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fly america act

Guidance on Fly America Act 

The Fly America Act requires that foreign travel funded by U.S. federal government funds, including federal sponsored projects, must be scheduled on a U.S. Flag carrier (an airline owned by an American Company), regardless of cost or convenience.

Foreign carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier are allowed to be used. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as if it was their own. As long as the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code is present in the area next to the flight numbers on the airline ticket, boarding pass, or on the documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt), the transaction is deemed to be compliant with the Fly America Act.  For example, United Airlines has a code of “UA”. A airline ticket or passenger receipt to Germany using Lufthansa airlines is allowable as long as the flight number on the ticket is UA ####.

Under certain circumstances, the U.S. federal government allows for exceptions to the Fly America Act:

  1. Open Skies Agreement:  On October 6, 2010, the United States and European Union (EU) “Open Skies” Air Transport Agreement was published by the U.S. General Services Administration providing full explanation of the multilateral agreement in place so that qualifying travelers, whose travel is supported by federal funds, may travel on European Union airlines as well as U.S. Flag air carriers. A list of current member countries of the European Union is available at the Europa web site. There are also Open Skies agreement with Australia, Switzerland and Japan. Important note: Travelers using Department of Defense (DoD) funds are not permitted to take advantage of Open Sky Agreements and must use U.S. Flag carrier.

  2. For travel between the U.S. and a Foreign destination, 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.

  3. For travel between any destinations (US to Foreign or Foreign to Foreign), if a U.S. Flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no 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:

    1. Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside of the U.S. by two or more; or

    2. Extend your travel time by at least six hours or more; or

    3. Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

    4. There are a few other exceptions in FTR 301‐10.135 – 301‐10.138 that may be applicable

Any exceptions to the Fly America Act should be documented and retained as a part of your travel documentation.

Please contact your SPA Financial Analyst before booking your flight if you have questions. 

Please also refer to these UVM links for other useful information.

FAQs on Fly America Act

Q1) May I travel by a foreign air carrier if the cost of my ticket is less than traveling by a U.S. Flag air carrier?

A1) No. Foreign air carrier service may not be used solely based on the cost of your ticket.

Q2) May I use a foreign air carrier if the service is preferred by or more convenient for my agency or me?

A2)  No. You must use U.S. Flag air carrier service, unless you meet one of the exceptions listed above

Q3) What documentation is required to justify the use of a foreign carrier for my trip?

A3) As a part of your travel justification, please note that this falls as an exception to the most economical flight because it falls under the jurisdiction of the Fly America Act. Please include a certification that includes the following pieces as a part of your PurCard back up or travel back up. 

The certification must include:

(a) Your name;
(b) The dates that you traveled;
(c) The origin and the destination of your travel;
(d) A detailed itinerary of your travel, name of the air carrier and flight number for each leg of the trip; and
(e) A statement explaining which of the exceptions listed above or in FTR 301-10.135-301-10.138 are applicable and why.

Q4) What is my liability if I use a foreign air carrier and do not meet one of the excepts listed above?

A4) The portion of the expenses for which the foreign carrier was used cannot be charged to federal funds.

Last modified November 21 2017 01:05 PM

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