Here's an interesting little tidbit. I recently traveled up to Rochester, NY for work. It is our region's practice to fly JetBlue because the airfare is cheaper than the contracted rate (with the airline we are supposed to fly on).
When we have to fly we have to book our flight through a travel agent. So instead of booking a flight through jetblue.com using the government credit card (the way we used to be able to do it), we are forced to call a travel agent and book the flight for a service fee of $30.00. It gets better.
I was excited to find out that JetBlue was added to the government's travel system. It allows me to book flights online through the government travel agency. I thought to myself "Great! Now I won't have to call in the flight! I'll be able to do it myself and save $30.00!" Well I found the flights on JetBlue.com that I wanted to take. The grand total (round trip airfare, taxes, fees, etc) came to $229.00. Well in the travel system the exact same flight had the price tag of $619.00! The contract rate was $560.00. So if I book the exact same flight through the government travel agency's online system it costs $390 more. That's one heck of a service fee.
I called in to the travel agency (Cha-ching $30.00 gone) to book my flight, and the travel agent explained that JetBlue's tickets are non-refundable...yada-yada-yada. The total for your fully-refundable tickets comes to $619. I stopped the travel agent and repeated that JetBlue's tickets are not refundable. She stopped pushed some buttons and came up with the $229 price. Hmmmmm. She said she didn't know what the other price was. Now I am not blaming the person I talked with on the phone. After all, she pushed whatever buttons she needed to to get the lower price. Why is it that I have to jump though so many hoops to get the same price that any other shmoe would get? Why do I have to use the travel agent instead of doing it by myself (a lot better, faster, and cheaper)? Why do I have to suspend logic to make anything the government does make sense?
Days 5 & 6
2 days ago