GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) — Beginning October 1, 2012, any travel authorization that includes air travel must be approved and ticketed at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled flight departure to avoid airline reservations from being cancelled. This is due to a new policy being instituted by the airlines under the FY13 GSA City Pair contract.
Under the new policy, if an Authorizing Official (AO) does not approve an authorization within 72 hours of departure, the airline reservation will be cancelled and the traveler will arrive at the airport without a ticket or a reservation in the airline’s system. This applies to all City Pair and non-contract government flights that are either booked through DTS or through a Commercial Travel Office (CTO).
Those travelers making travel plans within 72 hours of departure must have their authorization approved and tickets issued within 24 hours of creation to avoid cancellation. If making plans within 24 hours of departure, authorizations must be approved and ticketed at least six hours prior to flight departure time to avoid cancellation.
If airline reservations are cancelled, a traveler will be notified via email or phone by their Commercial Travel Office.
Arriving at the airport without a ticket can impact mission, travel funds, and put unnecessary stress on the traveler. If this occurs, travelers are not advised to re-book at the airline counter. Often, counter agents are not familiar with GSA’s City Pair Program and may book the traveler on a full priced fare at a much higher cost. To re-book a flight, travelers should follow their normal ticketing process. Travelers should take their travel itinerary with them to the airport. If your reservation has been cancelled, the itinerary will provide contact information for your Commercial Travel Office (CTO), as well as, reservation details to help you re-book.
In the current fiscal environment where it is necessary to be conservative with travel budgets, monitoring the status of travel documents and ensuring travel authorizations are approved, is the best way to avoid unnecessary costs and stress associated with re-booking travel.
Tips for Travelers
- Monitor the status of your travel authorization. If your trip is approaching and your authorization has not been approved, contract your Authorizing Official (AO) immediately. If your AO is unavailable, contact your Defense Travel Administrator (DTA).
- Ensure your DTS profile is current. Often, travelers forget to update their profile with the Government Travel Charge Card expiration date if they received a new card. Without a current card in your profile, a reservation cannot be purchased.
- Take your travel itinerary with your to the airport. If your reservation has been cancelled, the itinerary will provide contact information for your CTO as well as reservation details to help you re-book.
Tips for Authorizing Officials (AO):
- Monitor documents awaiting your approval.
- Ensure a back-up AO is designated if you will be on leave or deployed.
Tips for Defense Travel Administrators (DTA):
- Run the new “Pending Airline Cancellation” report to identify those authorizations at risk for cancellation.
- Run Traveler Status Reports to notify Agency Program Coordinators which travelers are scheduled for travel to ensure Government Travel Charge Cards are activated.
Tips for Agency Program Coordinators (APC):
- Review the Accounts Information Reports and advise DTAs regarding invalid and expired GTCCs.
- Review the Approved Status Reports and assist with activating GTCCs for travelers with upcoming trips.