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sharkhunter
03-26-2013, 10:29 PM
Hey everyone,
There is a lot more to this story then the following, but here's the basic information of it.

I recently went TDY to RAF Fairford and here were the two options giving to me when it came to booking a hotel:

1)Stay at RAF Croughton at $55 a night. Crought is over an hour away from RAF Fairford and we would have to travel everyday using a GOV.
2)Stay at one of the contracted hotels at 79GBP or 99GBP a night near Fairford.

I opted for neither of these options and asked for generic "Non-A" letter from RAF Croughton (which they are happy to give since they can't see people traveling everyday from Croughton to Fairford everyday).
Well, a co-worker and I booked our rooms at the Travelodge at 33GBP a night in Swindon (about 20 minutes from Fairford). The room was the bare basics, but that's all we really need. Private room with bed, bathroom/shower, and TV...what else do you really need? In the end, we ended up saving the AF over $1,200 in lodging costs alone.

Now here's where the drama developed. According to my NCOIC, we HAVE TO stay at one of the hotel options and I should have never opted for the Travelodge. The argument used was "you have lodging limits, use them, that's your right when you go TDY." The counter argument of saving money fell on deaf ears.

Has anyone ever gone TDY and been forced to stay at a hotel because of the contract they have with the AF Billeting/Lodging office? Can we opt to stay somewhere cheaper, especially now during this financial crunch time?

SomeRandomGuy
03-26-2013, 11:40 PM
Whoever argued with you about this has no idea what they are talking about. The only way you can be required to stay in contract quarters is if you are TDY for 180 days or more to a contingency operation and the secretary concerned directed this. It would also have to be listed in your orders. Other than that you can stay wherever you want though you are supposed to "exercise prudence" when selecting lodging if government quarters are not avaliable. See JFTR U2555 and U2560 (below)


PART H: GOV’T QTRS USE/AVAILABILITY

U2550 NON-DOD MEMBERS GOV’T QTRS USE/AVAILABILITY
For Coast Guard, NOAA, and PHS Personnel, GOV’T QTRS are available only if use is directed in the order.

U2555 GOV’T QTRS USE
A. Directed Use. A member may be required to use GOV’T QTRS only if:

1. Sent TDY to a U.S. INSTALLATION (see APP A1); and
2. The GOV’T QTRS on that U.S. INSTALLATION are adequate and available, and
3. The TDY order directs their use.

B. Member Assigned to a CONTINGENCY OPERATION for More Than 180 Days at One Location

1. The Secretary Concerned may direct the use of GOV’T contract QTRS, at/near the U.S. INSTALLATION/
RESERVATION specifically contracted for a member assigned to a CONTINGENCY OPERATION for more
than 180 days at one location.
2. Arrangements for GOV’T contract QTRS should consider arrangements for transportation between the
lodging and work site.
3. Directed use of GOV’T contract QTRS off the U.S. INSTALLATION does not permit directed GMR

U2560 GOV’T QTRS AVAILABLE

A. Checking GOV’T QTRS Availability

1. A member ordered to use GOV’T QTRS on a U.S. INSTALLATION (as opposed to a town/city) is required
to check GOV’T QTRS availability (through the CTO) at (not near) the assigned U.S. INSTALLATION.
2. The member is not required to seek/check for GOV’T QTRS when TDY to a U.S. INSTALLATION/
RESERVATION after non-availability documentation has been initially provided.
3. Example: A member, who is required to check QTRS availability on arrival at a U.S. INSTALLATION,
does so and certifies non-availability, or is issued non-availability documentation. The member cannot be
required to re-check later for QTRS availability at that U.S. INSTALLATION during that TDY period there.
See par. U2570.

B. AO Directs GOV’T QTRS. The AO:

1. May direct adequate (based on DoD and Service standards) available GOV’T QTRS use for a uniformed
member on (not near) a U.S. INSTALLATION only if the uniformed member is TDY to that U.S.
INSTALLATION. See DOHA Claims Case No. 2009-CL-080602.2, 7 July 2010).
2. May not direct the use of ‘nearby’ GOV’T QTRS not on that U.S. INSTALLATION.

C. Availability/Non-availability Documentation

1. Availability/non-availability must be documented (see par. U2570).
2. Non-availability documentation is required only for GOV’T QTRS on (not near) the U.S. INSTALLATION
at which a member is TDY.

