Compliance with the Fly America Act is the responsibility of each traveler. Before making arrangements for air travel for university business, the traveler should investigate the funding type and, if applicable, ensure the booking is in accordance with any requirements or restrictions.
Fly America Act Requirements
The Fly America Act is a federal regulation that requires the use of U.S. carriers for travel that will be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts. Travelers who will be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts can also use foreign air carriers with code-sharing agreements with U.S. flag carriers. If there is no U.S. carrier to your destination, you must travel on a U.S. carrier as far as possible. Additional cost for U.S. carrier flights is not sufficient justification to fly on foreign carriers. Please note that the same rules apply to a foreign visitor's flights supported by federal funds.
Code-sharing agreements with foreign air carriers, whereby American carriers purchase or have the right to sell a block of tickets on a foreign carrier, comply with the Fly America Act Regulations. The ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, must identify the U.S. carrier's designator code and flight number.
Note: Some funding sources may not recognize code-sharing as being compliant with Fly America Act regulations. When fund source policy is more restrictive than university travel policy, the more restrictive policy applies.
Open Skies Agreement Exception from Fly America Act
The most well-known exception to the Fly America Act is when an Open Skies agreement is in place between the United States (U.S.) government and the government of foreign country. Under the Open Skies agreement, the use of a foreign carrier is allowable when that airline is a member state carrier or between two points outside the U.S., subject to certain restrictions.
Travelers funded by federal grants and contracts should review GSA publication Federal Travel Regulations Section 301-10.106 for any City-Pair requirements and Section 301-10.135 for any Open Skies requirements.
A list of countries the U.S. has Open Skies agreements with is available at the U.S. State Department website.
Other Exceptions from 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 additional 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.
Note: When one or more of the above circumstances apply, an explanation indicating the appropriate exception must be provided on the travel request.