Air Travel Guidance

Airfares offered under this program are significantly discounted from comparable commercial fares. DTMO assists in developing the contract solicitation for air passenger transportation services and the route requirements for the program contract. It offers government travelers benefits of service and maximum flexibility in planning official travel. As a result, it is government policy that government travelers must use contract carriers when available, unless an exception applies.

 

Benefits:

  • Fares are priced on one-way routes, permitting travelers to plan multiple destinations

  • No advance purchase required or minimum/maximum length of stay required

  • Tickets are fully refundable with no charges for cancellation or changes

  • Last seat availability 

  • No blackout periods

  • Stable prices enabling travel budgeting

  • Fares are bid annually and remain in effect throughout the Government's fiscal year

  • Dual fare availability 

  • Non-stop service-awarded in the majority of markets where nonstop service is offered

 

Exceptions:

In accordance with DoD policy and the Joint Travel Regulations, use of scheduled commercial air service contracted through the City-Pair Program is mandatory unless one of the exceptions shown below applies. The utilization of frequent flyer accounts, ability to upgrade seats, and traveler carrier preferences are not valid exceptions. The following are exceptions to the use of City-Pair Contract Carriers:

 

  • Space or a scheduled contract flight is not available in time to accomplish the travel purpose, or contract service use would require the traveler to incur unnecessary overnight lodging costs that would increase the total trip cost 

  • The contract carrier's flight schedule is inconsistent with explicit policies of individual federal departments and agencies to schedule travel during normal working hours 

  • A non-contract (DoD-approved) U.S. certificated carrier offers a lower airfare to the general public (Restricted Fare), the use of which results in a lower total trip cost to the Government to include the combined costs of transportation.  This does not permit a less expensive government fare to be selected.

  • Rail service is available and that service is cost effective and consistent with mission requirements

  • Smoking is permitted on the contract flight and the nonsmoking section of the aircraft is not acceptable to the traveler.

DTMO provides oversight of the Department's Restricted Fares use. The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) states, "The GSA City Pair Program is a contract between the Government and certain airlines for routes frequently traveled for Government business. The program requires a traveler to use these routes when they are available. When a City Pair Program fare is available, the Authorizing Official must use the Restricted Fares Checklist when considering the approval of restricted airfares." (See JTR, par. 020206-M)

When a city pair fare is available, the Authorizing Official must use the decision support, known as the Restricted Airfare checklist, to assist in determining if a restricted airfare is advantageous to the Government.  

When a city pair fare is NOT available, the traveler and Authorizing Officials must consider (1) the chance that the flight will be changed or canceled, and (2) applicable charges and fees that may be incurred, when determining if the savings is worth the risk that the trip will change. Use of the Restricted Airfare Checklist is not required, but travelers must follow their Service or Agency guidelines for using restricted tickets.

Important items to note about the use of restricted fares:

 

  • Authorization for use when a city pair fare is not available must be obtained on a case-by-case basis. Blanket authorization and justification for use of restricted fares is prohibited.

  • If a restricted airfare is approved, the funding command accepts total responsibility for the restricted airfare ticket should the trip be changed or cancelled for any official reason.

  • Restricted airfares must be purchased through the TMC and paid for with a GTCC.  Restricted airfares may not be purchased through on-line booking services.

  • If approval is given for use of a restricted airfare, the traveler must contact the TMC to have the ticket issued; DTS does not do this automatically upon Approving Official approval. 

  • Both travelers and Authorizing Officials should be aware of the fare rules and shortened ticketing timelines.  Typically, restricted airfares require approval within 24 hours or less, are not transferable if cancelled, and can have specifics on when a cancelled ticket must be rebooked. 

 

https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/restrictedfares.cfm

 

Please see NPS Travel Office brief on this topic at https://nps.edu/documents/103400247/115951850/Lowest+Logical+Airfare+Brief+dtd+11JUL2018/de550e59-01c1-4ef3-bee5-d235d3ac76d9.

Federal travelers are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the "Fly America Act," to use U.S. air carrier service for all air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the U.S. government. One exception to this requirement is transportation provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transport agreement, to which the U.S. government and the government of a foreign country are parties, and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.

https://www.gsa.gov/policy-regulations/policy/travel-management-policy/fly-america-act

 

The exceptions are:

1. When a U.S. air carrier is not available.
2. When the use of a U.S. carrier service would extend the travel time by 24 hours or more.
3. When a U.S. carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination; and,

-Increases the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more.
-Extends travel time by at least six hours or more.
-Requires a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

4. Short Distance Travel - When the flight time from origin to destination is less than 3 hours and the use of a U.S. flag carrier doubles the time en-route.
5. When there is an applicable Open Skies agreement in effect which the Department of Transportation says meets the requirements of the FAA (DOES NOT APPLY TO DOD TRAVEL).

