with current information. In some instances some small airlines do not use the GDS...

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The Importance of Understanding the Master Contract

»Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Civilian agencies have placed task orders under the GSA Schedule for their TMCs but, in my experience,  they may often lack an understanding of exactly what is covered in the TMC Master Contract.  This puts agencies at a severe disadvantage when questions do arise since the an agency’s acquisition personnel usually have no familiarity with government travel issues. It has been my experience that acquisition personnel are also not familiar with the details of the Master Contract when they place the Task Order for the agency.  The Task Order is not a complete contract and it does not have many of the specifics that are in the Master Contract.  And of course, the travel teams at various agencies are most familiar only with their own negotiated Task...

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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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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The existence of multiple Global Distribution Systems presents challenges for United States Government agencies’ efforts to manage travel.  One such challenge involves determining which Global Distribution System an agency’s Travel Management Center should use, although my sense is that most agencies do not direct their Travel Management Center on which Global Distribution System to use.  (Contractually, an agency may or may not even have the ability to determine which Global Distribution System their Travel ManagementCenter uses.) Some Global Distribution Systems do not allow for the booking of tickets for certain airlines – although this is often driven by which airlines choose to participate in which Global Distribution Systems.  In...

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ETS and the TMC

»Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

To be a viable Travel Management Company contractor for the federal government a TMC must understand the impact ETS has on it government clients, as well as the relationship it needs with ETS vendors.  The projection in the early stages of the ETS development and its capabilities suggested this technology would replace the TMC and the need for contracts to secure their services.  Understanding the complex requirements of government travel and its special needs ultimately positioned the TMC for a long viable relationship due to the services it can provide.  Federal agencies have the option of selecting their own TMC through GSA Travel Services Solutions schedule or through their own contracting vehicles. This requires TMCs to be an imbedded partner or...

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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The existence of multiple Global Distribution Systems presents challenges for United States Government agencies’ efforts to manage travel. One such challenge involves determining which Global Distribution System an agency’s Travel Management Center should use, although my sense is that most agencies do not direct their Travel Management Center on which Global Distribution System to use. (Contractually, an agency may or may not even have the ability to determine which Global Distribution System their Travel Management Center uses.) Some Global Distribution Systems do not allow for the booking of tickets for certain airlines – although this is often driven by which airlines choose to participate in which Global Distribution Systems. In addition, the various...

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E-Verify and the Travel Industry

»Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

On November 14, 2008, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a final rule (73 FR 67651), amending 48 CFR Parts 2, 22, and 52, to change the rules on Employment Eligibility Verification.  These new rules require Government contractors to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government to use the Federal E-Verify system to confirm the immigration status of employees working on Government contracts performed within the United States.  Prior to the effective date of the new regulation, January 15, 2009, the use of the E-Verify system was voluntary. Government contractors, as well as businesses in general, have long been obligated to check...

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The General Services Administration E-Travel Project

»Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

Two of the best decisions made by the General Services Administration, when developing and implementing a customized on-line Electronic Travel System for their civilian agencies, were to award the E-Travel contracts to more than one vendor, and to work closely with the Department of Defense to learn from their ‘experiences’. When the GDS were first introduced to the public by American Airlines (Sabre) and United Airlines (Apollo) in the 70′s, it was a very basic reservation system. In fact, often times, the determining factor of which product a customer finally chose was the air carrier that had the majority of lift out of the airports from which the agency served its customers, since the agency only had last seat availability to offer their...

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GDS 2009

»Posted by on Apr 27, 2014 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The current GDS system platform remains relatively unchanged since it was first widely used in the 1970’s. With all the advances in technology the GDS system continues to be DOS based requiring a series of commands to obtain information. Even with the updated scripting and windows look the system continues to be antiquated compared to the new technology. This issue has become evident with Secure Flight the TSA passenger tracking system requiring the full name, date of birth, gender and redress number if applicable for every airline passenger. The airlines and GDS systems have been scrambling in order to adapt their systems to accept the necessary fields. This has become a long and tedious process as currently the systems have limitations on the number of...

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Lodging and the E Travel System

»Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

We all have a favorite place to stay. Whether it is for the complimentary breakfast, the availability of certain amenities, or even the rewards programs, we all look for that one particular hotel when we travel for business or pleasure. Unfortunately, not all hotels will be available when searching the E Travel System for available lodging. Currently, our E Travel System is dependent on the GDS (Sabre) for identifying hotel availability and the booking of inventory. What information is listed in Sabre and how often the inventory is updated is entirely up to the individual hotel properties. How does this affect the E Travel Systems hotel query?  The first query of the E Travel System sends an availability command to Sabre.  The return is a list of hotels for...

