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Fly America Act

Check here to see if your flight is compliant with the Fly America Act.

What is the Fly America Act?

The Fly America Act (Section 301 of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR)) was enacted to mandate use of U.S. flag air carriers for federally funded travel. In general, it requires travelers to use a US Carrier, a carrier that code shares with a US carrier, or to qualify for an exception to the law for air travel funded by the U.S. Government.

Who has to comply with the Fly America Act?

Travelers who are charging flights to federally funded sponsored program (RC) accounts must comply with the Fly America Act.

Travelers are responsible for compliance.  If a non-compliant air carrier is used, travelers and/or the department may not be reimbursed.  The traveler and the department will have to determine whether or not other funds are available for reimbursement. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you book your travel, when federally funded, through an MSU Preferred Travel Agency, whose agents are well versed in the Fly America Act. When contacting them, please be sure to advise them that your trip is federally funded.

How do you comply with The Fly America Act?

If you are scheduling travel that is federally funded, you must ensure that all flights are scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier. Please use this Airlines link listing all U.S. flag air carriers and their codes to verify your airline reservation is in compliance.

To comply with the Fly America act, the traveler's flight(s) must meet one of the following three criteria.

  1. The flight is on a U.S. flag air carrier.
  2. The flight is a “code share” flight.
    Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as if it were their own. In other words, the flight may be on a foreign air carrier’s plane, but is considered the same as one operated by an U.S. flag air carrier when a U.S. carrier's 2-letter code is recorded next to the flight number (e.g. DL 388 identifies the flight as Delta Airlines). The airline receipt or other supporting documentation must show the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code in the area next to the flight numbers.”
    • Allowable: UA 1234 operated by Air China
      United Airlines has a code share agreement with Air China to Beijing, China. If the boarding pass or passenger receipt identifies a flight as UA # (United Airlines), the requirements of the Fly America Act are met, even if the flight was on an Air China airplane.
    • Unallowable: CA 1234 operated by United Airlines
      If the boarding pass or passenger receipt identifies the flight as CA # (Air China), then the requirements of the Fly America Act are not met.
    • Please see examples of airline tickets that are in compliance (pdf) and not (pdf) in compliance with the Fly America Act.
  3. The flight is covered by an allowable exception. You must meet one of the following exceptions in order to fly on a non U.S. air carrier or “code share” flight.
    • Open Skies Agreements (not applicable for U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Military funding)
      • European Union (EU), Iceland, and Norway
        • Travelers may use a European Union airline, as long as they touch down in an European Union country.
        • Michigan State University will hold on file a “blanket” statement to certify use of EU Carriers as an exception to the Fly America Act as outlined in the FTR Section 301-10.135.
      • Australia
        • Travelers may use an Australian airline (Ex: Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia) as long as the U.S. government does not have a published airfare rate for your travel route (City-Pair Agreement).
          Enter your starting and ending destination in to the fare finder. If no city pair exists, the fare finder response reads “Awards not found for the given criteria.”
        • A statement certifying that the traveler met this exception must be included with the airfare supporting documentation.
      • Japan
        • Travelers may use a Japanese airline (Ex: Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways) as long as the U.S. government does not have a published airfare rate for your travel route (City-Pair Agreement).
          Enter your starting and ending destination in to the fare finder. If no city pair exists, the fare finder response reads “Awards not found for the given criteria.”
        • A statement certifying that the traveler met this exception must be included with the airfare supporting documentation.
      • Switzerland
        • Travelers may use a Swiss airline (Ex: Swiss Air, Swiss International) as long as the U.S. government does not have a published airfare rate for your travel route (City-Pair Agreement).
          Enter your starting and ending destination in to the fare finder. If no city pair exists, the fare finder response reads “Awards not found for the given criteria.”
        • A statement certifying that the traveler met this exception must be included with the airfare supporting documentation.
      • Other Exceptions
        • A full list of other exceptions can be found on the Fly America Act Waiver Checklist (pdf), which may be used as a resource when determining if an exception exists.
        • Common exceptions are as follows.
          • A U.S. flag air carrier does not provide service on a particular leg of your trip
          • The use of a U.S. carrier will unreasonably delay your travel time;
          • You are involuntarily rerouted
          • For medical or safety reasons
        • A statement explaining why you met one of the other exceptions and copy of your airfare itinerary/invoice providing traveler’s name, the dates of travel; the origin and destination are required.

How do you certify an exception, when applicable?

  • A certification statement by the traveler, Fiscal Officer, or MSU Preferred Travel Agency is required for all exceptions to the Fly America Act, unless the exception is the European Union Open Skies agreement for which MSU maintains the below, GSA approved blanket certification statement.

    Michigan State University recognizes and adheres to federal regulations, specifically the Fly America Act which requires use of American air carriers, when foreign travel is being funded by federal monies.  The Open Skies Agreement between the United States and the European Union, Iceland, and Norway.  MSU understands that use of the Open Skies Agreement is considered an exception under the auspices of the Fly America Act.  Therefore, the university provides corporate certification of such flights when travelers meet the guidelines of the US-EU Open Skies Agreement under the exception detailed in 301-10.135 of the Federal Travel Regulations: “The transportation is provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreement to which the United States Government and the government of a foreign country are parties, and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act”.

  • The statement should be certified by the traveler, Fiscal Officer, or MSU Preferred Travel Agency and indicate which exception is present, similar to the following example. “I certify that my flight(s) qualified for a Fly America Act exception because there is no U.S. flag air carrier provides service for my travel route.”

  • The traveler, Fiscal Officer, or MSU Preferred Travel Agency can provide their certification statement in one of the following ways, or in a similar method.

    • Completing the Fly America Act Waiver Checklist (pdf),
    • Attaching the certification statement on a separate sheet of paper to the KFS transaction for the travel expenses,
    • Adding the certification statement to other supporting documentation from the travel, or
    • Having the traveler or Fiscal Officer personally add a note with the certification statement to the KFS transaction for the travel expenses.

    Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the Federal Travel Regulations can be found at FTR - Chapter 301.

General References

 
Category: Award Management    Subcategories: Travel

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