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Fly America Act

Directive Statement

All travelers must ensure that proposed travel is in accordance with the sponsored project’s agreement before the travel begins.  Compliance with the Fly America Act is required.  When booking international travel, the Principal Investigator (PI) of the award to be charged is responsible for complying with the Fly America Act.  Exceptions should be documented prior to travel and approved by the UF Travel Office.  If the exception form is not completed before travel, add a completed form with proof of compliance to the supporting documentation for the expense report.  If compliance cannot be supported, this charge must be moved to an acceptable funding source. In no case is the use of a foreign air carrier justified because of cost, convenience, or traveler preference.

The cost of travel subject to the Fly America Act that does not adhere to this regulation will be borne by the Principal Investigator’s department or will need to be moved to a suitable non-federal funding source.

Certain sponsored projects (including state grants) may contain provisions that further limit the amount and type of reimbursable travel expenditures.

Reason for Directive

To ensure compliance with the terms of each sponsored project, as well as the Fly America Act.  The Fly America Act (41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143) requires that all federally funded travel (Fund 201) be on a U.S. flag carrier or U.S. flag carrier service provided under a code-share agreement, except under specific situations.

Who must comply?

All University Departments.

Open Skies Agreements

The United States Government has entered into several air transport agreements that allow federal funded transportation services for travel to use foreign air carriers under certain circumstances. There are currently three bilateral/multilateral “Open Skies Agreements” (U.S. Government Procured Transportation) in effect and can be found on the GSA’s website.

Procedures to Ensure Compliance with the Fly America Act

To easily ensure compliance with the Fly America Act, purchase all airline tickets for international travel that will be charged to a federal grant through a U.S. flag carrier (Delta, American, United, etc.) or use a travel agency for your booking.

The code of a U.S. flag air carrier must be noted as part of the flight number on the airline ticket, flight coupon (boarding pass*), or passenger receipt.  Each airline has a two-letter alpha code.  For example, United Airlines has a code of “UA”. On an airline ticket, boarding pass or passenger receipt, this two-digit code is designated just to the left of the flight number.

NOTE: Most travel agents are not familiar with this regulation, so confirm the travel agent is aware that the travel is federally-funded and must adhere to this act.

Permitted Exceptions to the Fly America Act

  1. If a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from your origin to your destination, you must use the U.S. flag air carrier service unless such use would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more
  2. If a U.S. flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (meaning there must be an aircraft change) between your origin and your destination, you must use a U.S. flag air carrier 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 you must make outside of the U.S. by 2 or more; or
    • Extend your travel time by at least 6 hours or more; or
    • Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point
  3. For travel outside the U.S., if a U.S. flag air carrier provides service between your origin and destination, you must always use a US flag carrier for such travel unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
    • Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make en route by 2 or more; or
    • Extend your travel time by 6 hours or more; or
    • Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point

Exception Procedures

If an exemption is needed:

  1. Complete the Fly America Act Exception Form indicating the reason for the exemption
  2. Attach a proposed itinerary of the trip
  3. Fax to the UF Travel Office at (352) 392-0081 (include your department fax number) or email a PDF file to travel@ufl.edu for approval
  4. The UF Travel Office will fax or e-mail approved exceptions back to the initiating department
  5. This exception form will need to be kept on file in the department and a copy should be included with the Travel Expense Report when submitted to the UF Travel Office for auditing and imaging purposes

In NO case is the use of a foreign air carrier justified because of cost, convenience, or traveler preference. International Airfare booked on a U.S. flag carrier service will not require an exception.

Definitions

Code-Share Agreement

A commercial agreement between two airlines that allows an airline to put its two-letter identification code on the flights of another airline as they appear in computerized reservations systems. [Back to Top]

U.S. Flag-Carrier

The term “U.S. Flag air carrier” means an air carrier holding a certificate under section 401 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. App. 1371). Foreign air carriers under permits are excluded.

Last Reviewed

05/01/2020: reviewed content

Resources

GSA website

Toolkits

UF HR Toolkit – Travel and Expense Module

Contacts

Travel & Employee Reimbursements: (352) 392-1241

travel@ufl.edu

Contracts & Grants: (352) 392-1582

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