A-29145, NOVEMBER 14, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 203

A-29145: Nov 14, 1929

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATIONS ON TRANS-ATLANTIC VESSELS ON WHICH THE HIGHEST CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS ARE DESIGNATED AS "CABIN CLASS. " ALL CABIN-CLASS RATES ARE "FIRST-CLASS RATES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE TRAVELER IS ORDINARILY LIMITED TO THE MINIMUM CABIN- CLASS RATES UPON SUCH VESSELS. ON WHICH THE CHARACTER OF ACCOMMODATIONS IS DETERMINED BY PRICE RATHER THAN BY CLASS DIFFERENCE. IS ENTITLED TO USE A CABIN WHICH COSTS MORE THAN THE MINIMUM CABIN-CLASS RATE BUT LESS THAN THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE ON THE LEVIATHAN. WHICH YOU STATE IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE SIX SHIPS LISTED BY THE UNITED STATES LINES HAVING ACCOMMODATIONS DESIGNATED AS "FIRST CLASS.'.

A-29145, NOVEMBER 14, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 203

TRAVELING EXPENSES - STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATIONS ON TRANS-ATLANTIC VESSELS ON WHICH THE HIGHEST CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS ARE DESIGNATED AS "CABIN CLASS," ALL CABIN-CLASS RATES ARE "FIRST-CLASS RATES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THE TRAVELER IS ORDINARILY LIMITED TO THE MINIMUM CABIN- CLASS RATES UPON SUCH VESSELS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, NOVEMBER 14, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 9, 1929, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION THE QUESTION WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON STEAMERS OF THE UNITED STATES LINES, ON WHICH THE CHARACTER OF ACCOMMODATIONS IS DETERMINED BY PRICE RATHER THAN BY CLASS DIFFERENCE, IS ENTITLED TO USE A CABIN WHICH COSTS MORE THAN THE MINIMUM CABIN-CLASS RATE BUT LESS THAN THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE ON THE LEVIATHAN, WHICH YOU STATE IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE SIX SHIPS LISTED BY THE UNITED STATES LINES HAVING ACCOMMODATIONS DESIGNATED AS "FIRST CLASS.' YOU REFER PARTICULARLY TO THE CASE OF H. LAWRENCE GROVES, COMMERCIAL ATTACHE AT BERLIN, WHO, WITH HIS WIFE AND MINOR DAUGHTER, SAILED FROM NEW YORK FOR BREMEN ON OCTOBER 16, 1929, ON THE STEAMSHIP GEORGE WASHINGTON OF THE UNITED STATES LINES. TWO TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE ISSUED, ONE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS IN A CABIN TO BE OCCUPIED BY MR. GROVES AT A COST OF $175, THE OTHER FOR A CABIN TO BE OCCUPIED JOINTLY BY MRS. GROVES AND THEIR DAUGHTER AT A COST OF $370. YOU STATE THAT THE MINIMUM CABIN FARE ON THIS VESSEL WAS $165; MAXIMUM, $220.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1929, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

13. * * *

(A) ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH FOR EACH PERSON AND FIRST-CLASS STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS ON STEAMERS WHEN SAME IS NOT INCLUDED IN COST OF PASSAGE TICKET. IF THE ACCOMMODATIONS ARE SHARED BY THE TRAVELER THE FACT SHOULD BE STATED IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT, AND HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY HIS PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE COSTS. (SEE PARS. 13 (E), 117.)

(C) A SECTION, COMPARTMENT, DRAWING-ROOM, OR OTHER SUPERIOR RAILWAY OR STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATIONS WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE EXIGENCIES OF TRAVEL REQUIRE IT. WHEN NOT AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, FULL EXPLANATION SATISFACTORY TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL OF THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF SUCH SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS MUST ACCOMPANY THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT.

THE STANDARD GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS REQUIRE THAT TRANSPORTATION BE FURNISHED AT THE "LOWEST RATE" FOR THE CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS REQUESTED. REFERENCE TO THE TARIFFS PUBLISHED BY THE TRANS -ATLANTIC STEAMSHIP LINES DISCLOSES THAT CERTAIN VESSELS HAVE THREE CLASSES--- FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD CLASS--- WHILE OTHERS HAVE ONLY TWO CLASSES, DESCRIBED AS CABIN CLASS AND THIRD CLASS. IN THE VESSELS HAVING ONLY CABIN CLASS AND THIRD CLASS, THE CABIN CLASS IS THE BEST ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE UPON THE VESSEL; THAT IS, IT IS FIRST CLASS SO FAR AS THAT VESSEL IS CONCERNED. THE DECISION IN 7 COMP. GEN. 715, IS LIMITED TO COASTWISE VESSELS AND IS NOT FOR APPLICATION TO TRANS-ATLANTIC VESSELS. IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON CABIN CLASS VESSELS IS LIMITED TO THE MINIMUM RATE AVAILABLE FOR CABIN CLASS, EXCEPT WHEN SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 13 (C) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SUPRA.

THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE ON THE LEVIATHAN IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING THE CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS AUTHORIZED TO BE FURNISHED WHEN THE TRAVEL IS ON SOME OTHER VESSEL.

AS THE VOUCHERS FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS HERETOFORE FURNISHED AND USED PURSUANT TO TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WHICH SPECIFIED THE PARTICULAR STATEROOMS DESIRED, THEY WILL BE RETAINED FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT AND PAYMENT THEREON WILL BE AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THEY EXCEEDED THE MINIMUM CABIN- CLASS RATE FOR THE VESSEL UPON WHICH TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED.