May 5, 1998
General Services Administration
RE: Comments on Proposed Rule for 41 CFR Parts
301-3 and 301-10 Federal Travel Regulation; Use of Commercial
Transportation, Fly America Act
To Whom It May Concern:
I believe the implementation of the "plain
language" style for the above regulation will be beneficial
to both the traveler and the person responsible for monitoring
travel expenditures involving federal funds. The use of the question
and answer format allows either person to quickly locate the information
they require and also provides answers in a more clear and concise
manner than the previous format.
I would like to comment on two particular sections
of Part 301-10 Transportation Allowable.
301-10.134 What is U.S. flag air carrier service?
I strongly agree with the adoption of the language
stating "when the entire ticket is issued by the U.S. flag
air carrier, and payment is to the U.S. flag air carrier"
as a determination of what is a U.S. flag air carrier. If the
ticket is issued by a foreign carrier, it is often difficult to
determine if a code-share agreement is in force with a U.S. flag
carrier upon the basis of the documents submitted for reimbursement
If the regulation requires that the entire ticket be issued by
the U.S. flag air carrier in order to qualify, there would be
no need to question whether a particular foreign carrier has a
301-10.144 What is my liability if I improperly
use a foreign air carrier?
Regarding the statement, "If you are authorized
by your agency to use U.S. flag air carrier service for your entire
trip, and you improperly use a foreign air carrier for any or
all of the trip, your transporation cost on the foreign air carrier
will not be payable by your agency," I believe that language
may encourage the implementation of splitting the cost of a trip
involving foreign travel between non-federal and federal funds
to allow the use of a foreign carrier for convenience or lower
rates. If I am interpretting this statement correctly, the only
portion that would be disallowed due to improper use of a foreign
air carrier is the foreign portion of the air carrier expense.
In the past, at our institution, we have disallowed the total
cost of air travel (both foreign and U.S.) if it was found that
a foreign air carrier was improperly used for part of the trip.
We did not allow for only a portion of the trip to be charged
to the federal funds - it was the complete trip or nothing. If
the intention of the regulation is to prevent loss of revenues
by U.S. air carriers, the language should be more explicit in
curbing the intentional splitting of costs to receive a total
net lower travel rate. If there is a U.S. flag air carrier service
available to the final point of destination, and the traveler
cannot certify that any of the exceptions in 301-10.137 apply
and/or none of the circumstances in 301-10.138 are deemed a matter
of necessity, does the federal government want to enforce regulations
requiring that the complete trip be made on a U.S. flag air carrier,
or do they want to give the traveler the option of splitting the
charges between federal and non-federal sources? According to
the new language, it would be possible for a traveler to intentionally
use a foreign carrier improperly in order to reduce the total
cost of the trip if he/she had non-federal funds available to
pay the difference, thus, defeating the purpose of encouraging
U.S. flag carriers regardless of cost and/or convenience to the
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on
this proposed rule.