This is a bit of inside baseball, so my civilian readers might be a bit befuddled by some of this.
The military routinely uses commercial transportation (that is, airlines) and hotels when people travel to schools, courses, conferences and other events.
Each servicemember has an issued credit card (much like a corporate card) and is reimbursed for expenses related to travel. But unlike most corporate travel, getting reimbursed is always a flaming pain in the butt. While the reimbursement comes from “the government” the actual travel budget is charged to the servicemembers parent unit. And they always have a very limited budget for this sort of thing. So there’s a lot of pressure to find the cheapest travel.
Unfortunately, the way the system is set up, you can’t just get online and find the cheapest fare. Nooo…… you have to go through the bloated bureaucracy of the Defense Travel System and SATO- the Scheduled Airline Ticket Office.
Via CDR Sal:
This is an amazing email that outlines perfectly the inefficiency of guv’munt. Even in a time of tightening budgets – cost savings are not important to the bureaucracy.
You see – it isn’t the outcome that is important; it is the process.
Effective for travel performed on or after November 1, 2010, travelers are advised not to book lodging accommodations using an online booking agent, such as Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com, etc. Instead, travelers should reserve their lodging accommodations by utilizing their Contracted Travel Office (CTO) or by contacting the hotel directly.
The Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR) for uniformed members and the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) for Department of Defense civilian employees have both been revised to state, “Despite any savings realized through online booking agents, subject to Service requirements the CTO should be used for lodging arrangements or the traveler should reserve a room directly with the hotel/chain (including the hotel’s online website). Lodging reimbursement is not authorized for hotel lodging obtained through online booking agents unless an itemized receipt from the hotel is provided.”
What are your TDY/TAD travel nightmares/horror stories? And you guys on the civilian side, how stupid is your company about travel expenses?