Normally I don’t like to talk or write about work, because it can get me in trouble. However, I need to rant about this.
I work for Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) under Navy Region South West (CNRSW). CNIC is a bunch of cheap jerks.
Last May I went on travel to Yorktown, Virginia. Booking my flight from LAX to Virginia, I had to take the most direct and economical route. This ended up being LAX to Charlotte, a layover in Charlotte, and then a commuter plane from Charlotte to Newport News, Va. Then a 15 minute drive in a rental car to Yorktown Naval Station where I stayed at a horrible Navy Lodge. No big deal, right? Unfortunately due to flights in and out of Charlotte this left very little in the way of choosing flights out of LAX to Charlotte. Their is a 6am flight, an 1130am flight, and an evening flight.
The 6am flight puts you in to Charlotte around 1pm East Coast time, the flight out of Charlotte puts you in to Newport News around 3pm. Get your luggage, rental car, etc. You are in your hotel around 4pm.
An 1130 flight out of LAX will ultimately put you in Newport News at approximately 9:00PM, putting you in your hotel room at about 10:00pm…but wait…the rental car terminal isn’t open at that time. So if you take that flight, you have to take a cab to the gate of the base in Yorktown and then walk to the Navy Lodge with all your luggage. Not a great option.
The evening flight puts you in to Newport News at around 6am the next day, and your class starts at 7am. An even worse option.
Sounds like the only reasonable thing is to leave from LAX at 6am, right?
LAX is 158 miles from my residence and is the closest large airport. On a good 5 Freeway/405 Freeway traffic day, this is a three hour trip. On a bad traffic day it can be up to six hours. For now we will say that it is a good traffic day and it’s only a three hour trip. When you add the TSA recommended two hour before flight arrival time, this makes it a five hour trip. You are taking a rental car to LAX, so you will have to gas the car up, return it to the appropriate rental agency, and then take a shuttle to the terminal; this can add up to another hour. Taking all this in to account, if a flight leaves LAX at 0600 hours, you have to leave here around 1am to make a 6am flight. All in all, you will be traveling for about 12 or 13 hours by the time you reach your destination.
Not horrible…..but the Government travel regulations state that you are not supposed to travel outside your normal work times, nor are you supposed to travel at unreasonable hours. Unreasonable hours are Midnight to 6am.
My supervisor and fiancé did not want me leaving at 1am. So I tried getting a hotel near LAX the night before. My travel orders were denied because of this. Instead of fighting it, I just left at 1am. No big deal to me.
My supervisor a co worker have to make a similar trip to Knoxville Tennessee in a couple of weeks and they are running in to the same issue. Leave here at 2am to get in to Knoxville at a reasonable time, or leave here later in the morning, gamble on LA traffic and leave LAX around noon to get to Knoxville at 10pm. They tried to get authorization for a hotel at LAX the night before. Room cost, with both of them sharing a room, a total of about 110.00. CNIC, located in Washington DC, said no.
We have to have our travel reviewed by people in San Diego, but approved by Approving Officials (AO’s) in Washington DC. These people in DC say No, a hotel is not authorized the night before, it is against travel regulations, leave later. My supervisor told them if they they leave later, they are getting in to an unfamiliar city at night, can’t get a rental car, etc. Washington DC AO’s basically said “tuff.”
If you compare this to another Command here, Naval Air Weapons Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), it doesn’t make sense. NAWCWD employees ROUTINELY get rooms at LAX the night before an early travel and their AO’s are right here on station. Their travel people state that getting a room the night before is NOT against regulations, and is a prudent safety measure. They also state that most other Commands frown upon what CNIC is doing.
I wanted to know if this sort of travel was truly against regulations, so I emailed the GSA and Travel Officials, the people that wrote the travel regulations for all of the Dept. of Defense. First off, they were baffled that any installation is so remotely located, they didn’t understand the situation at first. Once they understood the situation, they basically said that it wasn’t against the travel regulations to stay the night before, you can’t be made to travel outside your normal work times or during unreasonable hours, but the authorization is at the AO’s discretion and they just need to be make to understand the situation.
The AO’s response? “No.”
So, these AO’s in Washington DC are willing to violate Government regulations on travel and safety to basically save 100.00. A bunch of cheap jerks.