B-154603, OCTOBER 20, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 219

B-154603: Oct 20, 1964

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ETC. - TICKETING BY MAIL SERVICE THE USE OF THE "TICKETING BY MAIL" OR "TELE-MAIL" AIRLINE SERVICE WHEREBY THE TRAVELER ORDERS TICKETS BY TELEPHONE AND THE CARRIER MAILS THE TICKETS IS NOT PRECLUDED BY 5 GAO 2040.10. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AN AGENCY ORDERING TICKETS WILL FURNISH THE SERIAL NUMBER AND THE INFORMATION NORMALLY SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST. WILL BE MAILED TO AN IDENTIFIED GOVERNMENT OFFICE. WHICH IN TURN WILL FORWARD THE EXECUTED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO THE CARRIER. THE PROCEDURE WILL FACILITATE TICKET PROCUREMENT. IN WHICH WE ARE ASKED WHETHER TITLE 5 OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES MAY BE INTERPRETED TO PERMIT AGENCIES.

B-154603, OCTOBER 20, 1964, 44 COMP. GEN. 219

TRANSPORTATION - REQUESTS - ISSUANCE, USE, ETC. - TICKETING BY MAIL SERVICE THE USE OF THE "TICKETING BY MAIL" OR "TELE-MAIL" AIRLINE SERVICE WHEREBY THE TRAVELER ORDERS TICKETS BY TELEPHONE AND THE CARRIER MAILS THE TICKETS IS NOT PRECLUDED BY 5 GAO 2040.10, WHICH REQUIRES THE PERSON PRESENTING A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO ESTABLISH HIS IDENTITY, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AN AGENCY ORDERING TICKETS WILL FURNISH THE SERIAL NUMBER AND THE INFORMATION NORMALLY SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, SF 1169, THE TICKET, CARRYING THE SERIAL NUMBER (5 GAO 2040.25), WILL BE MAILED TO AN IDENTIFIED GOVERNMENT OFFICE, WHICH IN TURN WILL FORWARD THE EXECUTED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO THE CARRIER, AND, ALTHOUGH NO SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS MAY RESULT, THE PROCEDURE WILL FACILITATE TICKET PROCUREMENT, WITH NO DETRIMENT TO THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT; HOWEVER, THE NEED REMAINS FOR SUCH AGENCY FUNCTIONS AS SELECTION OF ECONOMICAL ROUTES, PREPARATION OF TRANSPORTATION REQUEST AND TRAVEL VOUCHERS, AND THE MAINTENANCE OF BOTH RECORDS AND LIAISON WITH CARRIERS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCTION, AND WELFARE, OCTOBER 20, 1964:

WE AGAIN REFER TO A LETTER DATED JUNE 29, 1964, FROM MR. JAMES F. KELLY, ACTING ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, IN WHICH WE ARE ASKED WHETHER TITLE 5 OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES MAY BE INTERPRETED TO PERMIT AGENCIES, SUCH AS THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, TO USE A "TICKETING BY MAIL" SERVICE PROVIDED BY SOME AIRLINES.

"TICKETING BY MAIL" OR, AS IT SOMETIMES CALLED,"TELE-MAIL," AS WE UNDERSTAND IT, IS A CUSTOMER SERVICE PROVIDED BY SOME AIRLINES WHEREBY THE TRAVELER ORDERS AIRLINE TICKETS BY TELEPHONE AND THE CARRIER FURNISHES THEM BY MAIL. THE AIRLINE IS CONTACTED FOR RESERVATIONS AT LEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE THE DESIRED TRAVEL DATE AND, WHERE AUTHORIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL IS INVOLVED, THE AIRLINE IS AT THE SAME TIME GIVEN THE SERIAL NUMBER OF AND THE INFORMATION NORMALLY SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, STANDARD FORM 1169, PREPARED FOR THE TRIP. THE TICKETS ARE MAILED BY THE CARRIER TO THE PERSON REQUESTING THEM WHO THEN BY RETURN MAIL SENDS THE PROPERLY EXECUTED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO THE CARRIER.

AS POINTED OUT IN MR. KELLY'S LETTER, OUR REGULATIONS NOTIFY THE CARRIER THAT IT MUST REQUIRE THE PERSON PRESENTING THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST TO SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISH HIS IDENTITY AS THE TRAVELER OR OTHER PERSON AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE THE TICKETS. 5 GAO 2040.10. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE TICKETING BY MAIL SERVICE, AS WE UNDERSTAND ITS OPERATION, IS PRECLUDED BY THIS PROVISION, BECAUSE THE CARRIERS WILL HAVE AN IDENTIFIED GOVERNMENT OFFICE STAFFED WITH RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE TO WHOM TO MAIL THE TICKETS. WE NOTE FURTHER THAT UNDER 5 GAO 2040.25 THE SERIAL NUMBER OF THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, FURNISHED TO THE CARRIER BY TELEPHONE, WILL BE PLACED ON EACH COUPON OF THE TICKET PRIOR TO BEING MAILED TO THE PERSON REQUESTING IT.

MR. KELLY INDICATES IN HIS LETTER THAT USE OF THE TICKETING BY MAIL PROCEDURE WOULD REMOVE THE NEED FOR THE CENTRALIZED TRAVEL ORGANIZATION, BUDGETED AT A YEARLY COST OF $44,700, AS WELL AS THE NEED FOR A TELETICKETING MACHINE, NOW RENTED ANNUALLY. WE BELIEVE THAT THE PRINCIPAL DUTIES OF AN AGENCY'S TRAVEL GROUP SHOULD INCLUDE THE SELECTION OF ECONOMICAL ROUTES, THE PREPARATION OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND TRAVEL VOUCHERS AND THE MAINTENANCE OF A LIAISON WITH CARRIERS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF TICKETS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, AND IT IS QUESTIONABLE THAT OBTAINING TICKETS BY MAIL WOULD RESULT IN ANY SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS IN ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS. AT MOST, IT SEEMS TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE USE OF THE TELETICKETING PROCEDURE OR FOR TRIPS BY TRAVELERS OR BY MESSENGERS TO CARRIER TICKET OFFICES TO PROCURE TICKETS, BUT IT DOES NOT SERVE TO REMOVE THE EXISTING NEED FOR THE EXERCISE OF VARIOUS FUNCTIONS AND THE RESPONSIBILITIES INVOLVED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION AND FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PROPER RECORDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROCUREMENT.

SINCE, HOWEVER, THE TICKET PROCUREMENT PROCESS IS FACILITATED AND THERE IS NO APPARENT DETRIMENT TO THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, OUR OFFICE HAS NO PRESENT OBJECTION TO THE USE BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE OF THE DESCRIBED TICKETING BY MAIL OR TELE-MAIL SERVICES.