The government recently contracted to send me from Washington, DC to Columbia, SC. The fare was a whopping $1,400 due to the contracted airline fees. I then decided to add a personal trip in with the government travel, which means the trip would now include a flight out to Ontario, California and back to Washington, DC. I was able to add the extra trip and still save $135 off the cost of a roundtrip from Washington, DC to Columbia, SC.
$1,400 to fly from DC to Columbia, SC is extreme. This was not a last minute trip. The current system is not cost effective. herefore, I recommend the following:
1. Employees should be encouraged to find their own airfare rates through expedia or other discount travel sites.
2. Another option is to have Fedtraveler linked with Expedia or Last minute travel in order to make sure the government is getting the lowest cost accomodations and airline rates.
3. Another option is to create Fedexpedia -- an office that examines the travel patterns of each Agency, and then buys airfare and hotel rooms in bulk, based on the travel history of a particular Agency. For example, if 200 HHS employees always travel to Boston, MA, each year, thent the government could purchase tickets in advance from a discount carrier, based on the projected number of employees expected to travel to a given area.