Prohibition Against Use of Travel Agents

B-199963: Published: Aug 27, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1980.

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GAO was questioned on the prohibition against the use of travel agents to procure official Government travel. The problems with such use are that: (1) the cost of dealing with travel agents would be higher than dealing directly with the carriers; (2) air fares would be raised if the airlines had to pay commissions on Government travel procured by travel agents; and (3) travel agents may be unfamiliar with statutes and regulations concerning Government travel. A l978 GAO study on this prohibition showed inconclusive benefits from lifting the prohibition. However, GAO is willing to lift the ban for individual agencies on the basis of analyses or tests showing that the use of travel agents will result in a more efficient and less costly travel operation.

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