Travel Information

How do I purchase an airline ticket through our contracted travel agency?

ISU's contracted travel agencies are Corporate Travel Partners and Key Travel. Travelers may get information on flight availability and prices by phoning a contracted travel agent or visiting the contracted travel agency's website. ISU no longer uses Air Ticket Requisitions, and the new payment method is a Purchasing Card that has been authorized for air travel.

What happens if I need to reschedule a trip for which a ticket already has been purchased?

Increased ticket costs due to rescheduling fees or changed dates are allowable if the changes were for a business (rather than a personal) reason. The additional costs can be charged to a Purchasing Card authorized to purchase air tickets.

If the ticket price increases due to changes for personal (rather than business) reasons, the traveler should charge the increase to his/her personal credit card, as this is not reimbursable.

What alternatives do I have if I want to use another travel agency?

Travelers are allowed to use their personal credit cards or American Express Corporate Cards to purchase tickets from Internet sites. Reimbursement for personal funds used to purchase airline tickets will not be made until the conclusion of the trip. No travel advances will be issued to facilitate the purchase of air tickets. If you are using federal funds, you MUST comply with the Fly America Act.

When purchasing tickets with a personal credit card, the traveler assumes all risk. If the trip is canceled, ISU will not reimburse the traveler for the ticket of a trip that was not taken, as the credit for the unused ticket goes back to the traveler's credit card. By contrast, trips arranged through our contracted travel agency and subsequently canceled can have credits applied to the future trips of any ISU traveler, which ensures the value of the ticket will not be lost.

Acceptable documentation for air ticket claims on an Employee Reimbursement includes the entire airline itinerary showing names, fare class, dates of travel, all legs of the trip, and the amount paid. If the price paid for the ticket differs from the amount shown on the ticket coupon, the traveler must submit no more than the actual cost for reimbursement.

When comparing quotes between different sources, be sure to have identical itineraries and to obtain quotes on the same date. Airfares fluctuate several times during the day, so the closer the times the quotes were received, the more reliable they will be.

What guidelines are available to determine if travel is being conducted in a cost-efficient manner?

The following guidelines are intended to assist departments in determining if travel was conducted in a cost-efficient manner. These practices are consistent with federal and state travel policies, as well as those of many large corporations.

    1.) Tickets purchased should be the lowest cost commercial airfare. The university may consider absorbing slightly higher cost associated with flying on the lowest cost major airline as opposed to flying on an unknown carrier, however, the federal government will not. For our purposes "major airlines" would include American, Delta, Southwest, and United.

    2.) Tickets should be booked thirty (30) days in advance if possible, fourteen (14) days at the latest. Lack of prior planning should not be a valid excuse when requesting reimbursement for higher cost tickets.

    3.) Travelers should consider pricing flights that depart within two hours on either side of their preferred departure time or which depart at during normal business hours while on paid travel status, provided such departure times do not adversely affect required arrival windows.

    4.) Departments should consider using the university's preferred travel vendor(s) before looking elsewhere for tickets. While "special" fares sound tempting, our experience has shown that fewer that 1 in 4 fares which have been represented as being less costly than those provided by our contract agency actually were. Questions or comments concerning the university travel contract should be addressed to Procurement Services, Cindy Braatz at 294-5641.

    5.) When faculty and staff travel in conjunction with personal vacation, the following standards should apply:

      a) The business portion of the travel is justified.
      b) The travel agent has provided a written estimate outlining the costs for the business portion of the trip.
      c) When vacation or personal requirements cause indirect routing, cost of the direct route required for ISU business was compared and documented.
      d) University or federal policy requirements for travel were met for those segments of the trip identified as business related.
      e) Any additional charges incurred to accomodate personal travel must be charged to the traveler's credit card, rather than to ISU.

    6.) Before requesting tickets or pricing from a travel agency other than one contracted with the university, travelers need to be aware of the following:

      a) There are no national or international standards which regulate or test the proficiency of travel agencies, consolidators, or ticket brokers.
      b) The name of an agency does not indicate whether or not that agency is a travel agency, consolidator, or a ticket broker. There are legal differences between the three which determine the type of service provided and liability in case of default.
      c) Many states also do not regulate or require proficiency standards for travel agencies. Iowa only requires a registration fee, to do business as a travel agency.
      d) Lack of regulation implies that travelers should exercise caution when dealing with agencies that are not familiar.
      e) Procurement Services has very limited options to assist you if a travel agency or consolidator, not under contract with ISU, should default on its obligations.

    Travelers who have questions about an agency they would like to utilize, should contact one of the following travel associations to see if the agency is registered. Please note these are associations only, and travel agencies, consolidators, and brokers can operate legally without belonging to an association.

    Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)
    1530 Wilson Blvd, Suite 800
    Arlington, VA 22209-2448
    Tel: (703) 816-8000
    Fax: (703) 816-8104
    Note: All accredited travel agencies will have an ARC number.

    International Air Transport Association
    2000 Peel St.
    Montreal, PQ, H3A 2R4 CANADA
    Tel: (514) 844-6311
    Fax: (514) 844-8657
    Note: A reputable agency may have IATAN accreditation through this agency. Ask for the IATA number, and then click "Check a Code" on this website.

    Pacific Asia Travel Association
    1 Montgomery Street, Telesis Tower, Suite 1000
    San Francisco, CA 94104, USA
    TEL: (415) 986-4646
    FAX: (415) 986-3458
    Note: You may check a member directory.

    United States Air Consolidators Association

This page was last updated on May 16, 2018.