Fly America Act - Use of U.S. Air Carriers

Federal Travel Regulations require that U.S. flag air carriers are used for travel that is to be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts. This policy is called the Fly America Act.

Before making travel arrangements for air travel for university business, find out about the funding type and, if applicable, ensure the booking is in accordance with the Act.

For more information about compliance with the Fly America Act, please see Direct Costs: Travel and the Fly America Act on the Contracts and Grants Accounting website.


When booking travel for Federal award or any other university business, only coach or economy-class tickets should be purchased. This policy applies to all travel regardless of the purpose or the fund source. Use of business or first-class may be authorized under the following circumstances:

  • Business or first-class is the only service offered between two points;
  • The use of coach class would be more expensive or time consuming, such as unduly long layover when making connections or an unnecessary hotel expense;
  • An itinerary involves overnight travel without an opportunity for normal rest before the commencement of working hours; or
  • The use of business or first-class travel is necessary to reasonably accommodate a disability or medical need of a traveler.

Exceptions should be justified, documented, and approved in advance by an administrator with an official Delegation of Authority granted by the Chancellor (usually a Dean, depending on the organizational structure of the unit).

Ancillary charges for airfare are sometimes allowable. Provided that the charges for these ancillary expenses are allowed by the funding source, the following airline charges may be reimbursable under UCI policy:

  • Checked and carry-on bag fees
  • Early check-in (i.e., Southwest Airlines Early Bird Check-in)
  • Economy-class seat selection fees