The government wastes a ton of money by restricting how travel is arranged. I had to fly from Anchorage to Miami a couple years ago and using the government mandated travel company (SATO) the ticket cost a little over $2,000 - plus a $37 booking fee. For the sake of comparison, I went to Orbitz and found the exact same flights for about $700. A co-worker recently needed to book a car for her travel and was told the government rate was $1,050; booked as a private individual the rate would have been $397.
Employees should be allowed to shop around for the cheapest travel possible; we should not be required to book through certain agencies.
I've heard the reason we need to book airline tickets through SATO is because they are fully refundable. If that is the primary concern, Orbitz can be used to book tickets and for an extra $100 or so be made fully refundable.
Given how much I travel and how much my co-workers travel, I can only imagine how much money has been unnecessarily wasted.
Please stop restricting how travel arrangements are made.