Business Travel Travel Management

11 Government Contractor Travel Essentials

Government contractor travel is complex and highly regulated. So finding the right travel management company (TMC) to support those needs is key. Though there are various TMCs, only a few specialize in government contractor travel. To help you understand the ins and outs of this specific type of business travel, we’ve compiled the following list of essential tools, services, and expertise you need.

11 Government Contractor Travel Essentials:

1. A TMC with experience in government contractor travel

Managing government contractor travel requires specialized skills to navigate the intricacies of the associated regulations. It also requires unique solutions, robust integrations, and a high level of expertise. Government contractors should only partner with a TMC that has proven experience working in government contractor travel.

By relying on a TMC that can deliver the unique solutions you need, you are able to confidently navigate the complexities of  your travel program with ease.

2. A TMC that understands the importance of government contractor travel policy

Government contractors are somewhat unique among companies and organizations that travel for business. That’s because compliance with a government contractor travel policy is not just a suggestion or a goal. It is a non-negotiable standard and must be followed exactly.

Partnering with a TMC that fully understands the complexities of a government contractor travel policy and can provide solutions and integrations that ensure compliance is essential.

3. Booking options that are integrated with your government contractor travel policy

Whether your travelers book through an online booking tool or with an experienced travel agent, the booking process must be integrated with your government contractor travel policy. In fact, your TMC should be able to customize and integrate the many government contractor travel policies that contractors often require.

When those policies are tailored to your needs and fully integrated with the booking process, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your travelers are compliant.

4. An automated electronic travel approval process

Easy-to-use automations are key to travel managers getting things done with efficiency. Being able to confidently trust an automated, electronic travel approval process reduces many travel management-related headaches. This type of approval process:

  1. Saves time by reducing back and forth communication
  2. Keeps the process moving and timely so good fares aren’t lost
  3. Ensures compliance with your government contractor travel policy by tracking approvals, modifications, and cancellations.

5. Expertise with Joint Travel Regulations

As outlined by the Department of Defense (DoD), Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) implements policy and law to establish travel and transportation allowances for Uniformed Service members, DoD civilian employees, and others traveling at the DoD’s expense. These allowances include things like basic travel rules, receipt requirements, per diems, lodging and transportation allowances, and more.

Your TMC should:

  1. understand these policies and laws
  2. be able to fully integrate them
  3. and align your travelers’ bookings accordingly.

6. Access to per diem rates

Ensuring your travelers have access to per diem rates for hotels should be top of mind for government contractors. Your TMC should be able to provide integrated access to those rates through both your online booking tool and travel agent team. Be sure to request information on how a TMC delivers per diem rates when you reach out for information or RFP.

7. Knowledge of the Fly America Act, Open Skies Agreement, and more

The Fly America Act is a federal regulation that requires the use of U.S. flag air carriers for any travel paid for or reimbursed by federal grants and contracts. Finding a TMC that can guide your organization through the Fly America Act, Open Skies Agreement, and other similar regulations, is key to setting your travel program up in a way that allows you to maintain your government contract.

8. Travel access to remote areas

Government contractor travel often means traveling to remote or inhospitable regions. Partnering with a TMC that has the ability to get your travelers to the front lines is crucial. For example, Christopherson’s connections with Workforce Charter companies enables our expert travel advisors to provide bookings to wherever your contracts take your travelers. Some TMCs don’t have these connections so it’s important to explore a TMC’s abilities and experience with remote areas early on in your discussions.

9. Government contractor travel safety and security technology

As previously stated, your travelers’ destinations for may be remote. Those remote areas also often have higher levels of travel advisories and risk. To help you keep your travelers safe, travel managers need risk management travel technology. Such tools and software allow you to locate travelers in real-time, verify their safety in the event of an emergency, and communicate alerts to more easily manage duty of care requirements.

10. Custom reporting for government contractor travel reconciliation and auditing

Meaningful data allows you to take meaningful action. It also helps to ensure that your travel program stays in line with the regulations of your contract. This is why government contractors need robust reporting solutions that provide access to integrated sets of data-analysis tools.

When your TMC is able to provide these types of integrated data and reporting solutions, you’re able to allocate multiple contract numbers. You’re also able to easily distinguish between direct and overhead billings.

11. 24/7/365 service and support

You never know if, when, or even where a traveler might experience a travel disruption. Having a TMC that provides service and support 24/7/365 is essential.

With more than 45 government contractor clients, Christopherson understand the requirements and intricacies of traveling under a government contract. Our experienced travel advisors are experts in the Fly America Act, Joint Travel Regulations, and per diem rates so you can ensure your bookings are billable. To learn more about our services, tools, and solutions, speak with our experts today.

Business Travel Travel Management

Fly America Act and Travel Management

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.