D. Member Uses Other Lodgings as a Personal Choice. A member:

1. Should use adequate and available GOV’T QTRS on the U.S. INSTALLATION at which assigned TDY.
2. Who uses other lodgings as a personal choice, when adequate GOV’T QTRS:
a. Use is directed on that U.S. INSTALLATION, and
b. Are available on that U.S. INSTALLATION,
is limited to the GOV’T QTRS lodging reimbursement cost on the U.S. INSTALLATION to which assigned
TDY (44 Comp. Gen. 626 (1965)).
E. Per Diem Limitation Not Allowed. Per diem cannot be limited based on ‘nearby’ GOV’T QTRS that are not on
the U.S. INSTALLATION, to which the member is assigned TDY, but on another ‘nearby’ U.S. INSTALLATION,
uniformed facility, or elsewhere.

technomage1
03-27-2013, 12:22 AM
SomeRandomGuy beat me to it. I'd say staying in a travelodge I exercising prudence. Swindon, though...ugh....

Hopefully you got to see a bit of th Cotswolds while you were there. Lovely region.

CJSmith
03-27-2013, 03:42 AM
Sounds as idiotic as this http://www.thelocal.de/society/20130103-47117.html

OtisRNeedleman
03-27-2013, 08:50 PM
Hey everyone,
There is a lot more to this story then the following, but here's the basic information of it.

I recently went TDY to RAF Fairford and here were the two options giving to me when it came to booking a hotel:

1)Stay at RAF Croughton at $55 a night. Crought is over an hour away from RAF Fairford and we would have to travel everyday using a GOV.
2)Stay at one of the contracted hotels at 79GBP or 99GBP a night near Fairford.

I opted for neither of these options and asked for generic "Non-A" letter from RAF Croughton (which they are happy to give since they can't see people traveling everyday from Croughton to Fairford everyday).
Well, a co-worker and I booked our rooms at the Travelodge at 33GBP a night in Swindon (about 20 minutes from Fairford). The room was the bare basics, but that's all we really need. Private room with bed, bathroom/shower, and TV...what else do you really need? In the end, we ended up saving the AF over $1,200 in lodging costs alone.

Now here's where the drama developed. According to my NCOIC, we HAVE TO stay at one of the hotel options and I should have never opted for the Travelodge. The argument used was "you have lodging limits, use them, that's your right when you go TDY." The counter argument of saving money fell on deaf ears.

Has anyone ever gone TDY and been forced to stay at a hotel because of the contract they have with the AF Billeting/Lodging office? Can we opt to stay somewhere cheaper, especially now during this financial crunch time?

Thinking back to my five-year period of heavy TDYs, there were a couple of times when I couldn't get VOQ at Goodfellow, and so was sent to a hotel downtown. It was adequate, nothing fancy, and doubt it cost much. When traveling to contractors, we had orders to the city instead of a base and so found an affordable place at the government rate. No big deal.

sharkhunter
03-27-2013, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'll bring that up next time we go to Fairford after the April trip. There is a lot of "you will stay at RAF Croughton" or "you will only use RAF Croughton to reserve your rooms." Personally, I've found a lot of nice hotels that are cheaper, closer to base, and nicer than RAF Croughton. But because its not the norm, leadership (NCOIC and ANCOIC especially) are downright ordering us to stay at RAF Croughton.

Here's The short version of why staying at hotels is an issue:
2011-12: Our squadron CC at the time was paying out of the squadron funds for all of our TDYs to Fairford. He basically told his boss and USAFE that our squadron can manage sending people TDY to Fairford without additional funding. While...ti was getting really expensive to stay at the 79 GBP or 99 GBP hotel for three people per night, plus per diem.
April 2012: As a result of constantly going TDY, in order to save money, our CC has ordered that we stay at...drum roll please...the MOD firehouse on RAF Fairford! We would be sharing the exact same quarters as the MOD firefighters.
Naturally, this came with some resistance, but no one (not our NCOIC or Flight Chief) wanted to fight for us. So, for the next 6 months, we stayed in the same rooms as the firefighters. That meant two or three to a room with the firefighters...which they weren't happy about because it was truly their living space. But it saved on lodging big time. It didn't matter that we were breaking so many regulations, all that mattered was we (the maintainers) were saving money by staying there.
Sept 2012: One crew had been down in Fairford for two weeks now...staying at the firehouse. They could not take the extremely hard beds or the tension they get from the firefighters that they decided to use their per diem and stay at a cheap nearby hotel.
Oct 2012: A few of us decided that we would rather stay in our work center than stay another night in the firehouse. They don't want us there, we don't want to be there, so here we are...staying in a building that has "warning asbestos present".
Jan 2013: A new proposal was introduce to stay at RAF Croughton and drive to RAF Fairford. Questions are raised about safety of driving and duty title. So now we're paying $54 a night to stay at RAF Croughton.
March 2013: My first trip to RAF Fairford since the new rules kicked in. I opted to stay at the Travelodge since its cheaper and closer to Fairford then RAF Croughton. This has ruffled feathers with the leadership in my section.
April 2013: Next crew going down to Fairford just found out theres no rooms at RAF Croughton and are now looking at staying at a 75 GBP a night room...saving money?

