One visit can land service members big savings on tickets and tours
May 10, 2013
By Jim Dresbach
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - The Henderson Hall Marine Corps Community Service Information, Ticket and Tours office and the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall MWR Leisure Travel Services office are looking to shred their under-the-radar status. Both recreational and leisure outlets are reaching out to active duty service members, veterans and Department of Defense employees with a wide array of discounted get-aways, cruises, tours and sports and entertainment tickets.
Whether a soldier is finalizing plans for leave by booking a cruise or a Marine family is attempting to purchase Major League Baseball tickets, the pair of offices are willing to assist. In fact, both staffs long for additional walk-in business.
"We would love to explore [and broaden] our customer base," said MCCS ITT Supervisor Jun Micu. "Sometimes we're surprised we're getting phone calls telling us that [they] didn't know [we] existed. We've been here the past several years."
Inside the Fort Myer Community Center, Leisure Travel Services Facility Manager Andy Finnerty spent a good chunk of the morning of May 6 selling Washington Redskin ticket voucher packages, but his tickets and tours office offers much more for soldiers, service members and DoD employees and retirees.
"Often times, our patrons come in here and they know they want to take a vacation, they want to do something, they want to go somewhere, but they don't really know where they want to go. Some of the services we provide them are to show what is available to them. Often, they are not aware of temporary military lodging around the world. They may be thinking about staying in a hotel somewhere, and one of the things we recommend to them is to plan a trip keeping military installation lodging in mind."
A favorite ticket at the Fort Myer office are discounted movie passes and National Football League tickets, while the MCCS ITT office noted Marines favor Orlando, Fla., amusement parks and resorts and New York City one-day excursions to take in a Broadway musical. According to Micu, service members can save close to 50 percent on a four-day pass to a magical kingdom destination in Florida and 10 percent on local hotel stays.
The LTS office is knowledgeable and ready to help military personnel book Potomac river cruises and purchase tickets to local museums and attractions through the military voucher program, which has contracts with vendors across America for reduced rates on hotels, theme parks and musical venues. For a complete list of Washington, D.C. area attractions, available services and eligibility requirements, call the MCCS ITT office at 703-979-8429. To reach Finnerty and his staff on the Army side, phone 703-696-3470.
Like the Marine ITT office, Finnerty's goal is to spread the word about the leisure office, which also offers Community Center Saturday night movies for the troops in addition to an A-to-Z selection of ticket discounts.
"I was part of the installation level and regimental safety briefing May 3 for the Old Guard and the support elements, and it was a great thing," he said. "Both the BOSS program, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, and Leisure Travels Services, what used to be referred to as ITT, Information, Tickets and Tours, had a tent set up. And we had all the pamphlets set up, and I was truly surprised how many soldiers had no concept as to what MWR does. That was very enlightening to me because we're here for those soldiers, so they don't go out and pay that full price for a one-time visit to [an amusement park] when they can come down here and buy a season pass for pretty much the same price."
DoD employee Karen Johnson was the first customer in line to purchase Redskins football packages, and she also uses the office for other fun-filled purchases.
"I like to buy Six Flags season passes and the movie tickets," she said. "Its economical and easy."