Australian Government Travel Policies

Domestic Travel Policy

Non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs) subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 External site (PGPA Act) are required to adhere to the requirements of the Australian Government's domestic air travel policy in Resource Management Guide No. 404 when considering, booking or approving domestic travel:

The policy requires Commonwealth officials undertaking official domestic air travel, to select the lowest practical fare (LPF), which is the lowest fare available at the time the travel is booked on a regular service (not a charter flight) that suits the practical business needs of the traveller, every time they fly.

Participating corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) are encouraged to comply with this policy.

International Travel Policy

NCEs subject to the PGPA Act are required to comply with the requirements of the Australian Government's international travel policy in Resource Management Guide No. 405 when approving or booking international air travel.

Participating CCEs are encouraged to comply with this policy.

A comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions on the revised Official International Travel - Use of the Best Fare of the Day policy can be found here.

When undertaking official international travel, officials should select the international best fare (IBF).

Officials should apply an appropriate level of rigor in establishing a value for money proposal for each international trip. You are required to obtain and consider a minimum of three (3) quotes for each trip (maybe less for destinations that are served by a small number of carriers or with infrequent scheduling). QBT’s International Online Quoting Tool allows the creation of an unlimited number of quotations at no charge. Online quotations can be saved and progressed to ticketing once approvals have been received.

A QBT travel consultant is able to assist you with the preparation of quotations. If more than three quotes are required, it is generally not appropriate for entities to have QBT produce an exhaustive list of quotations that consider every available airline / carrier, routing option or class of travel. Quotations issued in excess of three will attract a fee.

Air Travel Reference Guide

The Air Travel Reference Guide (the Guide) provides an overview of the Arrangements including a summary of the fare conditions that apply to negotiated domestic airfares. It also provides tips on how to make air travel bookings. Please contact woagtravel@finance.gov.au if you require a copy of the Guide. Note that the Guide is only available to NCEs and participating CCEs.

Booking Codes - Domestic

When booking official domestic air travel, officials must identify the reason a fare is selected using the LPF Policy booking codes at Table 1 below. This table includes a code for travel outside the policy.

Table 1 - Lowest Practical Fare (LPF)

Code

Booking Code

Map to LPF Guidance

1

Lowest fare

This is the cheapest available fare taking into account the 45 minute window

2

Time, routing, connection or baggage charges

Where the fare selected is not the lowest fare because:

  • it is the most direct route;
  • ensures connections for further flights are met; or
  • takes into account excess baggage fees.

3

Approval / Entitlement to travel at higher fare class (e.g. business class or premium economy)

All air travel should be at the lowest practical fare in economy class unless there is a business case or entitlement to travel outside these guidelines.
In these circumstances, officials are still required to obtain the lowest practical fare within the entitlement.

4

Health issues

Health issues for officers requiring certain facilities. A medical certificate should support use of this code.

5

Personal responsibilities

Impact on personal responsibilities such as family.

6

Require flexibility to change booking

Where flexibility is required for air travel, travel bookers should consider selecting a semi-flexible fare type instead of a fully flexible fare.

7

Outside of LPF Policy

Preference for particular aircraft or airlines, availability of access to airline lounges, accumulation of airline benefits such as reward or loyalty points (including status credits).

Using the LPF Policy:

Below are examples of how to use the LPF Policy.

It is mandatory that an LPF Policy Booking Code be provided at the time of booking official domestic air travel.

Note: Booking Codes 1 to 6 are for fares compliant with the LPF Policy. Booking Code 7 is for fares outside the LPF Policy.

