An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
JBSA News
NEWS | July 5, 2022

Passenger Travel Office encourages patience, offers tips during travel surge

JBSA Passenger Travel Office

For those currently traveling or about to travel due to a Permanent Change of Station or Temporary Duty assignment, unexpected surges in travel, changes in airline schedules, airline cancellations, and staffing shortages are challenges currently being faced within the travel industry.

Due to these challenges, military travel management companies, or TMCs, are being impacted daily, with an increased demand for assistance.

Plan Ahead

Customers can expect extended call wait times and delays in email responses due to these challenges. 

In planning ahead for your travel, there are several actions you can accomplish to make sure your chance of a smooth transition is successful. Below are steps which may help minimize challenges when booking, preparing, and finalizing, updating or cancelling future travel. 

  1. Use the Department of Defense booking system for all future travel whenever possible, including new bookings, changes, and cancellations. 
  2. Book travel, and approve authorizations, in a timely manner. Booking and/or approving travel within a week of departure minimizes the risk of the need to rebook or contact the TMC. If you have changes to travel with a departure date more than a week away and cannot make the changes in the DOD booking system, email the TMC with your request, including your departure date in the subject line.  
  3. Ensure travel cards are activated. Travel cards that are deactivated or have insufficient credit limits result in card declines and increase calls to the TMC. Travelers should work with their organization's travel card agency program coordinator to ensure their travel card is activated and has a sufficient credit limit prior to booking travel. Defense travel administrators can also be proactive by reviewing the accounts info list and the departure report in the Defense Travel System, or DTS, to identify travelers who may need their travel cards activated or credit limits increased. 
  4. Allow 24 hours for DTS authorizations to be worked and ticketed. If your request has been in "CTO Submit" status for more than 24 hours, contact the Travel Assistance Center, or TAC, via live chat at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/livechat.cfm. Please keep in mind the TAC is unable to assist with new reservations, "TMC assist" requests, reservation cancellations, or ticketing.  
  5. If you cannot cancel using DTS, use TMC live chat. Some TMCs have a desktop or mobile live chat tool that allows travelers to connect with an online agent to handle simpler requests like cancelling a trip or requesting an invoice copy. Often simpler issues can be handled faster through a TMC chat session. 

Preparing for travel 

  1. It might be helpful to sign-up for airline, rental car, and lodging loyalty programs. Brand loyalty accounts often come with benefits like priority rebooking, dedicated contact channels, and more. 
  2. You can download apps offered by the airlines, train companies, rental car companies, and lodging chains you will be using during your travel. This may allow you to interact directly with the service provider if you experience an excessive TMC hold time or there's a disruption. 
  3. As soon as your airline reservations are ticketed and your invoice has been issued, confirm your seat assignment using the airline app or website. Passengers with confirmed seat assignments are far less likely to be bumped from a flight due to overbooking. 

There are a few things to keep in mind as you travel.  

Flights 

  1. If you are in transit and experience a flight disruption, and an excessive TMC hold time, you may interact with the airline directly to rebook your flight on the same carrier, maintaining your government airfare. Using the airline app or self-service kiosk in the airport can help you avoid lines or hold times.  
  2. If you are in transit and experience a flight disruption, and an excessive TMC hold time, you may also interact with other carriers directly to rebook your flight.  
  • If your original airline has a customer service representative available, in-person, on the phone, or through chat on an app or website, inform them you are on official U.S. Government travel and need to be rebooked on a different airline to meet your mission. The airline may be able to transfer your ticket and maintain your government airfare.  
  • If they cannot transfer your ticket, ask to be "protected/rebooked" at the government rate on another airline. Then, you can finalize your arrangements directly with the new airline. It is always better if you can provide a suggestion on which alternate flight and route you may take. If your original airline cannot "protect/rebook" you on an alternate airline, you may, when experiencing a flight disruption and excessive TMC hold times, book directly with an alternate airline.  
  • Be sure to keep a record of your original unused ticket number and make sure to request booking on a U.S. Government airfare, if available. Also be sure you have access to your travel orders, if applicable, and an active travel card.  
  • The lowest cost economy or coach class fares accommodations must be used. Any upgraded accommodations must be authorized or approved as stated in JTR, par. 020206-J. 

Rental Cars 

  1. If you need a new rental car reservation or to rebook an existing rental car reservation due to a flight disruption, and you experience an excessive TMC hold time, you may interact with the rental car company directly. Book your new reservation or rebook your existing reservation through the company’s customer service number or in-person at the rental car counter. Be sure to ask for the government rate under the U.S. Government Rental Car program and confirm that the Government Administrative Rate Supplement, or GARS, fee of $5 per day is included on the contract. 
  2. If you need to cancel your rental car reservation while in transit, and you experience an excessive TMC hold time, you can do so directly with the rental car company using their app, website, reservation number, or in-person at the rental car counter. 

Hotels 

  1. If you need to change, cancel, or book a hotel reservation while in transit, and you experience an excessive TMC hold time you can cancel or change the reservation directly with the hotel. Be aware of your hotel's cancellation policy and note the cancellation number, date and time of the call, and the name of the person who processed your change/cancellation. If you cancel after the hotel cancellation timeframe, regardless of the cause of the cancellation, you may still be charged for one night plus tax. Hotels that are booked under the Integrated Lodging Program (ILP) https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/lodging.cfm offer you the most flexibility. 
  2. Check the local lodging per diem rate here before booking at: https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.  
  3. If the site is an Integrated Lodging Program site, you are directed to book DOD Lodging or Privatized lodging first. If neither are available and the ILP site offers DOD Preferred lodging, book an approved hotel listed at: https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/ILP_Preferred_List.pdf and request the DOD Preferred rate. Otherwise, book the applicable FedRooms or government rate keeping in mind the local lodging per diem. Also, be aware of any hotel policies and fees, particularly deposits and cancellations. 

We encourage you to be patient as you travel during these challenging times, and remember, if in doubt, please reach out to your local Passenger Travel Office as they are readily available to assist!