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Developing Relationships with the Travel Management Center Team

»Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

It is imperative that Travel Administrators develop a good working relationship with their Travel Management Center (TMC) and the E-Gov vendor’s TMC team. As a matter of fact, it is a must.  You will find that it nearly impossible to administer your agency’s travel program without their assistance. My agency has developed a mutual friendship and good working relationship between both parties.  The TMC has been very helpful in assisting us with resolving issues and creating guidance for educational purposes.  The same also applies to the E-Gov vendor’s TMC team. The majority of our travelers were used to using an automated system.  However, the reservation module was new to them, so they experienced quite a few problems in the very beginning.  Of...

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History of Travel

»Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Government Traveler Comments, History and Overview | 0 comments

History. I always hear how things were better in the past. When things were slower, and less advanced. Where things took a lot longer to accomplish and where people took time to visit with others because televisions and computers were not invented yet. But as time has shown, not all things are better in the past. Travel in the old days took whole days just to travel a few miles, and now you can be halfway around the world in just a few hours. Technology is not a bad thing. Advancements in vehicles and computer systems have opened the travel arena to heights never imagined in the past. And as technology continues to advance, the travel industry will also advance with it. Government travel began as a small portion of the government budget but has grown to play a...

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What Is IATA?

»Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

What does having an IATA mean? Do you need one to book a reservation on your own? Do I need to use the DTS to book my reservation? What amenities come with my room? It is not easy to get an IATA number but IATA numbers are basically the Travel agent’s ID number; this is also used to identify individual travel companies so that they will receive a commission check once the person has traveled to the destination.  When you put the IATA number in, it’s not for the discount…it’s so the companies know which travel agent to pay the commission to. To get the travel agency rate, you generally need to get the right rate codes (at least with rental cars & hotels – not sure how airlines interact with the GDS systems since they do not get paid...

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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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History of Government Travel Management and GDS

»Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview, Industry Postings | 0 comments

The value of travel management began shortly after the deregulation act of the airlines of 1978 and the value to government workers was to help not only with the financial concerns but also to glean data that would benefit the government agencies but also those working to establish a better financing within the government. This opened up flexibility for pricing and scheduling for government workers. Once a trial testing program in 1980 was launched, now known as the GSA (General Services Administration) program, was established and cost cutting as well as time efficient scheduling for travel became extremely beneficial. This continues to be a cost cutting benefit to the government. However, on it’s initial run, the GSA program had concerns for the travel agents...

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The Sabre Global Distribution System

»Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

During my many years as an employee in our travel office, I have conducted many training sessions for our various government agency customers.  The reservations section within our electronic travel system (ETS) is by far one of the most ‘inquired about’ sections during my training sessions.  The reservations section within our travel system houses the capability for users to book their hotel, rental car, rail and airfare via the Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS). The Sabre GDS allows access to government negotiated rates, policy compliance at the point of sale, and automation of reservations and ticketing, which improves the efficiency of the overall government travel booking process.  The Sabre GDS provides access to preferred government rates such as...

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Depleting the Unused Ticket Bank

»Posted by on Aug 3, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

It’s a known fact that keeping track of employee’s unused tickets is undeniably difficult.  Most companies struggle with employees who will purchase and or cancel directly with the airlines (usually against company policy), or those that chose not to do anything when a trip is cancelled.  If and when these situations occur, Travel Management Companies cannot obtain ticket information for future use.   Travelers often don’t say anything until they receive their credit card statement and are seeking compensation for the cancelled trip. Due to the many tickets that are written off due to lack of re-use or not recalled by the TMC, our organization needed to come up with a sure fire way to use up the hundreds of tickets before they expire.   We have...

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Taking Advantage of New Communication Tools

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

The necessity for each agency’s Travel Manager to communicate with travelers and other stakeholders has never been greater … in large part due to the number and variety of changes taking place in the federal travel marketplace.   A transition from the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) to E-Gov Travel Service 2 (ETS2) looms on the horizon for nearly all federal civilian agencies.  A bill has been introduced in Congress to cut the federal travel budget by up to 75%.  Federal telepresence centers are springing up all over the country.  Greenhouse gas emissions are being considered when making travel decisions.  Some airlines (notably, American) are threatening to remove their inventory from one or more of the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs).  Some foreign...

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Global Distribution Systems — Information Flow

»Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Payment Methods | 0 comments

Section 2a discusses Global Distribution Systems. Although I am sure that it must exist somewhere, I have not seen a recent diagram that shows the flow of information throughout a travel transaction. By a travel transaction, I am referring to the following components: Vendors (airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, other) GDS Travel Agencies Traveler (or end user) The data flow used to be rather straightforward, in that the vendor supplied data to the GDS, the GDS to the travel Agency, and the Travel Agency to the traveler. However, through technology and financial tightening there are now myriad other methods for securing travel. Those include: Vendor-direct call centers or websites Alternate GDS (ITA, G2, Farelogix, INS) Corporate Travel Departments, On-line...

