Our recent issue of Collectively Speaking garnered a lot of responses from members, especially about how poorly Concur and Direct Travel serve the university. Most responses echoed issues laid out in Collectively Speaking. None of the feedback described positive experiences.
A sentiment in the responses was that faculty were “scolded” in response to efforts at getting airfare reimbursed.
One faculty member told us they were recently prevented from booking flights through Concur for sabbatical travel in the new year because a second layer of approval was required due to federal government restrictions.
It was noted by many that the stated benefit of using Concur, such as accessing discounts, reducing travel costs for less drain on operating and research funds, isn’t being achieved. Experiences are that the “preferred” travel provider is consistently the most expensive. We heard about service fees, plus tax, being added to flight costs for booking through Direct Travel and flights booked through concur costing hundreds of dollars more than the same flight booked through alternative means.
Some expressed the desire to be able to book cheaper, less comfortable flights to stretch research dollars. It is the duty of a grant holder to spend hard won research funding wisely. The new flight booking requirement is wasting funds. It is unethical to waste grant money in this way. Why is USask doing this? Is the university getting a cut from every booking?
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to Collectively Speaking. Please continue to let us know about problems you are having with getting expenses reimbursed. We would welcome hearing about positive experiences too.