Combining Government and Personal Travel
Omega World Travel is willing and prepared to help the government traveler combine official and personal travel under the guidelines established by both the government contract and individual government agency. There are also restrictions that are imposed by the airlines.
When a government traveler wishes to add personal travel to his or her official itinerary, Omega's government travel specialists will first book the official portion of the trip. This is to ensure compliance with government contracts stating that only that portion of a traveler's authorized trip is charged to the government. The trip is booked and charged according to contracted carrier rules using government fares unless the government agency allows the use of penalty fares. At this point, personal travel may be added. Omega's policy is to minimize the traveler's additional, personal travel costs while adhering to both the government's and airline's mandatory travel rules.
Most government agencies do not allow the use of penalty fares on official travel. However, almost all of the lowest fares for non-official travel have penalties. This is an important factor and the Omega agent will always advise the traveler of penalties and risks to the traveler as they would become the responsibility of the traveler if a change was needed. Penalty fares afford the government traveler many alternatives when combining personal travel with official travel. Our agents will work with you to find the optimum combination that requires the least possible risk and cash outlay.
Contract Carriers and Government Fares
Airlines allow the use of government fares only on the official routing(s) stated on the travel orders. Omega agents are not permitted to book government fares for personal travel. Travelers are advised that some non-contract carriers may offer (restricted and non-restricted) fares to the general public which may be lower than the government contract fares. In such cases, the lower fare(s) may be used, based on the application of exception three (3) as stated in the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR).
There are many combinations of official and personal travel and Omega agents are trained to work with you to keep costs low, adhere to government and airline rules and minimize risks.
Most rental car companies extend government rates to government employees on personal travel. However, it is important to remember that the collision damage waiver (CDW) is only included on rentals covered on your government issued travel orders. Credit card companies also offer CDW protection on rental cars. The Omega agent will advise of applicable CDW charges. If you have rented a car for use while on official travel (as stated on your official travel orders) and decide to keep the car for use in conjunction with personal travel, the two must be handled as two separate rentals by the rental car company. In addition, Omega has preferred negotiated rates that may be used by any traveler of Omega and in most cases these rates are at or below per diem. Note: You may be required to show government ID or travel orders when picking up a rental car reserved at a government rate.
Some hotels extend government rates to government employees on personal travel. Omega agents will work with you to advise you of such rates, as well as non-government rates which might be more beneficial. In addition, Omega has preferred negotiated rates that may be used by any traveler of Omega and in most cases these rates are at or below per diem. Note: You may be required to show government ID or travel orders when checking-in for a room booked at a government rate.
Frequent Flyer Awards/Upgrades
The government allows federal travelers to use personal frequent flyer points to upgrade official travel as long as it does not result in extra cost to the government. In most cases, upgrades can only be used in conjunction with full coach fares (not government fares). A few airlines allow government fares to be upgraded by using more miles and/or by booking a different fare category. Travelers should contact the airline directly regarding use of frequent flyer miles and upgrades.
Omega's contracts with government agencies require that we staff with agents dedicated to handling the agencies' official travel. Furthermore, government agencies mandate that official travel is handled first. While agents are typically able to handle personal travel, it may sometimes be necessary to defer such travel requests to another agent or a later time that is less busy. We appreciate your patience and understanding in such instances.
In the event you would like a relative or friend to join you on your official trip, please advise the Omega agent at the time you call to book your official travel. We will gladly make the reservation, and offer the lowest applicable fares on the same flights that your official travel dictates while doing everything possible to reserve seats together and book any hotel(s) and/or car rental(s).
Omega is a full-service travel agency, able to assist with all your travel needs. While official travel must be given priority, agents will gladly assist our government clients with any special rates and leisure packages.