State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Division of Finance

Alaska Department of Administration, Division of Finance
Administration >  Division of Finance >  Travel > Contract / Audit > Survey Results > Category: USTravel (Period Ending 12/31/2011)

E-Travel

Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

For Period of July 1 - September 30, 2011 (Quarter 1, Fiscal Year 2012)

Category: USTravel

Note: Comments are unedited with the exception of the removal of names.

ADA Requirements

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Agents need to be educated in ADA travel requirements

ETMT and USTravel Responses

Please provide more specific information or report it to the ETMT when you feel the services provided are not adequate.

Return to list of subcategories

Air Travel

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Delayed in Calgary overnight, because he was illegally booked with less than two hours between flights - which is mandatory- for customs processing. AS closed & he couldn't get a boarding pass-they were gone for the night. He lost an additional day traveling and had to pay for a hotel room. Agents should know the requirements for customs airports and book accordingly. His agent booked, manually 1 1/2 hr between landing in Calgary and taking off.

(It was also noted that Mr. John Doe did not obtain his boarding pass immediately, but instead waited until he filled out the customs paper work and by that time, the Alaska Airlines counter had closed as the agents went to the gate and it was too late to get a boarding pass from the Kisok. He was not allowed to clear customs because he did not have a boarding pass. AS agent confirmed he tried to check in at 5:28 for a 5:50 departure)

ETMT and USTravel Responses

Each city has required connection times that vary by carriers within domestic locations and to/from international locations.  Connection time tables are pre-programmed behind the scenes in all booking tools and agency reservation systems.  When an invalid connection time is booked, the system will generate an alert. Reservations systems, including others not used by the state, have been checked to verify the connection times, and all calls made to the airlines have confirmed a connection time of 1.5 hours in Calgary.  The reservation passed all rule checks and met the minimum connection requirements per the city/airline agreement, and the flight was on time. The problem has been discussed with Alaska Airlines in hopes that they will analyze the process in Calgary and adjust the minimum connection accordingly, if this has been a recurring problem.

Return to list of subcategories

Communication

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

When a travel agent makes a correction on an agent fee amount that they got wrong, by issuing another FINAL Itinerary (several days later) with the agent fee amount corrected, they NEED TO NOTIFY the TRAVEL DESK that they made such a correction. I do not spend time perusing the "Travel Box" unless I am waiting for something to be issued, and when I already have a FINAL Itinerary, I assume the transactions are complete.

Stacy had done a wonderful job as well and has been very helpful, however her phoneline is damaged or weak because it is alway hard to hear her.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

The communication process is for a final itinerary change to be sent via email. This includes schedule changes, seat changes, fees, $50 threshold errors, etc. The department and division emails were created to meet this need.

The weak phone line has been reported to USTravel.

Return to list of subcategories

Contact Information

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

have a telephone directory in one place, instead, call here for this, call here for this, contact so & so for this, etc.

too many numbers to call at US Travel for research, reservation changes and general questions, call one number they tell you to call another number. very frustrating

ETMT and USTravel Responses

There are only two phone numbers for USTravel:

  1. the Reservation Call Center 866-762-8728 (500-4292 in Juneau)
  2. the online Help Desk 877-500-4290 (500-4290 in Juneau)

If you call the wrong one, you will be asked to call the right one. They have specifically trained agents at each number to best meet your needs.

Return to list of subcategories

Customer Dissatisfaction

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

AND, then, I have to call back TWICE because the itinerary for the one is wrong. And I'm told by the agent, that WE all should take some refresher training...excuse me, I PAY you to get it right. The State paid $18.86 x 2 for a service that is easier with a phone call by me and then I KNOW it gets done right.

I was missing two segements of a recent trip that two colleages were booked on; my co-worker had the right time, but wrong flight number on her itinerary, which could have meant missing her flight by two hours if we did not catch the mistake; a recent trip to Prince of Wales Island had my connections into Ketchikan and then the Caribbean; a recent return from Seattle to Juneau had me routed through Anchorage.

E-Travel Reps frequently mess up, make things inconvenient and still charge. It isn't a hard job but for some people it is obviously a challenge.

However, I talked to one agent the other day that was very unhelpful. I had tried to book on-line and was shown an option that I wanted, went to book and after it took the information it kept looping me back to the start. I logged out then back in and the flight was gone. I called an agent and was told of flights I could not see and she talked to me like I must be stupid for not seeing the options on line that she had. Then she told me to book the flight in segments/multiple cities but was not willing to help me.

I called earlier in the week about a confidential trip that I am working on. The person that I spoke with seemed irritated that I ened up with her because the person assigned to the travel was unavailable. By the end this person ended up friendly but I felt like I was bugging her at the beginnig.

