Story by Deborah Aragon on 04/25/2019Spring is here and many Airmen are already considering where they want to go and what they want to do over the summer months. And, for many, an important part of planning is the ability to find budget-friendly options.
Enter the Air Force Services Activity and installation Information, Tickets and Travel offices.
Year round, the services activity is hard at work, researching, networking and coordinating to find discounted tickets and travel opportunities for Airmen, their families and other eligible members across the Air Force.
"Our Airmen work so hard and are dedicated to their missions it's important that installations are able to provide them with opportunities to get away from the work environment providing them with the resiliency needed to continue doing their jobs effectively," said Debbie Lester, AFSVA leisure travel specialist.
Lester and other members of a small team in San Antonio work directly with attraction and entertainment vendors to provide a variety of options for installations.
"Debbie and the Air Force Central Ticket Program team do an outstanding job in building Airmen and family resiliency by providing consistent and high value ITT services and products," said Darlene Johnson, AFSVA Community and Leisure Programs Branch chief. "They're services professionals investing in Airmen and families anywhere, anytime."
"We find the best deals, and establish central agreements and back office accounting processes so installations don't have to," Lester said. "Basically, we take on a lot of the grunt work to allow our installation ITT offices more time to work directly with their patrons."
For example, Lester and her team recently secured an agreement with Leisure Pass Group to offer deeply discounted tickets to patrons for attractions in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Cancun and various other locations.
"AFSVA is working to get the best deals especially with pricing for eligible members," said Gregory Leschishin, ITT manager at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, "from Busch Gardens to the San Diego Zoo to attractions in Florida Disney World, Disneyland and Universal Studios Orlando. Most of my patrons are amazed at the discounts we're able to offer, thanks in large part to AFSVA."
"(They) make my job as the ITT manager so much easier by always being accessible to answer questions or verify information," Leschishin added. "They are also very prompt in generating the latest information on pricing and policies to help my clients."
Susan Short, ITT manager at Dobbins AFB, Georgia, agreed.
"The staff at (AFSVA) is wonderful," Short said. "I've been working with them for 11 years now and they have helped me in so many ways over the years great attitude and always helpful whenever we have a problem or just general questions. They also keep us informed on all the latest and greatest things that our program has to offer.
"Our customers love all the discounts that we offer from local military freebies to the amazing discounts that they get for Disney or Universal Orlando," Short said.
"Knowing that every time we fill a ticket order, bring in a new vendor or get better travel discounts, we're impacting our Airmen and families," Lester said. "That's important to me."
For more on event and travel opportunities, visit installations ITT offices.
Editor's Note: In addition to ITT services at installations, a new morale, welfare and recreation leisure travel service website was established recently, thanks to a joint service initiative. The site, www.americanforcestravel.com is available to all military members, retirees, veterans, Department of Defense civilians and family members. It offers discount pricing on hotels, flights, cruises, rental cars and vacation packages.