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

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» 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 billions of dollars in Fiscal Year 2009.  The CPP has many features that allow government travelers all the flexibility that is possible.  These features include non-stop service awarded in 95% of the markets where non-stop service is offered; tickets are fully refundable, no minimum or maximum length of stay required; unrestricted fares, meaning no advance purchase is required; no charge for cancellations; no blackout periods; and last seat availability.

The FTR will allow you to use a non-contract carrier if you meet one of the allowed exceptions.  Travelers using a non-contract carrier should reasonably anticipate using the ticket, since many non-contract airfares may be nonrefundable or incur penalties for any cancellations or exchanges.  Use of a non-contract carrier requires travelers to acquire authorization from their management.  If a traveler is authorized to use a non-contract carrier, he or she must still use their designated ETS.  Travelers should never use an outside travel agent or commercial websites to obtain air reservations.

The FTR also mandates that travelers are responsible for any additional costs resulting from the failure to use their ETS.  This may include service fees, cancellation penalties, or any other additional costs.  In addition, your agency may take appropriate disciplinary action if an employee fails to use their ETS.

by Brian Shears

The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.

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