Changing the Rules

Having been on travel to conferences and training sessions (more “back in the day”; recently we’ve been told we can have nearly any training we like if we can take it online or get there on the Metro) I have noticed several things about Government travel.

For notoriously getting the cheapest seats, you know, the center seat in a five-across, why are the tickets so blasted expensive? My wife had this conference in Tucson a few years ago. I went along as “spouse”. Her official ticket cost close to $500. I got mine on Orbitz for $169. Now I know all the paper reasons, it’s a guaranteed ticket and comes with all sorts of insurance, whatever. Big deal. In these “interesting” economic times, why can’t Government offices just use Priceline? Why can’t we use Hotwire to get hotel rooms? I’ve traveled cheaply for years and never had a flight cancelled. Is paying for all those guarantees really worth it?

I think this is the same mentality that approves of those $7000 coffee makers the Defense Department contracts for on their planes. Yeah, the thing meets so many specs, it’s damn near indestructible. I’ve seen a Mr. Coffee on sale at Wal-Mart for under $10. Buy a few gross of these and put two on each plane. In twenty-eight years I’m only on my second coffeemaker. The planes we buy don’t last that long. Of course this does explain those photos of remote plane crash sites where all the rescue workers are drinking hot coffee.

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