Fly America Act

The Fly America Act was originally enacted in 1974. This act mandates that any foreign travel that is paid from federal funds, including foreign travelers coming to the U.S. must be accomplished through U.S. Flag Air Carriers.  There have been many modifications to this act, the latest of which can be accessed at, the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) web page.

One common misreading of these regulations is that when a foreign airline has a code-sharing agreement with a U.S airline then that airline may be used when purchasing foreign travel.  However, this is only true if the airline ticket was issued through a U.S. airline. In such cases the ticket or itinerary will show the name of the U.S. airline involved first, and then the name of the airline operating the flight.  If a ticket does not show being issued by a U.S. Flag Carrier this it is generally not allowable to be paid with federal dollars.  For example, Delta Airlines has a code-share agreement with KLM Airlines. If the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies a flight as DL##, the requirements of the Fly America Act would be met, even though the flight was on a KLM Airlines airplane.  If, however, the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies the flight as a KL##, then the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations would not be met. For more information click the link for a Power Point presentation. 

Below is an example of an unallowable flight as the ticket was purchased through Air France.
Sat 22-May-10
Pullman (PUW)
Depart 6:45 am
Seattle (SEA)
Arrive 7:55 am
250 mi
(402 km)
Duration: 1hr 10mn
AF Air France
Flight: 9693
Operated by: Alaska Airlines
3Economy/Coach Class ( 17E )

Seattle (SEA)
Depart 1:45 pm
to Paris (CDG)
Arrive 8:35 am
+1 day
5,006 mi
(8,056 km)
Duration: 9hr 50mn
AF Air France
Flight: 309
3Economy/Coach Class ( 37F )

Sun 23-May-10
Paris (CDG)
Depart 10:00 am
to Pisa (PSA)
Arrive 11:45 am
520 mi
(837 km)
Duration: 1hr 45mn
AF Air France
Flight: 1866
Operated by: Regional
Compagnie Aerienne
3Economy/Coach Class ( Seat assignments upon check-in )

Total distance: 5,776 mi (9,296 km)
Total duration: 12hr 45mn (20hr 0mn with connections)


An example of an allowable flight. This example shows that the ticket was purchased through Delta Airlines but the first leg was operated by KLM. This would be allowable on federal dollars.
Tue 1-Jun-10
Rome (FCO)
Depart 6:35 am
Amsterdam (AMS)
Arrive 9:05 am
809 mi
(1,302 km)
Duration: 2hr 30mn
DL Delta
Flight: 9447
Operated by: KLM
3Economy/Coach Class ( Seat assignments upon check-in )
Amsterdam (AMS)
Depart 10:15 am
to Seattle (SEA)
Arrive 11:30 am
4,873 mi
(7,842 km)
Duration: 10hr 15mn
DL Delta
Flight: 233
3Economy/Coach Class ( 40A )
Seattle (SEA)
Depart 1:50 pm
to Pullman (PUW)
Arrive 2:55 pm
250 mi
(402 km)
Duration: 1hr 5mn
DL Delta
Flight: 9162
Operated by:
Horizon Air
3Economy/Coach Class ( Seat assignments upon check-in )

Total distance: 5,932 mi (9,547 km)
Total duration: 13hr 50mn (17hr 20mn with connections)

There are further exceptions to the Fly America Act that can be found on the UI Fly America Act Waiver Request Form.  For example, there are instances when: A U.S. Flag Air Carrier reroutes a traveler involuntarily onto a foreign air carrier; no U.S. Carrier provides service on a particular leg of your route (note that U.S. carriers must still be used on all legs of a trip where service is provided); use of a U.S. carrier increases the number of aircraft changes outside of the U.S. by two or more; or use of a U.S carrier requires a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas Gateway airport to the traveler’s final destination abroad.  The checklist allows the traveler to provide documentation of why a foreign carrier was used.

Please be advised that when you book travel on Cheap Flights, Expedia, Orbitz, or other websites the cheapest flights often are in violation of the Fly America Act and will not be allowed on any travel funded through federal or federal flow-through awards. If in doubt, please check with the Cost Accounting Unit of OSP before travel is booked.