Travel Disruptions

Staffing shortages, technology glitches, inclement weather, and other issues may disrupt your travel plans. If you have an upcoming trip, there are steps you can take before and during travel to minimize the impact of these disruptions and get assistance quickly.

Before travel begins, download any apps offered by the airlines, hotel companies, and rental car companies that you will use during your trip. Apps allow you to interact directly with the service provider if you experience a disruption or an excessive hold time with your Travel Management Company (TMC). They also allow the company to reach out to you directly if/when they experience irregular operations.

Rebooking with the same airline: If you are in transit, experience a flight disruption, and your original airline can accommodate you, you may interact with the airline directly to rebook your flight on the same airline, maintaining your government airfare. You do not need to work with your TMC.

Rebooking with a different airline through your original airline: If you are in transit, experience a flight disruption, and your original airline cannot accommodate you, but they can transfer your ticket and maintain your government airfare, or if they can reserve a ticket for you at a government rate on another airline, then you can finalize your arrangements directly with the new airline. You do not need to work with your TMC.

Rebooking with a different airline directly (Certification Required): If your flight is disrupted and need to book a replacement flight directly with a different airline, you may only do so if you experience excessive TMC hold wait time and obtain certification from your Approving Official. Excessive TMC hold time is certified on an individual basis by Approving Officials in accordance with guidance provided by the JTR par. 020207. Your AO must also approve any additional cost.

In all cases, be sure to keep a record of your original unused ticket number and keep in mind the following when interacting with any carrier:

  • Government airfare: Make sure you request to be booked on a U.S. Government airfare, if available, and ensure that you have access to your travel orders (if applicable), and an active government travel charge card. The lowest cost economy or coach class government fares must be used. Any upgraded accommodations must be authorized or approved as stated in JTR, par. 020206-J and all travel must be booked and completed in accordance with the FTR and JTR.
  • Code-share tickets: The requirement to obtain Approving Official certification applies even if the new ticket is on the original airline you were supposed to fly, under a code-share ticket with a different airline name (also see the Fly America Act below).
  • International flights – Fly America Act: If you are flying internationally, either on a U.S. air carrier or on a U.S. air carrier’s ticket which operates as a code share on a foreign air carrier, you must rebook the ticket through a U.S. air carrier and not through any foreign air carrier, per the Fly America Act. For example, if you have an American Airlines ticket to fly on British Airways, and British Airways is unable to accommodate your requested change, once you have your AO’s approval to procure a new ticket on another airline, you must contact American Airlines, or another U.S. air carrier to rebook you. You cannot be reimbursed for a ticket on a foreign air carrier without documentation that a U.S. air carrier was not available.

If you need to book, change, or cancel a hotel reservation while in transit, you may interact with the hotel directly and do not need to work with your TMC.

New reservations and reservation changes: Check the local lodging per diem rate before booking and ensure you use the DoD lodging programs to the maximum extent possible for added benefits. Be conscious of Integrated Lodging Program (ILP) sites and be sure to book the appropriate lodging type and ILP/DoD Preferred rate. Otherwise, book the applicable FedRooms or Government rate, keeping at or under the local lodging per diem. Be aware of any hotel policies and fees, particularly deposits and cancellations.

Be aware of your hotel’s cancellation policy. Note the cancellation number, date/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 room and tax.

If you are in transit and need to book, change, or cancel a rental car reservation, you may interact with the rental car company directly and do not need to work with your TMC.

If booking or changing a reservation, be sure to ask for the government rate under the U.S. Government Rental Car program and confirm that the Government Administrative Rate Supplement (GARS) fee ($5/day) is included on the contract.