LTC rules for govt employees on flight ticket booking explained

LTC Rules for Central Government Employees: The central government has issued guidelines on airline ticket booking. The Postal Department of the Ministry of Communications has issued an Office Memorandum (OM) in this regard, explaining the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) rules regarding airline ticket booking agents, airline ticket prices, time bands, etc. The central government has asked central government employees to book airline tickets with three booking agents – Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited (BLCL) and Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT).

Here we list LTC rules for central government employees in 10 points:

1]In all cases of air travel relating to LTC, air tickets may only be purchased from the three Authorized Travel Agents (ATAs), namely: (a) M/s Balmer Lawrie & Company Limited (BLCL), (b) M/s Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT) and (c) Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC).

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2]Government employees must select a best available fare flight in their eligible class of travel at the time of booking, which is the cheapest available fare, preferably for a non-stop flight within a specific time slot as mentioned below. You shall retain the hard copy of the relevant ATAs webpage with flight and fare details for the purpose of settling LTC claims.

3]Central government employees are encouraged to book airline tickets with LTC at least 21 days in advance of the intended travel date in order to obtain the cheapest fares and minimize the strain on the government coffers.

4]In the event of unavoidable circumstances where the booking of the ticket is made through an unauthorized travel agency/website, the financial advisers of the ministry/department and the head of department are not below the rank of joint secretary in subordinate/affiliated offices for grant entitled relaxation.

5]Government employees who are eligible for air travel may apply for an LTC advance by printing out the relevant authorized travel agent’s webpage with appropriate flight and fare details while tracking the airfare within the three-hour time window as mentioned in paragraph 1 ( iii) (a) above, at least 30 days before the intended date of travel.

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6]If there is a price difference at the time of actually booking the ticket after receiving the advance due to the time gap between requesting the advance and granting the advance, the price difference will be adjusted at the time of the processing of the LTC claim.

7]Government employees who are not eligible for air travel and wish to travel by air but not under the Special Dispensation Scheme need only book their air ticket through the three ATAs above, regardless of the booking deadline. However, reimbursement is limited to the actual airfare or the eligible train/bus fare for the shortest route, whichever is lower.

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8]Employees are encouraged to avoid unnecessary cancellations. Cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to intended travel with LTC will require the employee to provide a self-declared justification. All three ATAs have been instructed to charge zero/zero cancellation fees. Until then, cancellation fees are to be refunded for all cases where the cancellation is due to circumstances/reasons beyond the government official’s control.

9]Employees should preferably book only one ticket for each intended leg of travel with LTC. Possession of more than one ticket is not permitted.

10]While tickets can be arranged by the office through the travel agent, staff are encouraged to make ticket bookings digitally only via the 3 ATA’s self-booking tool/online booking website/portal. Employees are required to register their official government email ID with these three agencies in order to digitally book their airline tickets through the above modes for travel on any airline.

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