Pay attention.

should be nicer to the booking agent/traveller if there are special needs or considerations. Last time I booked the agent displayed audibly how spoiled I was and was very negative in thier assistance.

There have been two times when I had to get a supervisor as the travel agent was rude and unhelpful. There may be a need for more training or possibly when someone is having a bad day, let that person take a break and relax before answering any more calls.

When travel is changed, in this case lodging, the planner should be advised. In this case I was not told the travelers were split into 2 different hotels, 8 miles away from each other when the hotel #1 was not full. When the travelers called USTravel to ask if it could be changed, they were treated very poorly.

we have had several issues with check-in and the tickets are not paid for which requires another phone call...and holding up the line.

On more than one occasion, however, I have encountered a less than courteous tone and attitude from an agent and it is disappointing.

STO agents to look completely for the lowest available fair and to let us know that there is one. to be notified if we are being charged a fee

Training some of the new agents again. Some agents will not help you or give you incorrect information.

The agents are not always friendly, nor do they always give the best advice.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

When customer service is not as expected, report the issue to the ETMT. There is a complaint process in place to report customer service and travel issues. The ETMT will follow up and respond to each issue received. We can follow up further if you provide the name of the agent you spoke with. Itinerary discrepancies should be reported immediately to USTravel so they can correct them.

Return to list of subcategories

Customer Dissatisfaction > Quote

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Was quoted $230 by the agent, for tkt change. Final shows $456.15. I called the STO number, and specifically asked for the "fare difference cost" first, and when Antoinette with US Travel made her search and did her calculation, she quoted me $230, I replied to her that "I had to call" back because that price is quite high. She responded that she had changed the ticket already! I was shocked, of course, because I thought she was going to find out the pricing for me first. She and I were talking how it could possibly be a high ticket price because it's a late minute change. So, I said, let's find out first. I believe she accidentally changed it because when I said, "I will call back", she shared that she couldn't get the 5 pm schedule any longer! Now, of course with that information, I had no recourse but to grab the 10 am changed flight – otherwise Jane Doe may end up returning at a much later time! I understand there was a misunderstanding, but I just couldn't believe when we –state employees call for immediate assistance regarding urgent requests like this, I hope that an appropriate and careful procedures are followed through, so mistake like this can be avoided. Anyway, the decision to book the change request without confirmation from the requestor is an unfortunate one, and ASCA should not be penalized for it, and this $456.15 is such an unacceptable price, too. I sincerely hope there will be remedy to this mistake.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

This issue was a result of misunderstanding and miscommunication between parties.  An employee has asked that USTravel use more standardized language in their phone conversation, such as "Is your request to change approved?" or, "Are you requesting a quote only?"  USTravel and the ETMT agree that it is a good idea, since state employees ask for quotes or bookings in different ways.  These questions will help to clarify the request.  It is important to be aware that procedures have changed since the days of the booking request form.  Since the 2009 contract, reservations are made in the online booking tool or by calling USTravel.  Most phone requests are to book a reservation or to change an existing one and a Final is sent.  State employees also need to be very clear if they are only looking for a quote and want a prelim. The new ticket amount is $465.15.  The credit used was $228.13 which leaves the additional collection of $228.02 (not $456.14).  Ticket information has been reported in this manner since 2009.  After the Sabre conversion, USTravel will look into ways to make this more clear on the itinerary.

Return to list of subcategories

Customer Satisfaction

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

****FYI SCOTT is outstanding!!! He has helped me in many situations and I can't thank him enough.

Also, I would like to personally commend several of the US Travel agents for the high quality of their work and personable attention on the phone: Scott and Antoinette are the two that come to mind that I've dealt with the most at US Travel when I've had to call them directly at 500-4292. I realize you are surveying the State on-line system, but if this compliment can somehow make it to their supervisor, I would appreciate that. I think people doing a good job need to be recognized for that.

Antoinette and Scott are always VERY helpful and courteous! Thanks so much!

Ending on a positive note though, all the of the US travel personal that answer the phone when I call are very nice and understanding and always do what I ask. They all provide great customer service and I truly appreciate their positive attitudes.

Everyone I have talked to at US Travel over the past several years when I have needed assistance or had questions has been more than helpful (although on one occassion calling the 24 hr emergency line on a Saturday I think I ended up knowing more than the agent did!)

For the most part when I called in I've gotten great customer service.

I am satisfied how USTravel are able help me when booking travel when the other travel agent is not here to book for are employees. I will be needing training in e-travel still, but otherwise its all excllent. Thanks

I am very pleased with the efficiency of booking in E-Travel Online. Great Job1

I find the system very efficient for my needs.

I had a traveler not travel on a refundable ticket. Cindy contacted me to see if I wanted a refund or to let ticket sit for 2 mos. and then it would automatically refund. I appreciated the call.

