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The Fly America Act states that all U.S.-government funded travel must be done via U.S. air carrier service (there are some exceptions, but none of them apply to my scenario). I recently received a travel grant from my university, independent of any government research funds, and I know that I am allowed to fly non-U.S. carriers with that university travel grant money. However, the grant does not cover all of my expenses for this trip, and I wanted to use government funds to cover the remaining.

Can I fly on non-U.S. carriers and pay for the flight portion of the travel costs using the university travel grant? Would there be any issues with this? To reiterate, I would only use the government research funds to cover non-flight portions of the travel.

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    "The Fly America Act states that all U.S.-government funded travel must be done via U.S. air carrier service" - Or via one of the several other governments for which there is an agreement (this information is in the link you included). – Bryan Krause Mar 8 '18 at 17:56
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    To clarify: I'm considering air travel that would not fall under that category. That is, the home country of the airline I'm considering has no agreements with the U.S. government. – nukeguy Mar 8 '18 at 17:57
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    It sounds like that should be fine, but the only way to get a definitive answer would be from the office in your university that handles reimbursements. – Thomas Mar 8 '18 at 18:29
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    Yeah, I'm asking my department administrators, but they seem uncertain, so I wanted to see if other people at other U.S. universities had experience with this. I want to know if there are any federal guidelines prohibiting what I'm describing. Also, why the downvotes? I think this is a very relevant question to academia that should be of interest to anybody at U.S. universities trying to do academic travel on limited budgets. If you would like to reword it, please make suggestions. – nukeguy Mar 8 '18 at 19:05
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    I think the current version of your title might be attracting some negative attention - it sounds like you are aiming to do something subversive, which I don't really think is your intent. You really just want to know if the Fly America Act applies to entire trips or only to airfare funded by US govt funds. – Bryan Krause Mar 8 '18 at 19:22
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The text of the Federal Travel Regulations explicitly states:

You are required by 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the “Fly America Act,” to use U.S. flag air carrier service for all air travel funded by the U.S. Government, except as provided in §§301-10.136 and 301-10.137 or when one of the following exceptions applies:

[...]

(g) When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government, international agency, or other organization.

In this case, since you are not requesting federal funding for your air travel, you can use a non-foreign carrier. Clearly, foreign travel will most likely require lodging and per diem costs at non-US-owned venues—unless you happen to like staying at Holiday Inns and eating at McDonald's, Starbucks, or Pizza Hut. Moreover, the above portion of the regulations say that if improper air carriers are used, only the transportation costs are ruled unallowable. It does not talk about the per diem expenses for lodging, meals, and incidentals.

  • I was looking for some language like this, thanks! – nukeguy Mar 8 '18 at 20:26

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