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E Gov Travel – The Transition and Training Process

»Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Airlines, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers, Travel Professional Resources | 0 comments

Beginning in September of 2004, our agency began converting our customers from the legacy travel system to the new E Gov Travel system.  With approximately thirty agencies to convert, we completed the transition within a twelve month time-frame.  Even though this schedule was quite intense, we were able to complete this transition successfully due to the cooperation of everyone involved, the organization of a well thought out project plan, and a detailed training plan. For each customer to convert from the legacy system to the new one, there were two people in our agency assigned to lead each team.  We were responsible for performing all of the background maintenance tasks, such as routing lists, the people table, and security groups. We also trained all...

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The Impact of Unintended Consequences on Government Travel

»Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The “law of unintended consequences” (also called the “law of unforeseen consequences“) states that any purposeful action will produce some unintended results.  Deregulation was intended to increase competition and reduce costs.  Government travel policy experts had probably been hopeful that reduced costs and increased flights and airlines would make government travel easier and less expensive.  However, there were significant and unanticipated effects on government travel as a result of deregulation. In 1978, when the Airline Deregulation Act was enacted, the airline industry was delighted to be free of the controls (particularly rates which directly impacted their profits and ability to expand) enforced by the Civil Aeronautics...

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There’s No Such Thing as a Magic Bullet

»Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Contracting for Travel Services, Global Distribution Systems, Hotels | 0 comments

Open most newspapers and you will probably find that many experts are predicting a bleak economic forecast for 2009 and financial uncertainty.  Due to inevitable declining market conditions, several hotels are now refocusing their efforts and targeting the government market as a primary sales initiative for the upcoming fiscal year. As a national sales director, one of my primary functions is to manage global RFPs for government key accounts on behalf of a hotel community compromised over 1,000 hotels.  Recently, I was in rigorous task of managing RFP negotiations when it occurred to me that hotels in general seemed to be putting too much of an emphasis on program history. In my opinion, this rationale strongly reinforces that educating hotels in terms of how...

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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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Global Distribution Systems

»Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

My agency uses the program, FedTraveler.com E-Gov Travel Service (ETS), for travel services for its federal employees.  This is an example of a Global Distribution System (GDS).  The ETS can be used to book flights, hotel lodging, and rental cars, as well as reimburse employees for travel services.  ETS is primarily a self-service system whereby employees enter their travel plans and budget authorizers approve or return plans.  Overall, the ETS is convenient and user-friendly.  I have entered dozens of travel plans for my job as a facilities inspections officer.  One of the biggest benefits I have found is that the ETS automatically calculates the correct government per diem. My major complaint with the ETS is the transaction fees.  As stated on page 43 of...

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E-Tickets

»Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 in Airlines, Business Practices | 0 comments

The sight of travelers frantically searching for their tickets has become rare at airports in recent years. That’s because more people are relying on electronic tickets, or e-tickets, when they fly. E-ticket is now the main method of issuing tickets for the vast majority of airlines. It’s a secure form of ticketing that makes travel plans less cumbersome and more efficient for the traveler. The travel data is all stored electronically in the Global Distribution System (GDS) or the airlines reservation system. Passengers can, at any time, print their e-ticket receipt from the airlines web site. In addition, a passenger with an e-ticket can check in faster by just producing the e-ticket print out and an appropriate ID. E-tickets issued through the E Gov Travel...

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Data Collection Under the TRX MIS Contract: Implementation, Deployment, and Strategic Sourcing Issues

»Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems | 0 comments

The GSA (General Services Administration) often enters into City-Pairs negotiations hampered by a relative lack of hard data on Government travel.  Where substantive data has been available it has not been as detailed or as encompassing as the Government requires to effectively support negotiations.  This lack of effective data caused the Travel Program management Office (PMO) of the GSA to conduct an Full and Open competition for a vendor that could provide services to make up for this lack of information.  The solicitation requirement was to obtain the best travel data aggregation and reporting solution that satisfied government requirements at the best value.  A trade-off analysis was performed between technical and cost and past performance to make the...

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Debit Memos

»Posted by on Aug 7, 2011 in Airlines | 1 comment

My supervisor calls me the debit memo queen.  This is because I believe in staying on top of debit memo’s as they are received and believe it or not I actually enjoy the task.  I began working with debit memos for the purpose of assisting account managers with timely resolution and to keep the total amount of outstanding memos to a minimum.  Before I began working with debit memos our ARC team would forward all of those incoming to the proper account manager as they were received.  Due to the vast responsibilities of the managers such as ensuring 100% customer satisfaction, keeping staffing properly balanced, providing guidance to agents, and being on the front line in regards to ticketing procedures memo’s easily became a burden for them.  Dealing with...

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