Lowest Practical Fare - Examples

Example 1:

An Australian Government official accesses their entity's Online Booking Tool (OBT) to review air travel options for two officials travelling from Canberra to Brisbane on 20 August 2013 and returning to Canberra on 23 August 2013. Considering the 45-minute 'looking' window as prescribed in the LPF policy, the OBT returns the following alternatives:

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Travel Class

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Outbound

CBR-BNE

No

1:45

Econ

$100

2

Outbound

CBR-BNE

No

1:45

Econ

$150

 

3

Outbound

CBR-BNE

No

1:45

Econ

$250

 

4

Outbound

CBR-SYD-BNE

Yes

3:00

Econ

$165

 

* Fares are for demonstration purposes only.

Outbound Sector: Lowest Fare

This is generally the cheapest seat on the aircraft. For outbound travel where your arrival time at the destination is generally known and not negotiable, a cheaper ticket with little or no flexibility should be purchased.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 1 "Lowest Fare" on the OBT. No missed savings would be recorded.

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Travel Class

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Inbound

BNE-CBR

No

1:45

Econ

$159

 

2

Inbound

BNE-CBR

No

1:45

Econ

$209

 

3

Inbound

BNE-CBR

No

1:45

Econ

$269

4

Inbound

BNE-SYD-CBR

Yes

3:00

Econ

$309

 

* Fares are for demonstration purposes only.

Inbound Sector: Requires Flexibility

For return sectors, while a finish time is scheduled, the traveller's commitments may finish earlier than planned, or run over time. For these reasons the traveller may need to consider the purchase of a semi-flexible or fully flexible ticket for the return sector. This will allow the traveller to amend their flight bookings at the airport – either earlier or later – with little or no additional cost (subject to the fare's conditions). A semi-flexible or fully-flexible fare is generally more expensive than instant purchase, cheap fares.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 6 "Requires Flexibility" on the OBT. Missed savings of $110 would be recorded (being the difference between the cheapest fare available and the fare that is selected).

Example 2:

A Commonwealth Official accesses their entity's Online Booking Tool (OBT) to review air travel options for one official travelling from Melbourne to Sydney and return on 2 October 2013. Considering the 45-minute 'looking' window as prescribed in the LPF policy, the OBT returns the following alternatives:

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Travel Class

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Outbound

MEL-SYD

No

1:25

Econ

$90

 

2

Outbound

MEL-SYD

No

1:25

Econ

$135

 

3

Outbound

MEL-SYD

No

1:25

Bus

$540

4

Outbound

MEL-SYD

No

1:25

Bus

$670

 

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Travel Class

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Inbound

SYD-MEL

No

1:25

Econ

$90

 

2

Inbound

SYD-MEL

No

1:25

Econ

$135

 

3

Inbound

SYD-MEL

No

1:25

Bus

$540

4

Inbound

SYD-MEL

No

1:25

Bus

$670

 

* Fares are for demonstration purposes only.

Outbound and Inbound Sectors: Business Class Fare

The official travelling on these sectors is entitled to travel at Business Class. There are two business class fares available on each sector.

The travel booker completing the booking should select the cheaper of the two Business Class fares on offer. Your OBT should then report no missed savings. For the purpose of calculating missed savings, your OBT should not compare the cheapest Economy Class seat with the Business Class Fare that was selected. Contact your TMC to address this issue if missed savings are reported in this way.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 3 "Approval/Entitlement to travel at a higher fare class" on the OBT.

Many Australian Government entities have determined that officials must travel at Economy Class for all domestic flights of less than three hours in duration. Using the example above and examining Economy Class seats available within the same 45-minute window, travel at Economy Class could have saved the entity $450 per sector or $900 for the return trip. If the same official made this journey once per week 40 times in a calendar year at Economy Class instead of Business Class, the entity could potentially save $36,000.

Example 3:

An Official accesses their entity's Online Booking Tool (OBT) to review air travel options for two officials travelling from Canberra to Darwin on 10 October 2013 and returning to Canberra on 18 October 2013.

