In this installment of our definition series, we’re diving into the Fly America Act and its importance within travel management. The Fly America Act typically applies to federal travelers, including government contractors, who are working on behalf of the United States. As with most government contractor regulations, the Fly America Act needs to be understood and adhered to specifically. That’s why it’s important to partner with a TMC who specializes with government contractor travel.
The Fly America Act
So what is the Fly America Act and why is it so important?
- Called 49 U.C. 40118, it is (fortunately) more commonly known as the Fly America Act.
- It requires federal travelers to use U.S. air carrier service for all air travel and cargo transportation services that is funded by the U.S. government.
- These air carriers that are included in the Fly America Act are called U.S. flag air carrier.
- This includes companies not just in the 50 states, but also the District of Columbia, and the territories of the U.S.
- To comply with this act, air transportation needs to be performed by or under a code sharing arrangement with a U.S. flag air carrier id service. It is also done if a carrier is available – regardless of cost, convenience, or destination.
- Tickets must also identify the air carrier’s designator code and flight number.
Are there any exceptions to the Fly America Act?
Yes. And if you can believe it, this is where it gets confusing. There are different exceptions for different circumstances. For instance, travelers flying solely outside the United States have different exceptions than travelers flying between the U.S. and a different country.
Some common exceptions are:
- If the length of travel will be extended by 24 hours or more.
- When the costs of transportation will be fully reimbursed by a third-party.
- If the U.S. carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service between the origin and destination. Of course, there are additional requirements if this case occurs. For example, a U.S. air carrier should be used for every leg of the journey, notwithstanding additional exceptions.
- When Open Skies Agreement is in place. The use of a foreign carrier is allowed if the transportation involves the United States, the European Union (E.U.), Australia, Japan, or Switzerland.
See what we mean about complexities involving the Fly America Act? If you are a government contractor, it is imperative that you have a corporate travel management company that can correctly lead you through the complicated world of the Fly America Act. Christopherson is a travel management company with extensive experience in government contractor travel. If you are interested in learning more or have additional questions about the Fly America Act, please contact us today.