IF THEN
Changing arrangements more than 24hours prior to departure, make changes in DTS
Changing arrangements within 24hours of departure or during travel Call SATO at 855-744-4657

 

Other than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation

https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/premium.cfm

DTMO provides oversight of the Department's Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation (i.e., Premium Class Travel) policy. DoD policy requires economy-/coach-class travel accommodations be used when performing official government travel. Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation (any travel other than economy-/coach-class) at government expense is permitted on an exception basis only.

Reference the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR),  AP-PCT-01, and the Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation Approval Checklist to assist in determining if Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation can be used. The Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation Approval Checklist is required when making a determination on authorization/approval for the use of Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation. The checklist must be used and submitted as part of the approval documentation and serves as a record of accountability in which the Approving Official must certify that all decision factors and other alternatives were considered prior to recommending approval. Important items to note:

-Authorization must be obtained on a case-by-case basis.
-Blanket authorization and justification for Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Travel is prohibited.
-Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation must be authorized in advance of the travel. If extenuating circumstances or emergency situations prevent advanced authorization, a traveler has 7 days within the completion of travel to obtain approval.
-Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation, due to a medical disability/special need, may only be used when there is no other means to accommodate a traveler’s condition, such as bulkhead/aisle seating or use of two adjoining seats. A traveler’s condition must be certified by a competent medical authority and authorized by an Approving Official.
-Failure to receive approval for Other Than Economy-/Coach-Class Transportation may result in a traveler being financially responsible for costs over the economy/coach airfare.

The Reporting Offices (approval authority) must ensure that all trips involving Other Than Economy-/Coach Class fares have been approved in accordance with all regulations.

 

For NPS submissions and guidance, please go to https://nps.edu/web/travel/ote.

TSA Precheck Program For DoD Personnel

Link: https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/news.cfm?ID=18

 

TSA Precheck is a voluntary, expedited security screening process offered at over 180 domestic airports that allows participants to keep on their shoes, belt, and light jacket, and leave laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids in their carry-on bags. The program is open at no cost to DoD civilians and Service members (including Reservists, National Guardsmen, members of the Coast Guard, and students at the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy).

In order to use dedicated TSA Precheck security lanes, participants must enter their DoD ID number as the “Known Traveler Number” when making official travel or leisure airline reservations.

Action Required for Participation

To participate:

  1. Locate your DoD ID number (10-digit number found on the back of your Common Access Card). If you do not have a DoD ID number listed on your CAC, you can locate it by logging in to MilConnect (www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect) and clicking on the “My Profile” tab.
     
  2. Opt-In to the program (applies to DoD civilians only). Civilians need to log in to the MilConnect website (www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect), click on the "My Profile" tab and then select "Update and View My Profile.". Next, click on the "CIV" tab. In the Personnel Status information box, click on the "TSA Precheck Program" checkbox and scroll to the bottom of the page and click "submit". Service members already are eligible and do not need to opt in to the program.
     
  3. Save your DoD ID Number in the “Known Traveler Number” field of your DTS profile. To ensure your future airline reservations automatically include your DoD ID number, save it in your profile. For instructions, see
    Using DTS:  How to Enter your DoD ID Number and Update Your DTS Profile

     
  4. Ensure your DoD ID Number is included when making reservations.

    For official travel: If you saved your DoD ID number as part of your profile, it will automatically pre-populate. You may also participate by entering your DoD ID number in the “Known Traveler Number” field when prompted to verify your Secure Flight Information (name, DOB, gender) each time you make a reservation.If making a reservation through a Travel Management Center, provide your DoD ID number as the “Known Traveler Number” when asked to verify your Secure Flight Information.
    For leisure travel: Enter your DoD ID number in the “Known Traveler Number” field when making reservations.

     
  5. At the airport, look for dedicated TSA PreCheck security lanes. The program is available at over 150 domestic airports. Click here for a complete list of participating airports.

Additional Information

Eligible Service members do not need to be on official travel or in uniform to take advantage of TSA Precheck. Family members ages 12 and under traveling with an eligible Service member or DoD civilian can process through expedited screening as well. However, family members 13 and older must go through regular security lines or may apply for TSA Trusted Traveler program (for a fee).

Boarding passes must have TSA Precheck eligibility information embedded in the barcode when scanned on the boarding pass scanner system in order to use the TSA Precheck security lanes. Your DoD ID number does not display on the boarding pass. Please be aware that not all airlines print a TSA Precheck approved indicator on the boarding pass. However, if travelers used their DoD ID number as the “Known Traveler Number,” they may proceed to a dedicated Precheck security lane to check eligibility.