Why is the government still paying for full-fare, fully-refundable tickets for official travel? I think that we could make huge savings if we were allowed to buy discounted internet fares. Even with last minute changes or cancellations (and the associated fees), it would still be a savings to switch from the current system. Below is an example for a recent trip going from Washington, DC to Geneva, Switzerland, to Bahia, Brazil, back to DC.
My ticket cost $6,265 for an economy class ticket for the entire itinerary.
I just perfomed a search online today using a departure date of 8/11/10 and got the following:
Internet site 1:
Economy class ticket: $2,400
Business class ticket: $7,171
Internet site 2:
Economy class ticket: $3,291
Business class ticket: $7,564
This means that we could have saved the government (and us, the taxpayers) up to $3,856 if I had been able to purchase a discounted ticket! Instead, we paid almost business class fare for an economy class seat.
Multiply this by the number of trips that government employees take (both domestic and international) and we are looking at huge savings per year.