Breaking Down LTC Air Ticket Booking Problems : Why LTC Air Ticket Booking Issues Persist Despite DoPT Instructions Dated 20.10.2023
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The process of booking LTC (Leave Travel Concession) air tickets has been a persistent source of frustration for government employees, despite the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) releasing instructions on the matter. This article will delve into the root causes of these booking problems and explore why they continue to exist even after the issuance of DoPT’s instructions on October 20, 2023.
Understanding LTC Air Ticket Booking
LTC is a significant employee benefit, allowing government employees to travel with their families while enjoying certain concessions. Air travel under LTC is one of the most preferred options, given its speed and convenience.
Common Issues Faced During LTC Air Ticket Booking
Many government employees face a myriad of problems when attempting to book air tickets for LTC. These issues often include i) Registration Process ii) Timeouts issue leads to missing of Screen shots iii) difficulties in securing preferred dates, and a lack of clarity regarding the booking process.
Importance of DoPT’s Instructions
The DoPT plays a crucial role in regulating LTC policies and procedures. Its instructions are designed to simplify and standardize the process, making it more accessible and less prone to errors. Recently DoPT has issued an Office Memorandum dated 20.10.2023 regarding booking Air Tickets on Government Account in respect of Leave Travel Concession (LTC).
Why Problems Persist Despite DoPT’s Instructions
Despite the well-intentioned efforts of DoPT, several reasons contribute to the persistence of LTC air ticket booking issues:
The Air Ticket Booking Portals of three Authurised Agents [(i) ‘M/s Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited’,BLCL (https://govemp.balmerlawrietravelapp.com), (ii) ‘M/s Ashok Travels & Tours’, ‘ATT’ (https://www.attitdc.in) and (iii) Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd., ‘IRCTC’ (https://www.air.irctc.co.in)] appointed for LTC Air Ticket booking are not adhering the instructions issued by DoPT so far. Because these portals yet to be modified to accept the LTC booking registration without official mail accounts. They accepts only the @nic.in and @gov.in mail ids for registration. These email accounts are not provided to group B and C staffs mostly.
Registering with Private emails not Allowed
Government employees who do not have official email accounts, if they try to register on this portal, they are not allowed to register. At that time the following warning message appears,
User registration can be done only with government official mail address like @gov.in, @nic.in or similar government mail address, website will not accept any private and non-government mail address like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @rediffmail.com, @hotmail.com, @outlook.com, @live.com or similar mail address.
Due to this, the government employees are in confusion as to how to book LTC flight tickets
Technical Glitches in the Booking Process
Further the online booking system for LTC air tickets is not always flawless. Technical glitches can result in booking failures, causing immense frustration among employees.
Lack of Clarity in LTC Guidelines
The guidelines provided by DoPT may not always be crystal clear, leaving room for interpretation and confusion. This ambiguity can lead to mistakes during the booking and reimbursement process.
The DoPT Instruction Para 3 in OM Dated 20.10.2023 states the following,
Further, all the three AlAs have also been directed to allow the registration of those employees who do not have official email accounts provided their administrative office sends their details depicting their names, employee code no., private email IDs and mobile numbers, etc. to the travel agents for the purpose of booking the air tickets in respect of LTC journey.
The above instruction is not clear as to how the personnel administration office can send the details of the employees to the travel agents
Limited Availability of LTC Air Tickets
There is a limited number of LTC air tickets available for government employees. This scarcity can result in high demand, leading to difficulties in securing tickets.
Solutions to Overcome LTC Air Ticket Booking Problems
To address these persistent issues, several measures can be taken:
Fixed Air fare for LTC Air Tickets
Earlier during the state-run Air India service, there was a fixed fare for LTC flight tickets. That system of fixed Air fare to be restored again and allow the employees to book LTC Air Tickets within this limit.
Upgrading Booking Systems
Investing in more robust and efficient booking systems can reduce technical glitches and improve the booking experience. There should be no delay in upgrading the air ticket booking websites of the three authorized travel agents as per government orders. Otherwise employees may wrongly book their LTC tickets which results in rejection of their LTC claim
Streamlining and Simplifying the LTC by Air Guidelines
DoPT can work on simplifying and clarifying the guidelines, making them easier to understand and follow.
Enhancing LTC Ticket Availability
Efforts to increase the availability of LTC air tickets can ease the burden on employees and reduce the competition for limited seats.
Despite DoPT’s instructions, LTC air ticket booking problems continue to plague government employees. It’s crucial to address these issues by providing proper Monitering, upgrading booking systems, streamlining guidelines, and enhancing ticket availability. Only by doing so can we ensure that government employees can enjoy the benefits of LTC without unnecessary hassles.
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