Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement
Generally, if a traveler is traveling on funds provided by the federal government, he/she must use a U.S. flag carrier (an airline owned by an American company), regardless of cost or convenience.
If you are scheduling international travel that is federally funded, you must ensure that all flights, where possible, are scheduled on U.S. flag carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines “code” the same flight as if it was their own. In other words, a U.S. airline may sell a seat on the plane of a foreign air carrier; this seat is considered the same as one on a plane operated by a U.S. flag carrier. Compliance with the Fly America Act is satisfied when the U.S. flag air carrier’s designator code is present in the area next to the flight numbers on the airline ticket, boarding pass, or on the documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt).
For example, Delta has a code share agreement with Air France to Paris, France. If the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e‐ticket identifies a flight as DL ##, the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations would be met, even if the flight was on an Air France airplane. If however, the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e‐ticket identifies the flight as an AF ##, then the requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations would not be met.
It is highly recommended that you book your international travel, when federally funded, through Egencia so that the tool can display which carriers are allowed depending upon your funding.
The biggest exception to the Fly America Act is the Open Skies Agreement. On October 6, 2010, the United States and European Union (EU) “Open Skies” Air Transport Agreement was published by the U.S. General Services Administration providing full explanation of the multilateral agreement in place so that qualifying travelers, whose travel is supported by federal funds, may travel on European Union airlines as well as U.S. Flag Air Carriers. A list of current member countries of the European Union is available at the Europa web site. There are also Open Skies agreement with Australia, Switzerland and Japan.
What do these Open Skies Agreements mean to you?
When traveling to a destination serviced by a European Union airline, Yale travelers flying on a Federal grant can fly on either a US carrier or an EU (European Union) carrier.
Yale travelers using federal dollars can use an Australian airline only if a point of origin is either the US or Australia.
Yale travelers using federal dollars can use an Swiss airline only if a point of origin is either the US or Switzerland
There are other exceptions to the Fly America Act which may be appropriate as well. A list of exception criteria may be found in the Federal Travel Regulation Guidelines – FTR sections 301‐10.135‐138. Please note that lower cost and personal convenience are not acceptable criteria for justifying the non‐availability of a U.S. –flag air carrier.
Please note: Travelers using Department of Defense (DOD) are not permitted to take advantage of Open Sky Agreements. Travelers using DOD funds must use an American carrier, unless they qualify for an exemption as noted in FTR 301‐10.135, sections (a), (d), (e), (f), and (g).
To document exceptions you must complete Form 3301 FR.06 Fly America Act Waiver Form.