I just need to give kudos to Antoinette (again) she helped me change an international flight and not lose the tickets we'd already purchased. She really is so knowledgeable and easy to work with. It's wonderful. I have to say all of the STO guys are very helpful to us. This is a Commissioner's office and we only call if we NEED SOMETHING right away and the travel agents ALWAYS help us out. It's worth every penny of the fee. Thank you Antoinette, Scott, Cindy, Stacy, Jennifer, Jennie, Trina and Celeste. :)

I think the agents are doing a very good job. They are friendly, quick, and efficient.

I've always had good service

Just a quick comment, Danielle assisted one of our Divisions with a very bad hotel stay and I want to say how pleased we are with her excellent service. Thank you for the resolution!

Most everyone is OK, but Scott stands out as exceptional.

Most of the time, the agents are very courteous when I have called.

No, I think they do a great job and the customer serivce is 100% almost all the time!!

None. They do a great job.

Scott and Antwonette continue to be the best agents to work with. They go above and beyond everytime for me. They are greatly appreciated.

Still happy!

The agents have always been very helpful and courteous. The other agents have been very professional and a pleasure to deal with.

Trina saved my life! I am not an experienced travel planner & was thrown to the wolves to do a difficult travel that also had a deviation by the state employee. Trina worked a long time with my traveler and me to get just the right travel. Give Trina a raise!!!!!!

US Travel are doing a wonderful job. They help me whenever I call and are very friendly and courteous.

Very happy with the customer service I have received on the phone. The staff are very knowledgable and helpful.

Your on-line trainers are wonderful, and the staff at US Travel on the 500-4292 line are exceptionally friendly and helpful - would like to comment that Scott in particular has been incredibly good.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

Thank you for your positive feedback.

Return to list of subcategories

Fees

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Final Itinerary did not include the STO fee or fee amount.

exchanged a ticket but there is no reference to the UST change fee or dollar amount.

Accurate final itineraries that include all information: ticket numbers, STO fee numbers.

being able to book Penair without the higher fee

It is ridiculous you get charged fees for contacting a USTravel agent for help when your on-line system doesn't work or you aren't able to book the travel as you would like on-line.

The system has been down a lot recently and it has been very inconvenient. While the system is down I do not think it should be policy that the travel coordinator pay for the agent assist fee. Had the system been working properly I would not be using this service and paying the fee.

We are not allowed to call the US Travel agents! It costs too much money for each request, above and beyond what we're already paying to use E-Travel Online. Really. A $4.00 fee for an agent to call Budget and provide a credit card number??? Ludicrous.

When a travel agent changes the amount of the agent fee (because they made an error on the first agent fee) after the Final Itinerary has been issued, they need to contact the Travel Planner to make them aware of the change.

While the system is down I do not think it should be policy that the travel coordinator pay for the agent assist fee. Had the system been working properly I would not be using this service and paying the fee.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

This issue of missing itinerary information has been previously reported.  This information is an automated response and not input by USTravel agents.  A decision was made to concentrate on the Sabre conversion and not to spend time fixing a system that was going away.  The information is available in iBank or by email request to soaresearch@ustravel.com. The ETMT apologizes that it will take an extra step to obtain the information for a short while. (Note: This issue was resolved with the Sabre conversion.)

The Sabre reservation system allows PenAir bookings to be made in E-Travel Online without agent assistance.

When E-Travel Online is down due to a RESX or USTravel system problem, a higher fee is not charged unless the reservation would otherwise require agent assistance. The agent assist fee is charged when the tool is working correctly, andt the user requests assistance to complete the booking.

For reservations booked in E-Travel Online, it is not necessary to call USTravel to request that they provide the CTS number to Budget and pay a $4 surcharge; you may do it yourself if that is what you prefer.

If USTravel made a change to the itinerary or fees, they will send a new final showing the change to the email address stored in the profile. Please report it when this does not happen.

Return to list of subcategories

Hotel Reservations

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

US Travel can have better communication with the hotels in rural AK. In Nome, I heard the experiences of a hotel operator who did not receive my confirmation info for the stay. Luckily they had a room and I was able to stay the night, but the commuication with local hotels is not described as good.

A Prelim for travel 8/14-19 was never finalized as employee did not take the trip. However department was charged a NO SHOW fee of $195 from Aurora Inn. Obtain refund for the hotel charge.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

If the hotel says they do not have a hotel confirmation, but your final itinerary shows a confirmation, report it immediately to USTravel. A confirmation would indicate that the hotel received the reservation request. We agree that communication is essential for all parties and it is also important for the traveler to reconfirm their travel arrangements.

