Categories
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.

 

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management

Travel Management 101 For Government Contractors

As with most things involving the government and larger institutions, government contractors are held to specific requirements and practices. Their compliance with activities like business travel is no different. Unfortunately, finding the right travel management company that can support their needs is not always an easy task. Though there are many travel management companies, only a few specialize in travel management for government contractors. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of specific items government contractors should consider before partnering with a TMC.

10 points government contractors need to know before partnering with a tmc:

  1. Understands the importance of compliance. Government contractors are somewhat unique in the business travel industry. Unlike most companies which has compliance as a goal, it must be followed to a tee for government contractors. That’s why partnering with a TMC that fully understands the ins-and-outs of specifics related to your travel policy is essential.
  2. Specialized experience. Look for a TMC that has the experience of working with government contractors and the years to back it up.
  3. Customized online booking tool for compliance and control. Ensure your team can customize your travel policy when necessary.
  4. Customized electronic travel approval. Easy to use automations are key for your travel managers, travelers, and even whole departments to efficiently get things done. Feeling confident that you can trust the backend of your travel approval process eliminates many travel management related headaches.
  5. JTR, or Joint Travel Requirements. If you are members of the Uniformed Services of the United States and DoD civilian employees and civilians who travel using DoD funding, you will need to set up a JTR. This is a key element that your TMC should bring your company. The JTR contains regulations related to per diem, travel and transportation allowances, and relocation allowances, among others. Having a TMC on your side to navigate what’s best for your company is essential.
  6. Access to per diem for your employees. Ensuring your travelers have the use of per diem while they travel is often a second thought for government contractors. Be sure this is one of the first questions to ask TMCs before requesting RFPs or moving forward in a discussion.
  7. Fly America Act. This act is a federal regulation that requires the use of U.S. flag air carriers for travel paid for or reimbursed by federal grants and contracts. Finding a TMC that can navigate your team through additional acts and compliances, like the Fly America Act or Open Skies Agreement is essential in getting your travel program up and running efficiently.
  8. Travel access to traditionally remote areas. Sometimes government contracts means needing to access typically remote or inhospitable regions. Having a TMC with connections that get your travelers to the front lines is crucial. For example, our connections with Workforce Charter companies enables our CBT contractor expert travel advisors to provide travel wherever your contracts take your travelers. We’ve found other TMCs often don’t have these connections.
  9. Custom reporting for reconciliation and auditing. Customized reporting for what you need to see, not what works best for the general public.
  10. 24/7 service and support. Having a TMC that is always available day or night, is not something that should be taken lightly.

Government contractors need a travel management company that will not only knows the fine details of the industry, but will go above and beyond to support your travelers whenever possible. You should feel confident in choosing the right TMC for your contract or funding. If you are interested in understanding more about how TMCs assist government contractors, or seeing how Christopherson has supported our government contractors for more that 20 years, please contact one of our business travel experts.

Categories
Travel News

New Rules Require Airlines to Show Fees with Fares

Have you ever seen an advertisement for what you thought was a “cheap flight,” only to click the link and find that it’s actually much more expensive than you initially thought due to all the fees and taxes?

In a new set of regulations, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will now require airlines to advertise full ticket prices, including any government taxes and additional fees, when those prices are advertised or first shown on websites. The DOT will also require airlines to post baggage fees more clearly on their websites.
These rules are the latest in consumer-oriented regulations imposed on airlines by the Government. At present, passengers often don’t see the full ticket cost until the booking is made and paid online. The intent of these rules is to make ticket prices more understandable for consumers by providing greater transparency and better opportunity for price comparison. Additionally, the new regulations will also require that airlines give the consumer 24 hours to change their reservation without having to pay a rebooking fee.
However the airlines say it’s unfair–that consumers are used to having taxes added at “the register,” and that it prevents them from showing the consumer just how much of the ticket price belongs to the government.
What do you think?