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IG: Justice Department may waste millions on air travel

Sep. 30, 2013 - 01:00PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

Justice Department employees may be wasting millions of dollars by not buying the most cost-effective airfare options, according to a report released Monday by the agency’s inspector general.

While the agency requires employees to purchase the most cost-effective option, its online booking system did not always display less expensive airfares, according to the report.

“We found that some DOJ components had configured their online booking engines such that potentially less expensive, non-contract airfares were not displayed to employees by default, and that officials who authorize travel sometimes did not automatically receive the information they needed to confirm that employees had selected the lowest-cost airfare available,” the report said.

The Justice Department also can reduce its travel spending by relying less on travel agents. Using the online booking system costs the agency a $6.49 booking fee while booking with a travel agent cost the agency an average of $31.49, according to the report.

About 60 percent of bookings are done online — short of the agency’s 75 percent goal, according to the report. Justice Department employees spent about $112 million on about 167,000 tickets in fiscal 2012, according to the report.

The inspector general recommended that the agency ensure that the online system shows cheaper airfares by default and contains all the information on DoD travel requirements, and that it updates agency travel policy to make employees responsible for paying unnecessary agent-assisted booking fees.

The Justice Department agreed with the recommendations, and said in a response that it would work to implement them.

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