B-142174, APRIL 4, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 676

B-142174: Apr 4, 1960

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WHEN A FAMILY-PLAN AIRLINE RATE IS THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS RATE AVAILABLE. SUCH RATE IS FOR USE IN DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL COSTS FOR OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY MODES OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS AND WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED TO A PLACE OTHER THAN PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE. IN COMPUTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE HOME LEAVE TRAVEL COSTS FOR AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHO WAS UNABLE TO USE THE AVAILABLE FAMILY-PLAN RATE FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE HE USED A VESSEL INSTEAD OF THE AUTHORIZED AIR TRANSPORTATION FOR THE TRIP FROM THE OVERSEAS STATION TO THE UNITED STATES AND WHO WAS UNABLE TO USE THE FAMILY-PLAN RATE ON THE RETURN TRIP BECAUSE HE DEPARTED PRIOR TO THE TIME REQUIRED FOR DIRECT RETURN TRAVEL TO THE OVERSEAS STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF USING ANNUAL LEAVE AT ANOTHER PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES.

B-142174, APRIL 4, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 676

OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES - TRAVEL EXPENSES - HOME LEAVE - CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL COSTS - FAMILY RATE PLAN THE RULE THAT, WHEN A FAMILY-PLAN AIRLINE RATE IS THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS RATE AVAILABLE, SUCH RATE IS FOR USE IN DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL COSTS FOR OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY MODES OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS AND WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED TO A PLACE OTHER THAN PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE, PROVIDED THAT A MORE RESTRICTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION HAS NOT BEEN ADOPTED OR THAT THE ORDERS DO NOT LIMIT THE COST COMPARISON TO THE ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED. IN COMPUTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE HOME LEAVE TRAVEL COSTS FOR AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHO WAS UNABLE TO USE THE AVAILABLE FAMILY-PLAN RATE FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE HE USED A VESSEL INSTEAD OF THE AUTHORIZED AIR TRANSPORTATION FOR THE TRIP FROM THE OVERSEAS STATION TO THE UNITED STATES AND WHO WAS UNABLE TO USE THE FAMILY-PLAN RATE ON THE RETURN TRIP BECAUSE HE DEPARTED PRIOR TO THE TIME REQUIRED FOR DIRECT RETURN TRAVEL TO THE OVERSEAS STATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF USING ANNUAL LEAVE AT ANOTHER PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES, THE FAMILY-PLAN AIRLINE RATE SHOULD BE USED, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE FAMILY-PLAN RATE WAS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE DAYS THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY TRAVELED; THEREFORE, THE EMPLOYEE IS LIABLE FOR THE EXCESS TRAVEL COSTS.

TO CLEO F. LAYTON, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 4, 1960:

ON MARCH 1, 1960, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. ROBERT C. WILSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE VOUCHER IS FOR $64.45 AND REPRESENTS HIS RECLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES WHICH WERE DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY.

THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MAY 25, 1959, AUTHORIZES TRAVEL FROM HONOLULU, HAWAII, TO MARBLE HEAD, MASSACHUSETTS, AND RETURN TO HONOLULU. IT SPECIFIES THE MODE OF TRAVEL AS FOLLOWS:

TRANSPORTATION COSTS AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCE SHALL NOT EXCEED THAT FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION (AIR-TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS OVERSEAS--- FIRST CLASS ON THE MAINLAND) AND ANNUAL LEAVE SHALL BE CHARGED FOR TRAVEL TIME IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED FOR SUCH AIR TRAVEL EXCEPT THAT FIRST CLASS OVERSEAS AIR TRANSPORTATION ACCOMMODATIONS WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND SUPPORTING EXPLANATION IS STATED IN YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHER.

THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ITINERARY SHOWS HE DEPARTED HONOLULU JUNE 29, 1959, VIA THE S.S. MATSONIA EN ROUTE TO SAN FRANCISCO. HE ARRIVED IN SAN FRANCISCO ON JULY 4 AND DEPARTED ON THE SAME DAY VIA TWA FOR BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, ARRIVING IN BOSTON AND MARBLE HEAD ON JULY 5. HE REMAINED IN THE VICINITY OF MARBLE HEAD DURING THE PERIOD JULY 6 TO 12 AND DEPARTED MARBLE HEAD ON JULY 13 FOR SAN FRANCISCO. HE ARRIVED IN SAN FRANCISCO VIA UAL ON JULY 13 AND REMAINED IN THE VICINITY OF SAN FRANCISCO AND THE WEST COAST DURING THE PERIOD JULY 14 TO AUGUST 5. HE DEPARTED SAN FRANCISCO ON AUGUST 6 AND ARRIVED IN HONOLULU ON THE SAME DATE.

THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL VIA AIR COMMON CARRIER SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE DEPARTED HONOLULU ON JUNE 29, 1959, ARRIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO ON JUNE 30. HE COULD HAVE DEPARTED SAN FRANCISCO ON JUNE 30 AND ARRIVED IN BOSTON AND MARBLE HEAD ON THE SAME DATE. HE IS SHOWN IN AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS FOR THE PERIOD JULY 1 TO AUGUST 5. RETURN CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL VIA AIR COMMON CARRIER SHOWS HE COULD HAVE DEPARTED BOSTON ON AUGUST 5 AND ARRIVED IN HONOLULU ON AUGUST 6.

THE AMOUNT RECLAIMED WAS DISALLOWED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE FOR THE REASON THAT FIRST-CLASS FAMILY-PLAN AIRLINE FARE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL PURPOSES (AS PER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION) WAS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO BOSTON ON JUNE 30 ( TUESDAY) AND FROM BOSTON TO SAN FRANCISCO ON AUGUST 5 ( WEDNESDAY). YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS WHETHER FAMILY-PLAN AIRLINES FARES SHOULD BE USED FOR CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL PURPOSES SINCE SUCH FARES WERE NOT AVAILABLE ON THE DAYS THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY PERFORMED HIS TRAVEL.

IN OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 15, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. 113, WE HELD, IN PART, THAT, UNLESS A MORE RESTRICTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION HAS BEEN ADOPTED OR UNLESS THE INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL ORDERS LIMIT THE COST COMPARISON TO THE CLASS OF ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED, WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS ON HOME LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES, REIMBURSEMENT IS ALLOWABLE FOR TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST TO ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE BASED UPON THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE--- INCLUDING A FAMILY-PLAN RATE APPLICABLE TO DIRECT TRAVEL TO PLACE OF RESIDENCE WHEN, IN FACT, IT IS THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE AVAILABLE. THAT RULE APPLIES WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY MODES OF TRAVEL OTHER THAN THOSE AUTHORIZED IN TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS AND ALSO WHEN TRAVEL IS TO A PLACE OTHER THAN PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE.

THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IN THIS CASE TRAVELED FROM HONOLULU TO SAN FRANCISCO BY SHIP WHEREAS HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SPECIFIED AIR AS THE MODE OF TRAVEL. IF HE HAD TRAVELED BY THE MODE AUTHORIZED, THE FAMILY PLAN RATE WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FOR HIS TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO BOSTON AS SHOWN BY THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL SCHEDULE. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES HIS REIMBURSEMENT FOR AIR TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS AIR RATE DIRECT FROM HONOLULU TO BOSTON--- INCLUDING THE AVAILABLE FAMILY-PLAN RATE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO BOSTON. ON HIS RETURN TRAVEL HE DEPARTED FOR SAN FRANCISCO PRIOR TO THE TIME REQUIRED FOR DIRECT TRAVEL TO HONOLULU. THE PURPOSE FOR THIS EARLY DEPARTURE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN HIS DESIRE TO USE A PART OF HIS LEAVE IN SAN FRANCISCO AND ON THE WEST COAST. THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL SCHEDULE SHOWS THAT IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD DEPARTED BOSTON AT THE EXPIRATION OF ANNUAL LEAVE THE FAMILY- PLAN RATE WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FOR HIS TRAVEL FROM BOSTON TO SAN FRANCISCO. THEREFORE, ANY EXCESS TRAVEL EXPENSE INCURRED BECAUSE OF THE USE OF ANNUAL LEAVE EN ROUTE TO HONOLULU MUST BE PAID BY THE EMPLOYEE. THE FACT THAT THE FAMILY-PLAN RATE WAS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE DAYS THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY TRAVELED HAS NO BEARING UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE TRAVEL AS STATED ABOVE.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UPON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD.