Common Travel Questions

What receipts do I need for my travel related expenses?

Effective January 21, 2014, travel related receipts are required only when an individual expense exceeds $75.

Reference the Campus Controller’s Office, Guidelines: Responsibility for Sponsored Projects Receipts and Supporting Documentation.

What is the Fly America Act?

Government funded travel on grants and contracts at CU where the “Fly America Act” is in effect stipulates that air transportation must be performed by or under a code-sharing arrangement with a United States flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available, regardless of cost or convenience.​

For more information, consult OCG’s International Travel and Fly America Act webpages, as well as University of Colorado Procurement Service Center: Fly America Act information.

What does United States mean?

For purposes of the use of United States flag air carriers, “United States” means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

What is a U.S. flag air carrier?

An air carrier which holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 but does not include a foreign air carrier operating under a permit.  The full list can be found on U.S. Department of Transportation’s website here

How do I determine if I can use a non-U.S. air carrier?

Please review the Fly America Act page on the OCG website to determine if a non-U.S. air carrier can be used.  If it is determined that a non-U.S. air carrier can be used, the Fly America Act Waiver can be used to document why a particular carrier is permitted.  These resources are both available on the OCG website here. If you have any questions, contact your OCG Grant or Contract Officer.

I can get a much cheaper rate if I use a European carrier when I travel for my project with the DOD or by a department of the U.S. Military. May I do that and save the project some money?

No. You must use a U.S. air carrier regardless of cost on a project funded by the DOD or by a department of the U.S. Military.

One leg of my trip is not on a US air carrier because a U.S. carrier does not go to the destination. What do I need to do?

It should be documented why a non-U.S. air carrier is used.  This can be done using the Fly America Act Waiver form found on the OCG website here.

Does OCG need to approve the Fly America Act Waiver?

No. Only the traveler and the Principal Investigator (if not the traveler) need to sign the form. The completed form should be attached to the other trip records, such as the travel authorization and expense report, and kept with the award records with the department.

My PI has funding from both federal and non-federal sponsors. Are there rules relating to travel costs charged to federal awards that are different than those for non-federal awards?

Yes. Any travel costs charged to federal awards must comply with federal regulations, including the requirement to book the lowest economy airfare and comply with the Fly America Act.  When traveling on non-federal awards, unless it is specifically prohibited in the terms and conditions of the award agreement, travel does not need to meet the Fly America Act requirement.  Regardless of the sponsor, University of Colorado’s travel policy is in effect. See also the University of Colorado Procurement Service Center Travel page.

Are economy upgrades on a federal award allowable?

Generally not, unless you meet an exception specified in the federal regulations and you are able to meet University of Colorado’s travel policy. See also the University of Colorado Procurement Service Center Travel page.

May I travel by a foreign air carrier if the cost of my ticket is less than traveling by a U.S. flag air carrier?

No. If the grant or contract requires compliance with the “Fly America Act”, then a foreign air carrier service may not be used solely based on the cost or convenience.

Do I need approval for travel on a sponsored project?

All travel must be approved by your department. Some sponsors also require travel to be preapproved by the sponsor. This condition is part of award terms and conditions. If you’re not sure if your sponsored projects travel needs to be approved, check with your Grant or Contract Officer in OCG.