The Centre has asked its employees to book air tickets with flights having the cheapest fare and at least 21 days prior to the intended date of travel to avail the most competitive fares and minimize the burden on the exchequer.
"Government employees are to choose flights having the Best Available Fare on their entitled travel class which is the Cheapest Fare available, preferably for Non-stop flight in a given slot, mentioned below, at the time of booking," said the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
While issuing instructions on the booking of air tickets on government account in respect of Leave Travel Concession (LTC), the DoPT said, "Employees are encouraged to book flight tickets at least 21 days prior to the intended date of travel on LTC, to avail the most competitive fares and minimize burden on the exchequer."
The DoPT has said that in all cases of air travel in respect of LTC, air tickets shall be purchased only from the three Authorized Travel Agents (ATAs), including Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited (BLCL), Ashok Travels & Tours and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC).
The department has said that employees are also encouraged to avoid unnecessary cancellations. "Cancellations made less than 24 hours before intended travel on LTC, will require the submission of a self-declared justification by the employee. All the three ATAs have been directed to provide zero/nil cancellation charges. Till then, cancellation charges are to be reimbursed for all cases where cancellation was due to the circumstances/reasons beyond the control of Government employee," it said.
It said that employees should preferably book only one ticket for each leg of the intended travel on LTC. "Holding of more than one ticket is not allowed. While tickets may be arranged by the office through the travel agent, employees are encouraged to make ticket booking digitally through the Self Booking Tool/online booking website/portal of these 3 ATAs only. Employees must register their official Government Email-Id with these three agencies to book their air tickets digitally through above modes for travel by any airlines."
In case of unavoidable circumstances, where the booking of the ticket is done through unauthorized travel agent/website, the Financial Advisors of the Ministry/Department and Head of Department not below the rank of Joint Secretary in subordinate/attached offices are authorized to grant relaxation, it said.