The Fly America Act is a federal regulation that requires the use of U.S. flag carriers or foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier for travel that will be reimbursed from federally funded grants, contracts or subawards, unless specific exceptions apply.

For further information regarding the Fly America Act, please view the full code of federal regulations at 41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143.

Example of a codeshare ticket with air carrierCode-sharing agreements with foreign air 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 generally stated as “U.S. Air Carrier flight XXXX operated by Foreign Air Carrier.”

For example, the following would be Allowable: American Airlines (AA) 6143 New York to London operated by British Airways


It is the Principal Investigator’s (PI) or their designee’s responsibility to ensure that all air travel charged to federally funded projects is in compliance with this regulation.


When air travel will be paid for with federal funds, a U.S. flag carrier or foreign air carrier that is code shared with a U.S. flag carrier must be used, even though;

  • A foreign air carrier service is less expensive, or
  • A foreign air service is preferred by the traveler, or
  • A foreign air service is more convenient.

Exceptions and Waiver Checklist

When air travel will be paid for with federal funds, a U.S. flag carrier or foreign air carrier that is code shared with a U.S. flag carrier must be used, unless an exception applies.

Open Skies Exception

The biggest exception to the Fly America Act is the Open Skies Agreement.

Important: If you are traveling to a foreign country funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) or other U.S. Military departments such as Air Force, Army or Navy,  you are not permitted to take advantage of the Open Sky Agreements. You MUST fly on a U.S. flag airline unless you qualify for an exemption as noted in the Fly America Act.

Use of a foreign carrier is allowed under open skies when transportation is between the U.S. and any point in the member state or between two points outside the U.S. provided that:

  • No city-pair fare exists. To check if a city pair fare exists, review the fare finder. If no city pair exists the fare finder response reads "Awards not found for the given criteria."
  • Travel is NOT funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) or by any department of the U.S. Military.
  • For the EU agreement, a non-U.S. government employee traveler is exempt from the city pair fare requirement, i.e. a foreign carrier may be used for travel to any point outside the U.S. but must land in an EU Open Skies agreement member state before traveling beyond the member states.

Open Skies Decision Matrix and Decision Tree

To see if you qualify for an exception under Open Skies you may use one or both of the following tools:

International Travel Preparation Guidance

For additional international travel guidance, including export control concerns, refer to the following:


Updated 08/18/21