Airborne
03-27-2013, 11:08 PM
Drop that JFTR on them. Nothing they can do. And how dangerous is driving in the UK? Safety of driving?

JD2780
03-27-2013, 11:10 PM
Drop that JFTR on them. Nothing they can do. And how dangerous is driving in the UK? Safety of driving?

The JFTR got my wife all of her travel days for driving going from LV to SA. Of course I had to look it up for her.

sharkhunter
03-27-2013, 11:15 PM
Drop that JFTR on them. Nothing they can do. And how dangerous is driving in the UK? Safety of driving?

It can be pretty dangerous. The roads are smaller and narrower than the states, and we're using big US trucks. It's an hour+ drive from one base to another. So its an hour drive to Fairford, work 8 hours, then one hour drive back to Croughton. That's where the safety issue comes into play (maybe?). Some say that the one hour drive should be included in the duty day, others do not agree and the duty day starts when we arrive on base. This is just one argument we have so we can stay somewhere closer to Fairford without getting the short end of the stick.

garhkal
03-28-2013, 03:45 AM
Has anyone ever gone TDY and been forced to stay at a hotel because of the contract they have with the AF Billeting/Lodging office? Can we opt to stay somewhere cheaper, especially now during this financial crunch time?

While i have not gotten an ass chewing for it, i have opted to stay at red roofs via the hampton lodges or other pricy places that were 'authorized'.


It can be pretty dangerous. The roads are smaller and narrower than the states, and we're using big US trucks. It's an hour+ drive from one base to another. So its an hour drive to Fairford, work 8 hours, then one hour drive back to Croughton. That's where the safety issue comes into play (maybe?). Some say that the one hour drive should be included in the duty day, others do not agree and the duty day starts when we arrive on base. This is just one argument we have so we can stay somewhere closer to Fairford without getting the short end of the stick.

As someone who has lived and drove both over there in the UK and over here, i would much rather drive over there.. lot less inconsiderate drivers... Though i will agree the roads are often narrower, especially on the back roads.

giggawatt
03-28-2013, 07:00 AM
While i have not gotten an ass chewing for it, i have opted to stay at red roofs via the hampton lodges or other pricy places that were 'authorized'.



As someone who has lived and drove both over there in the UK and over here, i would much rather drive over there.. lot less inconsiderate drivers... Though i will agree the roads are often narrower, especially on the back roads.

Not sure if I agree with that statement. I think drivers all over the civilized and regulated world have the same proportion of inconsiderate asshole drivers. I've driven in both as well. I certainly agree with the last statement. People fly on those narrow winding roads.

garhkal
03-28-2013, 06:15 PM
well, in the 3 years i was stationed in london, the 2 yrs in St mawgan when i was driving, i rarely had anyone cut me off, jump in front with no signaling, ride my ass close enough to almost bump me or make 2+ lane shifts near me with no signaling.. I have seen a heck of a lot of that here in the US.

Airborne
03-29-2013, 02:17 AM
Not sure if I agree with that statement. I think drivers all over the civilized and regulated world have the same proportion of inconsiderate asshole drivers. I've driven in both as well. I certainly agree with the last statement. People fly on those narrow winding roads.

Considering you dont have to do much more than breathe to get a license in most states in the USA and in many European countries you have to pass a very arduous driving curriculum I would say that Euro drivers are waaaay better and safer. If anything they actually drive on the applicable side of the road and only use the other to pass. Much more orderly. And cars without cup holders and with manual transmissions are the norm and not the exception. Yeh way better and safer driving overseas.

technomage1
03-29-2013, 06:36 AM
I have to agree with the OP on driving a us spec truck on those narrow roads. It's not fun, even with the smaller pickups. When I was at Croughton they wanted to send me to Alconbury for a week long class. Now, if you're lucky it's an hour and 45 minute trip one way. They wanted me to drive it daily. I had to point out in the JFTR where this was out of the local area before they'd agree to pay for my hotel on base.

When I was there the mx would stay at Croughton and drive to Fairford daily. You'd see them leaving at like 0630 am.

I never figured out why it wasn't cheaper just to open up some dorm rooms over there for them.

giggawatt
03-29-2013, 07:06 AM
Guess I've been overseas way too long.