I suggest the Department allow employees to book non-refundable airline tickets for travel. Currently, employees are prohibited from buying non-refundable airline tickets. Refundable airline tickets are typically 2 to 3 times more expensive than non-refundable, and in some cases even more. There would be a significant savings, even if an employee had to cancel their official travel plans.
For example, a non-refundable flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, CA is about $250 (including tax). A refundable ticket, on the same airline and for the same dates, is $1,700. In this instance, purchasing a non-refundable ticket equates to a savings of $1,450 over a refundable ticket. Moreover, the travel would need to cancel their travel plans SIX times for the refundable ticket to be of any value.