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Travel FAQs

NIH Travel Contract FAQs Patient Travel

Omega Logistics

Where can I go to make travel reservations in person?

Omega Patient travel is located at 9000 Rockville Pike, Clinical Center, Building 10, Room 1-4553, Rockville, MD.

Does Omega have a web site I could visit?

Omega's website is www.nihtravel.com.

Does Omega have an 1-800 number that patients could use to make travel arrangements?

The number is 1-866-227-9339.

Does Omega have a local number that patients could use to make travel arrangements?

The number is (301) 496-5597.

When using E-ticketing, is it possible to get the passenger receipt from Omega via fax to eliminate the necessity of picking up the receipt at Building 10 or having it sent in the mail?

On a regular basis, Omega will email or fax the passenger itinerary and the record locator number (confirmation number) to the requesting office. Omega will also send a hard copy via the accountable mail system to the address provided.

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Service Fees

I am confused about the fees being charged for Omega services. Will I get charged just for calling Omega to get an estimate on airfares or to check on the status of an existing reservation?

You will not be charged a service fee for simply calling to check on a reservation or to ask for a cost estimate. A necessary part of this new contract was to include non-refundable fees which are charged for each transaction that involves an airline or train ticket being issued. This includes all travel booked through Omega (patient, official government, and travel for authorized non-government travelers). These fees were required to offset the losses faced by all travel agencies as the airlines continue to cut the commissions the agencies were receiving. The service fees are based upon the type of reservation (staff/patient and meeting) and method (phone/in-person, email/fax) used to make the transaction. An Omega fee-for-service fact sheet with tips and examples can be found on the Worksite Enrichment Programs Branch web site.

What if a ticket has been issued, and then the traveler is unable to go thus causing the travel or purchase order to have to be canceled? How will Omega be paid the non-refundable service fee?

The travel order (or purchase order) should not be canceled. It should be handled as though a non-refundable ticket had been purchased. For travel orders, you would need to voucher out the order and the only cost that would be incurred would be the non-refundable service fee which you would have entered in the GTA field. If it is a purchase order, you would cancel all line item charges except for the service fees, and then enter receiving for the appropriate amount. This way, Omega will be paid the fees they are due.

Where should the service fees be placed on travel orders?

Only the cost of the ticket should be placed on the Transportation screen. Payment method GTA or GTA reimbursable for Omega tickets. All other TMC fee amounts should be placed on the Expense screen using the list of Expenses and selecting the TMC fee item. You may list each fee separately by selecting the TMC expense line multiple times or "bundle" the TMC fees if there are more that one and place the total cost under one line item.

When a caller to Omega is given a total amount for a ticket, should the additional service fee be added to that ticket, or will it already be included?

Omega agents will quote only the airline price unless the ticket is booked and a final itinerary is issued. They will not quote the service fee when telling you how much a flight is because you can call to just get pricing information and then a few weeks later email or fax the reservation request which is a different fee than a phone reservation.

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Travel Reservations

Can Omega make car or hotel reservations for me?

Effective January 1, 2001, GSA has mandated that all hotel (unless explicitly exempted) and car reservations be made through your agency's official TMC. Aside from airline reservations, Omega offers a full range of services to its NIH customers such as car rental, hotel reservations and train reservations. Omega also offers leisure travel assistance and has a variety of comprehensive services available to assist ICs with conference planning and coordination. As a side note, there is no service fee associated with making car or hotel reservations.

What is the difference between electronic booking and electronic ticketing (E-ticket)?

E-ticketing is a paperless ticketing mechanism where you purchase a ticket from the travel agency and instead of requiring a ticket at the airport, you only need to give the record locator number provided by the travel agency.

Electronic booking is an actual method for you to personally make your reservations (i.e., Microsoft Expedia and Travelocity) from your PC and thus bypassing the travel agency. The NIH is not ready for this type of system presently as we do not have the financial and accounting systems in place to utilize it. The Department of Transportation is currently developing a government-wide system, and we hope to be one of the first government agencies to pilot it.

When making travel reservations, how soon before travel starts should I fax an approved copy of the Travel Order to Omega?

If at all possible, Omega appreciates having the Travel Order in their office two weeks prior to the trip start date. While Omega is aware that last minute travel can occur, the majority is planned well enough in advance so that the two week time frame should not cause any hardship on the requesting offices.

What are acceptable justifications for use of non-contract carriers?

There are three acceptable justifications for use of non-contract carriers:

  • Space or flights not available in time to accomplish mission, or contract flights would entail overnight lodging and an increased overall trip cost
  • Contract flight schedule conflicts with Agency policy requiring travel during business hours (if applicable)
  • Non-contract carrier offers lower publicly available fares which result in lower overall cost of trip (considering total of all trip expenses).

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Miscellaneous

I see that Omega mentions that they offer conference and meeting planning services. What types of tasks and services will this include, and what are the applicable fees for using these services?

Omega will provide the same types of conference and meeting planning support that are also offered on other NIH Conference Support contracts. Examples of Omega services include, but are not limited to, airline and hotel reservations, conference space reservations, obtaining beverage and food service coordination, preparing name tags, and acting as the liaison for the NIH and off-site conference facility managers.

Fees are based on the amount and types of services requested of Omega. For more information on Omega conference services and fees, please contact the Omega Meeting Planner, at 703-528-7178 to discuss your requirements.

Does the Division of Travel and Transportation Services write all the NIH travel policies?

No, travel policies fall under the auspices of the Office of Financial Management. The NIH travel policies are in section 1500 of the NIH Manual Chapters and can be found at http://www3.od.nih.gov/oma/manualchapters/management/1500/index.html.

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Contact Information

NIH Travel Liaison Staff and Group Travel
Joy Gaines
Program Manager
Telephone: (301) 451-9299
Fax: (301) 480-3463

Patient Travel
Karen Kaczorowski
Project Officer
Telephone: (301) 496-2341