I Can’t Make This Up

A colleague recently booked air travel through a large foundation’s designated travel service to attend a conference the foundation was hosting. The travel agent made it clear that her charge was to find the cheapest airfare possible and initially had my colleague waking up at 3:00 am to drive two hours in the dark to an airport further from his home, and on the return trip driving home after midnight! Luckily he was able to negotiate a more reasonable (and safe) schedule.

However, in order to meet the foundation’s requirements for booking the lowest cost airfare, he had to book his trip a full day before the conference started and a full day after it ended — requiring two additional hotel nights. When he asked if the additional hotel costs wouldn’t negate the airfare savings, he was told that the agent’s responsibility was to book the least expensive airfare, period. Hotel costs were the responsibility of a different foundation vendor, and there was apparently no incentive to coordinate efforts.

I wonder how much this trip is actually costing the foundation?