SATO and military travel

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by chef4u, Jul 17, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. chef4u
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    chef4u Silver Member

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    Does anybody know which airline is the preferred military fare airline when it comes to the following routes:
    YYZ-HNL
    SAN-YYZ

    I know bookings are done through SATO and that some routes have specific contracts. Hope this makes sense to someone out there and as always, thank for your help/
     
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  2. kevberhow

    kevberhow Silver Member

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    Here is the site that you can search for current city pairs. http://cpsearch.fas.gsa.gov/ Looks like there is no contract for flights to/from YYZ.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
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  3. chef4u
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    chef4u Silver Member

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    So what happens if there is no YYZ contract?
     
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  4. kevberhow

    kevberhow Silver Member

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    It just means the military will be paying more for the ticket and they will just choose the cheapest available if there are no contract fares.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
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  5. chef4u
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    chef4u Silver Member

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    Thanks for your input!
     
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  6. UA/Travel_!_Junky

    UA/Travel_!_Junky Active Member

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    The military uses more DL tickets more than anything but you can tell SATO you want to fly a particular airline so you can get the miles to your preferred mileage plan. They don't have to do that but it's worked for me every time so far.
     
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  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Often the government fares are much more expensive, even HCA rather than YCA for last coach seat availability, than tickets I can purchase for exactly the same flights. Of course, the government doesn't pay until almost departure day and you have flexibility if you need to change the ticket (I do too since I get free SDC/SDS as a DL elite), but for my government travel, those fares seem like aa big waste of money.
     
  8. afakhori

    afakhori Silver Member

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    Agreed, but what has worked for me in the past is to have Sato book whatever ticket they want. You can then check the flight for first class tickets. The amount of money that the Gov pays for some tickets are sometimes just a few $$ less than what it would cost for first. I've successfully called the airline and paid the difference and got put in first. Just an idea :)
     
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  9. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Whatever the contract airline is, you can also have your flights booked on partner/alliance airlines, as long as there are codeshare flights available. For example, rather than booking a UA flight, you could book a LH flight if it has a UA codeshare. You have to be proactive with your travel folks in order to get this done, but it is very much doable.
     
  10. Goldlust

    Goldlust Active Member

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    Is a military person (soldier, sailor, airman or marine) in uniform allowed to accept it, if somebody (me) offers to guest him (or her) into a lounge?
     
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  11. chef4u
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    chef4u Silver Member

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    So...my routing is YYZ-ATL-HNL. on DL Hope I can at least get an aisle seat on the 9+ hr flight. All Economy Comfort sold out :mad:.
     
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  12. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    United Airlines used to provide complimentary economy comfort seating to military travelers, but they stopped doing that a few years ago, and now military travelers must pay (way in advance, if you want the seat) to get economy comfort seating.

    My advice is to call the airline directly now, secure your aisle seat, and at least be put on a wait-list for economy comfort seating, if none are available. Of course, I'd like to see military travelers offered complimentary seat/cabin upgrades, but that's not going to occur on the airlines anytime soon!
     
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  13. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    No worries from the airline side. I also doubt you'd be in trouble with the brass, but you could pose a hypothetical to your CO in advance of travel -- saying it happened to you on prior travel -- and making sure you were allowed. No one who sees you in the lounge would know whether you were a paid guest or not.
    OTOH, depending on the lounge, you might be better off at the USO where there is one, in terms of food offerings. Really too bad more USOs aren't behind security (airside.)
     
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  14. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    To be safe, the military person should check with his/her JAG Ethics officer, but in general it would be OK. Where there might be some question is where the offeror is a "prohibited source" like a contractor with the Government and the recipient is somehow involved in awarding the contract or assessing performance.

    Part of the constraints on what military personnel in uniform can accept has to do with the perception that taxpayer money is paying for a luxury. That's why in some cases they cannot take a complimentary upgrade. In the case of the lounge, I would think that wouldn't be a problem.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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  15. UA/Travel_!_Junky

    UA/Travel_!_Junky Active Member

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    the answer is no but no one is going to care about things like that. That's just like someone giving a military member a first class seat. But any military member can get into a united club at least if the are on orders coming from the AOR. But every military member should pay the difference to go into first class if they want since the SATO ticket is a full fare and the difference in money is next to nothing.
     
