General Services Administration

Official Travel

After a recent stint at one of the FLETC, it became blatantly obvious exactly how much in government funds is wasted via the government's contracts with travel agencies such as Sato/GetThere. An attempt to book a flight from New York to Charleston, which included a layover in Georgia, netted the contracted travel agency $1299+ taxes/fees, while a direct flight could have been booked through the airline's website at $180+ tax. Although I certainly see the benefit of contracting with a travel agency for special circumstances such as class cancellations or postponements, which may result in the need for refunds, the amount of money spent to uphold these contracts on top of the revenue generated by the individual, inflated purchase prices, most likely will not outweigh the potential loss of revenue from such special circumstances. I propose the government either do away with their contracted travel agencies and permit individuals to book such travel through independent companies such as Travelocity, Expedia, or through the airlines directly, or provide cash or other incentives for government travelers who are able to document legitimate savings to the Federal government by booking through non-contracted services rather than Sato/GetThere (such as a cash award in the amount of 25% of the net savings). Perhaps after implementation of such an incentive, the government will be able to more accurately assess the savings/cost of contracting with travel agencies for official travel.

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Idea No. 4930