The OBT returns the following alternatives:

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Outbound

CBR-SYD-DRW

Yes

4:35

$317

 

2

Outbound

CBR-BRI-DRW

Yes

4:55

$320

 

3

Outbound

CBR-ADL-DRW

Yes

4:15

$330

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Inbound

DRW-SYD-CBR

Yes

6:10

$278

 

2

Inbound

DRW-SYD-CBR

Yes

6:10

$349

3

Inbound

DRW-MEL-CBR

Yes

6:15

$363

 

* Fares are for demonstration purposes only.

Outbound Sector: Unsuitable Due to Timing, Routing, Connections or Baggage Charges

The LPF policy allows travellers and travel bookers some flexibility in relation to the selection of the most appropriate flight based on total travel time or connectivity with other services, for example international departures.

In the example above, Option 3 has been selected due to the total travel time being less than the absolute cheapest fare. Selection of this option allows the traveller to better meet their work commitments.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 2 "Unsuitable due to time, routing, connection or baggage charges" on the OBT. Missed savings of $13 would be recorded.

Inbound Sector : Unsuitable due to Timing, Routing, Connections or Baggage Charges

For return sectors, the cheapest seat available did not include an allowance for checked baggage. A checked baggage allowance would need to be purchased at the airport at an additional cost. Assuming the traveller has two bags that would need to be checked-in; the cost of travel would increase. The travel booker would therefore selection Option 2 as the Lowest Practical Fare that meets the business needs of traveller.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 2 "Unsuitable due to time, routing, connection or baggage charges" on the OBT.

Example 4:

An Official accesses their entity's Online Booking Tool (OBT) to review air travel options for two officials travelling from Canberra to Melbourne and return on 20 November 2013.

The OBT returns the following alternatives:

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Outbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$129

2

Outbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$190

 

3

Outbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$508

 

Option

Sector

Dep-Arr

Stop-over

Total Travel Time

Price*

Fare Selected

1

Inbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$157

 

2

Inbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$227

 

3

Inbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$347

 

4

Inbound

CBR-MEL

No

1:10

$525

* Fares are for demonstration purposes only.

Outbound Sector: Lowest Fare

This is generally the cheapest seat on the aircraft. For outbound travel where your arrival time at the destination is generally known and not negotiable, a cheaper ticket with little or no flexibility should be purchased.

The Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 1 "Lowest Fare" on the OBT. No missed savings would be recorded.

Inbound Sector: Outside of LPF Policy

For return sectors, the cheapest seat available was not selected. The travellers requested that preference be given for fares that provide complimentary airline lounge access. The travel booker examined the fare options available within the 45-minute 'looking' window. Only the fully-flexible fare provided the requested access to airline lounge. The travel booker selected this fare.

Travel Booker would enter LPF Code 7 "Outside of LPF Policy". Missed savings of $368 would be recorded per passenger.

Booking Codes - International

When booking official international air travel, officials must identify the reason a fare is selected using the IBF Policy booking codes at Table 2 below. This table includes a code for travel outside of the policy.

Table 2 - International Best Fare (IBF)

Code

Booking Code

Map to IBF Guidance

1

Lowest fare

This is the cheapest available fare taking into account the 24 Hour booking window.

2

Time, routing, connection or baggage charges

Where the fare selected is not the lowest fare because:

  • it is the most direct route;
  • ensures connections for further flights are met; or
  • takes into account excess baggage fees.

3

Approval / Entitlement to travel at higher fare class

All air travel should be at the international best fare in the appropriate class (having regard to internal travel policy) unless there is a business case or entitlement to travel outside these guidelines.
In these circumstances, officials are still required to obtain the international best fare within the entitlement.

4

Health issues

Health issues for officers requiring certain facilities. A medical certificate should support use of this code.

5

Personal responsibilities

Impact on personal responsibilities such as family.

6

Require flexibility to change booking

Where flexibility is required for air travel, travel bookers should consider selecting a semi-flexible fare type instead of a fully flexible fare.

7

Outside of IBF Policy

Preference for particular aircraft or airlines, availability of access to airline lounges, accumulation of airline benefits such as reward or loyalty points (including status credits).