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  16. Counsellor
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    Not all SATO tickets are "full fare" by any means, particularly within the United States where there are city-pair contracts.

    Even internationally (e.g., TATL), the booking class can be discount economy but usually with a right to refund unused tickets and the ability to change (sometimes for a fee).

    On the other hand, sometimes (particularly with foreign carriers on a flight between two non-US cities, e.g., Europe to Africa) it is "Y" fare and you can indeed "buy up" for very little additional money.

    And finally, be careful if you're in uniform. Because the problem is perception, not economics, sometimes military personnel are prohibited from sitting in a premium cabin even where they have paid for the upgrade, since DoD doesn't want other pax back in coach thinking their tax money went to pay for the premium seat. (I suppose you could try wearing a sign saying "I paid for the upgrade myself," but it would have to be a big sign, since you can be spotted as being "in uniform" from quite a distance. :D)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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  17. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Counselor's (excellent) advice is spot-on! And it also behooves military personnel travelling in uniform to be aware that you have a (very public) nametag and branch of service identifiable on your uniform that would allow anyone so inclined to complain about your actions at any time!

    For example, it likely wouldn't be to the service member's advantage to be see drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages while in uniform, whether in an airline lounge, or on the airplane. And so on...
     
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  18. MSPeconomist
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    Often you cannot pay to upgrade until the ticket has been issued, nor can you get a free elite upgrade orfree EC seating on DL until the flight has been ticketed. This is likely to happen very close to the date of your outbound flights.
     
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  19. afakhori

    afakhori Silver Member

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    You're right, and they tend not to ticket until very close to the flight date. It still can be an option depending on when it's ticketed and where you're flying ;)
     
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  20. gamecock

    gamecock Silver Member

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    I once needed to fly from FRA-JNB-FRA. No surprise there is not a contract for that route. My options were:

    LH FRA-JNB
    BA: FRA-LHR-JNB
    IB: FRA-MAD-JNB

    I asked to fly BA and got it without a bat of an eye.

    If my experience is any indication they will book you on the cheapest fully changeable/refundable fare.
     
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  21. chef4u
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    chef4u Silver Member

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    Here we go again..... YYZ-MNL-RXS Any ideas on who SATO will use? I'm thinking DL, but maybe a codeshare on CX ? Any SATO experts want to pipe in?
     
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  22. Iceman7592

    Iceman7592 New Member

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    I'm travelling (TDY) Frankfurt to Chicago.
    If SATO issues me a Delta ticket costing $2000, and I find a Delta Business Class ticket for $1900, can I buy the Business Class ticket?
     
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  23. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    You can buy anything you want, but good luck in getting a reimbursement, unless you get approved to purchase your own ticket ahead of time!
     
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  24. Counsellor
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    You can sometimes get approval (in advance) in a situation of that nature by showing that the premium travel (Business class) would save the government money -- but only sometimes. The government would have to buy the ticket, and it may be that there is a city-pairs contract with Delta that specifies that the government will buy only certain fares for official travel. Additionally, it may be that the special Business class fare is nonrefundable, and the government is hesitant to buy those fares unless the savings is very high, since military exigency can often cause changes in travel plans.

    However, remember the old rule that it seldom hurts to ask. If you document your case well, you may get the approval.
     
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  25. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Counsellor is right about all of this, IME. And there is not often an incentive for the government what you'd like them to do, regarding a seating upgrade. If the need is to purchase a cheaper non-refundable fare to get that seating, my bet is that isn't likely to happen. The nice thing about (most) government-purchased coach seats is that you can, if available, (use miles or pay to) upgrade your seat a better-than-average-coach seat, because they are refundable full-fare (government rate) tickets.

    And an alternative rule is that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission! But in this instance, I'll bet that one will backfire!
     
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