Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
February 19, 1999

New travel services begin March 1

by Anne Dolan

Iowa State's new contract with five travel agencies is intended to give ISU travelers more choices about who they do business with. The five-year contract begins March 1.

Three of the five agencies are in Iowa, one is in New York City and one is in New Haven, Conn. Iowa State's goal was to contract with at least three agencies to make sure that issues regarding acceptable services are covered, said purchasing agent Al Brooks.

ISU travelers may contact any of the five. Fares are set by the airlines, and all five travel agencies agree to offer the lowest price available for a given itinerary. If a traveler has preferences, for example, plane size or time of departure, an agency also will provide a quote that reflects those preferences. Brooks noted that such preferences may change the ticket price.

ISU employees don't have to shop comparatively among the five. If they decide they want to, they should make their inquiries the same day, because rates change constantly, Brooks said.

There are no service or ticket processing fees with the five agencies. Brooks noted that each of the five are providing some value-added services, ranging from travel maps to no service fees for leisure (non-ISU business) travel, from airport parking discounts to travel insurance on all tickets. These services vary among the agencies.

New travel authorization process

At the same time the additional agencies are contracting with the university, the controller's office is installing a new online system for buying air tickets. Beginning March 1, the new online "air travel requisition form" will be printed and faxed to a travel agency as authorization of payment. Departments should contact Bill Cahill in the accounting office, 4-5181, to get this system added to the ADP menu on their computers.

Cahill said the new system generates an air travel requisition number and records the charge when the authorization number is entered, which helps keep departmental travel accounts current.

Travelers still have to fill out the out-of-state travel authorization form to alert supervisors of their travel plans. However, once the system is complete, a single form will be routed electronically, similar to the process that replaced payroll form 111.

Questions about documenting travel purchases may be directed to Cahill; questions about working with the new agencies may be directed to Brooks, 4-7040.

The five travel agencies:

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Revised 02/18/99