Using the IBF Policy:

Below are three examples of how to use the IBF Policy.

It is mandatory that an IBF Policy Booking Code be provided at the time of booking official international air travel.

Note: Booking Codes 1 to 6 are for fares compliant with the IBF Policy. Booking Code 7 is for fares outside the IBF Policy.

Example 1 - Lowest fare

An official is travelling from City A in Australia to City B overseas. Three quotes have been obtained from the International Online Quoting Tool or from a QBT Travel Consultant, with different airlines for the same or equivalent fare class, fare type and similar total travel time.

Airline A is selected because the fare is the lowest fare. The official therefore uses Booking Code 1.

Quote

Airline

City Pairing

Total Travel Time

Price

Fare Selected

Booking Code

1)

Airline A

City A – City B

20 hours

$8,000

1

2)

Airline B

City A – City B

19 hours

$9,500

   

3)

Airline C

City A – City B

21 hours

$9,000

   

Example 2 - Timing

An official is travelling from City C in Australia to City F overseas. Three quotes have been obtained from the International Online Quoting Tool or from a QBT Travel Consultant, with different airlines for the same or equivalent fare class, fare type and similar total travel time.

Airline B is selected because the fare is the most direct route to City F and the lowest fare that meets the practical business needs of the official. The official therefore uses Booking Code 2.

Quote

Airline

City Pairing

Total Travel Time

Price

Fare Selected

Booking Code

1)

Airline A

City C – City D - City F

30 hours

$9,500

   

2)

Airline B

City C – City F

25 hours

$10,000

2

3)

Airline C

City C – City E – City F

29 hours

$11,000

   

Note: In this example, potential missed savings of $500 would be reported by the QBT to reflect the difference between the lowest fare available and the fare selected.

Example 3 - Outside of the IBF Policy

An official is travelling from City K in Australia to City L overseas. Three quotes have been obtained from the International Online Quoting Tool or from a QBT Travel Consultant, with different airlines for the same or equivalent fare class, fare type and similar total travel time.

Airline C is selected because the official has a preference for Airline C regardless of whether the fare meets the official's practical business needs. The fare selected is not compliant with IBF Policy. The official therefore uses Booking Code 7.

Quote

Airline

City Pairing

Total Travel Time

Price

Fare Selected

Booking Code

1)

Airline A

City K – City L

25 hours

$9,500

   

2)

Airline B

City K –City L

24 hours

$10,500

   

3)

Airline C

City K – City L

27 hours

$11,000

7

Note: In this example, potential missed savings of $1,500 would be reported by QBT to reflect the difference between the lowest fare available and the fare selected.

Below are three examples of the application of PoT codes for a number of travel scenarios. From 1 October 2014, the selection of a PoT code will become mandatory.

Example 1

An agency receives approval for and books international travel to attend a symposium in Sweden. The cheapest available seats on the required flights are selected. The agency travel booker books the required flights with QBT and nominates the following two codes:

International Best Fare (IBF) booking code: Code 1 - Lowest Fare

Purpose of Travel: Code I – Conference, convention, summit or meeting

Example 2

An agency is required to undertake urgent travel for border protection activities. The agency's travel booker books the required flights with QBT and nominates the following two codes:

International Best Fare (IBF) booking code: Code 2 – Unsuitable due to time, routing, connection or baggage charges.

Purpose of Travel: Code C – National security and border protection activities

Example 3

Officials from an agency are travelling with officials from a number of other agencies to participate in a series of scientific inspections. The lead agency has obtained the required approvals from their Cabinet Minister. The agency's travel booker books the required flights and nominates the following two codes:

International Best Fare (IBF) booking code: Code 1 – Lowest fare.

Purpose of Travel: Code K – Industrial, scientific or regulatory inspection, examination or assessment activity.

Last updated: 01 December 2016