The ETMT researched through folders, pulled historical data for the past 60 days, and did not find anything in the reservation system to indicate a request for USTravel to cancel the preliminary reservation.  As a reminder, when hotel and car requests are made in preliminary or final itineraries, they are actually booked and do require a cancellation notice.  This hotel requires a 24-hour notification.  USTravel called the hotel in an attempt to have them waive the no-show fee, but the hotel was not willing to waive the charge.

Return to list of subcategories

Itinerary > Layover

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

The only thing I ran into was for one trip, a layover of something like 5 hours that was somewhat out of the way of a more direct route. When I asked the person who booked our travel, I was told something about how 4 people were travelling and that was the only option.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

You did the right thing by asking your travel planner. It is possible that on a more direct route, the flights were too full to accommodate all travelers on the same flights.

Return to list of subcategories

Itinerary > Missing Data

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Employee Final does not have a ticket number/invoice information section showing the ticket number and amount or the UST service number and amount. Include proper tkt no. and amounts on all itineraries.

Trip involved 2 portions for transportation, 1 for AS and 2nd for ERA. ERA portion was not shown on the Final itn. When the final travel packet was turned in, unnecessary research was needed to determin/locate the charge ERA portion. Ensure the tkt/inv info included porper breakout for ticket fees. Part 2 - Why was the charge for ERA processed so late?

ETMT and USTravel Responses

This issue of missing itinerary data has been previously reported and should be resolved once the Sabre conversion is completed.  USTravel will be monitoring the situation. (This has been resolved.)

Part 2 - This was a split ticket reservation and the second segment did not process.  It is a system related issue, previously reported, but the agents are suppose to follow steps to ensure both segments are processed.  Likewise, travel arrangers should review their Final itinerary upon receipt to verify accuracy, and immediately report it to USTravel if something is missing.  The traveler called from the airport and USTravel issued the return ticket at that time.

Return to list of subcategories

Itinerary > Prelim

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Prelim for travel 9/11-16 was never finalized by traveler. Traveler discovered this upon arriving at the airport where she called UST and booked/purchased her trip. A document showing itineary information was obtained by the traveler, however only after the traveler contacted UST because a final itn was not sent when reservations were made. Send final itineraries timely.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

There is no record of an approval received for this reservation.  Finals are only sent once an approval is received. There are a few things that I observed while researching this reservation that I would like to mention (for educational purposes only) because the process could result in a debit memo. Multiple records were created and never cancelled for this traveler through different agents on different dates, along with car change requests.  The requests started in July. The first record went past 24 hours so the air cancelled.  It was resurrected in a new record on August 18, which was never cancelled or approved. On August 24, another record was created which was also never cancelled or approved. This is the reservation that was ticketed as she went to the airport. Making multiple records for the same traveler in this manner is called churning which can result in a debit memo from the airline(s). A suggested way to handle a booking request without a known approval date could be to request an itinerary fare quote in advance, and then once the itinerary is approved, request it to be booked.  Requesting a prelim is ok too, as long as the intention is to purchase it within the required time frame to avoid "churning."

Return to list of subcategories

Itinerary > Seating

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

Prelim for travel showed two seats, but only charged for one. When requesting final travel planner reconfirmed the purchase of two seats. Final arrived with two seats, but only charged for one again. TP called back and was advised it was wrong and it was then fixed. When travelers need two seats, please ask that agents always verify that the purchase has been completed as requested.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

USTravel is in error for sending a final that was not completely ticketed.  The second ticket for the extra seat did not pass through ticketing correctly and the agent did not catch it. They should always verify that the ticketing process is complete prior to sending the final.  After reviewing the situation, USTravel will have checks in place to ensure this does not happen again.

Return to list of subcategories

Service

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

be advised by the agent or asked by the agent about seat assignments and again lowest airfare

ETMT and USTravel Responses

USTravel has been advised.

Return to list of subcategories

Unused Tickets

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

I also was not able to use credit on ERA because the only option for flights was Alaska Air, but the flight I booked was an ERA flight.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

If you have an unused ticket on ERA (in an Alaska Airlines market share city), you can book the ERA flight and use the credit. Just advise the ETMT of the exception for not choosing Alaska Airlines.

Return to list of subcategories

Voids

Survey Comments / Feedback / Suggestions

It would be nice if the agents were more consistent in term usage. Sometimes VOIDED means the ticket has been discarded and not charged, at other times VOIDED means we were charged, but given a new ticket. I do the data entry and never am completely sure until I get the US BANK Statement if there will be a STO Fee/TKT charge or not.

ETMT and USTravel Responses

Unfortunately, there are numerous situations involved in VOIDED tickets. The itinerary should contain the appropriate VOID information for AutoPay reconciliation. There is a fee for requesting tickets to be voided.

Return to list of subcategories