72-Hour Air Reservation Auto Cancellation
Beginning October 1, 2012, any travel authorization that includes air travel must be approved and ticketed at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled flight departure to avoid airline reservations from being cancelled. This new policy applies to domestic City Pair and non-contract government flights that are either booked through DTS or through a Commercial Travel Office (CTO).
Those travelers making travel plans at least 72 hours of departure must have their authorization approved and tickets issued within 24 hours of creation to avoid cancellation. If making plans within 24 hours of departure, authorizations must be approved and ticketed at least 6 hours prior to flight departure time to avoid cancellation.
While the reservation may exist, it is not purchased (known as “ticketed”) until the Authorizing Official (AO) approves the travel authorization and the Commercial Travel Office (CTO) tickets the reservation. This means that if a travel authorization is not approved at least 72 hours in advance of travel, the traveler will arrive at the airport without a ticket or a reservation in the airline’s system.
If a traveler’s airline reservations are cancelled, he/she should follow their normal ticketing process to rebook the flight. Travelers are not advised to rebook at the airline counter. Often, counter agents are not familiar with GSA’s City Pair Program and may book the traveler on a full priced fare at a much higher cost. Travelers should take their travel itinerary with them to the airport because it provides contact information for their Commercial Travel Office (CTO), as well as, reservation details to help them rebook.
Monitoring the status of travel documents and ensuring that travel authorizations are approved is the best way to avoid unnecessary costs and stress associated with rebooking travel.
Two changes will be implanted in DTS, when the new policy goes in to effect.
- DTS will display a pop-up box that alerts the traveler to the new auto cancellation policy. The pop-up will appear when a traveler digitally signs an authorization that includes an air reservation or clicks “CTO Assistance”. The traveler must click “OK” to proceed with applying the digital signature.
- A new report titled “Pending Airline Cancellation Report” will be added to the DTS Report Scheduler. The report will provide a list of authorizations (containing airline reservations) that still need to be approved prior reservation cancellation. Users can generate the report based on a select number of hours (minimum selection 24 hours; maximum selection 150 hours), which is based on the flight departure date and time.