Grant, Contract & Gift Accounting Manual
Section 215: Travel on Sponsored Projects
Effective: 02/25/2014

The definition of travel may vary by sponsor; therefore, the individual award should be reviewed for this definition as well as for sponsor prior approval requirements. 

Before making any foreign travel arrangements on restricted funds, a foreign travel authorization form must be completed for each traveler and submitted to the Office of Post Award Administration for approval. This form is required for all international travel and applies to anyone traveling, including but not limited to, employees, non-employees and students.  

A. Fly America Act (Federally Funded Air Travel)

**Fly America Waiver forms, if applicable, can accompany foreign travel authorization forms.

Purpose

To comply with the Fly America Act 49 U.S.C. 40118. (See Federal Acquisition Register 47.401)

The General Services Administration issued an amendment to the Federal Travel Regulations in the November 13, 1998 edition of the Federal Register (Vol. 63, No. 219).  The amendment relates to the use of U.S. flag air carriers under the Fly America Act.

Applicability

The Fly America Act (49 U.S.C. 40118) and its implementing regulations (41 C.F.R. 301-3.6) apply to all air travel relating to federally-funded grants, including pass through agreements from other entities.

Definitions

  • Gateway airport United States - Where traveler last embarks from the U.S. or first arrives in the U.S.;
  • Gateway airport abroad -Where traveler last embarks en route to U.S. or first arrives from the U.S.

 

Policy

The Fly America Act requires that all travelers and others performing U.S. Government-financed air travel use U.S. flag carriers to the extent such carriers are available, even if their use would cost more.  Even when the entire trip cannot be made on U.S. flag carriers to the extent possible they should be used to the farthest interchange point on a usually traveled route.  301-3.6 (b)(4)(ii).  Chartered flights are also subject to the requirements.

  • Use of a foreign carrier may be authorized if use of a U.S. flag carrier will not accomplish the agency’s mission (e.g., the traveler will miss the start of an important meeting) or if a U.S. flag carrier is not available 301-3.6 (b)(2) and (3). 
  • Use of foreign air carrier may also be used if bilateral agreements permit such travel pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 40118(b). 
  • A copy of the agreement should accompany the request to use foreign air carrier. 
  • Use of foreign carrier is permitted where U.S. flag carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler to a foreign carrier 301-3.6 (b)(4)(ii)(c).

Compliance: Each department is responsible for complying with the Fly America Act.  Before making arrangements for air travel for OSU business, confirm the funding type and, if applicable, ensure the booking is in accordance with the Act.

Code-Sharing arrangement:  ticket issued by U.S. flag air carrier which leases space on foreign aircraft.
Restrictions include:

  1. Entire ticket must be issued by and on the U.S. flag carrier;
  2. At least one leg must be on the U.S. domestic service beyond the gateway;
  3. A code-sharing flight may not be used solely for travel between the U.S. and foreign gateway or vice versa, unless no other U.S. carrier participates in that market. 70 Comp. Gen. 713 (September 25, 1991). Payment must be made to a U.S. flag air carrier.

Determining unavailability of U.S. carrier as justification for use of foreign carriers:
Criteria for determining unavailability are set forth in 301-3.6 (b)(5) and involve the extension of time in travel status.  Extension of time in travel status includes accelerated arrival and delayed departure.

Use of foreign air carrier is allowed in these circumstances:

  1. Travel between gateway airports need not be on a U.S. carrier if the gateway abroad is the origin or destination point and use of a U.S. carrier would extend time in travel status by at least 24 hours;
  2. If the gateway abroad is an interchange airport, a U.S. carrier is unavailable if its use would require a wait of 6 hours or more to make connections or time in travel status would be extended by 6 hours or more;
  3. For travel between two points outside U.S. – use of foreign air carrier is allowed if it eliminates 2 or more aircraft changes or 6 or more hour extension in time in travel status;

If using a non-U.S. carrier, a justification statement, in the form prescribed by the regulations must be prepared and submitted to the sponsor with a request for approval 301-3.6 (c)(3).  Approval must be requested and obtained prior to the scheduled travel. The approval must be on file in the Office of Post Award Administration.

If approval is not submitted to the Office of Post Award Administration and expenditures are disallowed, the department or traveler will need to cover the cost.

Exceptions to the Fly America Act: Travel that is to be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts must be booked through U.S. carriers except in the following circumstances:

  • When the use of U.S. carrier service would extend travel time (including delay at origin) by 24 hours or more
  • When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government or an international agency
  • When U.S. carriers do not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination. However, a U.S. carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
    • Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more
    • Extend travel time by at least six hours or more
    • Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

See GCG-Ex1: Fly America Act - Federal Register Amendment Vol. 63, No.   219, Nov. 13, 1998.

See GCG-Ex2: Fly America Act Brochure and Fly America Act Waiver Checklist (pdf format)

49 U.S.C. 40118 - Government Financed Air Transportation

See the United States Department of Commerce website

B. Open Skies Agreements:

Federally funded travelers are generally required by the “Fly America Act” to use U.S. flag air carriers for travel. An exception to this requirement is transportation provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreement to which the U.S. Government and the government of a foreign country are parties and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.

Current Open Skies agreements can be found at Airline Open Skies Agreements on the General Services Administration’s website. Travelers need to be aware that there are limitations to the use of non-US carriers under an Open Skies agreement notably that the current Open Skies agreements do not apply to Department of Defense supported activities and the prohibition against non-US carriers for specific Open Skies agreements if a City Pair contract fare exists.

C. Travel Visas(Passport and Visa Fees)

The only passport and visa fees allowed to be paid on restricted funds are for those directly connected with the sponsored award.  This does not include recruitment costs, which are not reimbursable by most federal agencies.  This includes only the passport/visa fee, and not any travel or expedited processing fees associated with obtaining the passport/visa.  The cost of obtaining a photo for the passport is allowable.   In the case of extraordinary circumstances, approval from OPAA must be obtained.

D. 215-05: Vaccinations

Expenses for required vaccinations related to the sponsored award are allowable expenses.  The OSU Student Health center can provide vaccinations.