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Travel office to apply 72-hour rule for authorization

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- -- Effective Oct. 1, the Buckley Commercial Travel Office will require travel authorizations to be approved and ticketed at least 72 hours in advance of scheduled travel. The change will be implemented throughout the Defense Department.

With the intent to minimize airline reservation cancellations, the amendment to CTO policy is in response to a commercial airline policy change.

"Under the new policy, if an authorizing official does not approve an authorization within 72 hours of departure, the airline reservation will be cancelled and the traveler will arrive at the airport without a ticket or a reservation in the airline's system. This applies to all City Pair and non-contract government flights that are either booked through (the Defense Travel System) or through a commercial travel office," states a Defense Travel Management Office newsletter article.

The key to adjusting to the new policy is for travelers and approval authorities to "act promptly to DTS notification to approve pending authorizations," stated Frank Jones, 460th Logistics Readiness Squadron traffic management officer. "Authorizations not approved in 72 hours will automatically be cancelled and mission accomplishment will be impacted."

Travelers can alleviate unnecessary travel issues by ensuring they receive approved travel plans at least 72 hours before departing. However, there are considerations for travelers who are unable to plan that far in advance.

"Emergency leaves are not impacted," Jones stated. "Short-notice travel will require proactive action by all personnel."

Those planning with less than 72 hours to departure time must receive an approved authorization and tickets within 24 hours and those planning with less than 24 hours to departure must receive an approved authorization and tickets within six hours to avoid cancellation.

The CTO will send notification to travelers via phone or email if their reservation is cancelled.

If reservations are cancelled, DTMO advises travelers not to attempt rebooking at the airline counter as airline representatives are not always familiar with government fares. Team Buckley members needing to re-book should contact the Buckley CTO for assistance.

"In the current fiscal environment where it is necessary to be conservative with travel budgets, monitoring the status of travel documents and ensuring travel authorizations are approved is the best way to avoid unnecessary costs and stress associated with rebooking travel," states the DTMO newsletter article.

DTMO offers tips to travelers, authorizing officials, defense travel administrators and agency program coordinators to ensure travel is carried out as scheduled:

Travelers are advised to:

- Monitor the status of travel authorizations. If the trip is approaching and the authorization is not approved, contract the authorizing official immediately. If unavailable, contact your Defense Travel Administrator.
- Ensure your DTS profile is current, to include the expiration date on the government travel card.
- Bring a travel itinerary to the airport. If the reservation was cancelled, the itinerary will provide contact information for your CTO and reservation details to help re-book.

Authorizing officials are advised to:

- Monitor documents awaiting approval.
- Ensure a back-up AO is designated.

Defense travel administrators are advised to:

- Run the new "Pending Airline Cancellation" report to identify authorizations at risk for cancellation.
- Run traveler status reports to notify agency program coordinators which travelers are scheduled for travel to ensure government travel cards are activated.

Agency program coordinators are advised to:

- Review accounts information reports and advise DTAs regarding invalid and expired GTCs.
- Review the approved status reports and assist with activating GTCs for travelers with upcoming trips.

For more information, travelers can call the 460th LRS Passenger Travel Section at DSN 847-6441 or commercial 720-847-6441.
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