B-163216, JAN. 25, 1968

B-163216: Jan 25, 1968

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TRAVELED BY CIRCUITIOUS ROUTE FOR PERSONAL REASONS ON COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE AT REDUCED STANDBY RATES MAY HAVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BASED ON JET COACH RATE USED IN COMPUTATION OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST RATHER THAN STANDBY RATE SINCE THE REFERENCE TO THE USE OF THE LEAST COSTLY AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION IS CONSTRUED AS APPLYING TO AIR. THEREFORE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE IS BASED ON JET COACH FARE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL. THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL FROM DENVER. SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR AT REDUCED STANDBY RATES TOTALING $43.05. YOU REPORT THAT THE JET COACH FARE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL FROM DENVER TO ALBUQUERQUE IS $32.75 AND THAT THE STANDBY RATE FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS $20.

B-163216, JAN. 25, 1968

TRAVEL EXPENSES - AIRPLANE - CONSTRUCTIVE COST DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER OF FOREST SERVICE, DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE, CONCERNING METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR TRAVEL. EMPLOYEE WHO, UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS REQUIRING THE USE OF THE LEAST COSTLY AIRPLANE ACCOMMODATIONS, TRAVELED BY CIRCUITIOUS ROUTE FOR PERSONAL REASONS ON COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE AT REDUCED STANDBY RATES MAY HAVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BASED ON JET COACH RATE USED IN COMPUTATION OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST RATHER THAN STANDBY RATE SINCE THE REFERENCE TO THE USE OF THE LEAST COSTLY AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION IS CONSTRUED AS APPLYING TO AIR, COACH, AIR TOURIST, OR SIMILAR ACCOMMODATIONS. THEREFORE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE IS BASED ON JET COACH FARE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL.

TO MR. GEORGE D. BREITMEIER:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 14, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 6540, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR TRAVEL ON A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. RONALD D. BALLANCE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED OCTOBER 5, 1967, THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO AND RETURN. THE TRAVEL ORDER PROVIDED THAT THE LEAST COSTLY AIRPLANE ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE WOULD BE USED BY THE TRAVELER.

FOR PERSONAL REASONS THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED FROM DENVER TO ALBUQUERQUE VIA PHOENIX, ARIZONA. SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR AT REDUCED STANDBY RATES TOTALING $43.05.

YOU REPORT THAT THE JET COACH FARE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL FROM DENVER TO ALBUQUERQUE IS $32.75 AND THAT THE STANDBY RATE FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS $20. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE PROCURED ACCOMMODATIONS AT STANDBY RATES FOR THE INDIRECT TRAVEL, YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL FROM DENVER TO ALBUQUERQUE SHOULD BE BASED ON THE STANDBY RATE OF $20 OR THE JET COACH RATE OF $32.75.

AS A MATTER OF POLICY, SECTION 3.6C (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT:

"* * * PERSONS WHO USE COMMERCIAL AIR CARRIERS FOR TRANSPORTATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS SHOULD USE LESS-THAN-FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS, INSTEAD OF THOSE DESIGNATED -FIRST-CLASS.- * * *"

APPARENTLY, THE REFERENCE IN THE TRAVEL ORDER TO THE USE OF THE LEAST COSTLY AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION WAS IN FURTHERANCE OF THAT POLICY. HOWEVER, OUR VIEW IS THAT SUCH REFERENCE WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO AIR COACH, AIR TOURIST OR SIMILAR ACCOMMODATIONS. THIS SEEMS REASONABLE SINCE PRESUMABLY MR. BALLANCE TOOK ANNUAL LEAVE PRIOR TO THE REPORTING DATE OF HIS TEMPORARY DUTY AT ALBUQUERQUE IN ORDER TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE STANDBY RATE. THEREFORE, UNLESS YOUR AGENCY HAS ADOPTED A MORE RESTRICTIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION, THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT ALLOWABLE IN THIS CASE SHOULD BE BASED UPON THE JET COACH FARE(APPARENTLY NO CHEAPER TOURIST FARE AVAILABLE) FOR DIRECT TRAVEL FROM DENVER TO ALBUQUERQUE. SEE 37 COMP. GEN. 113.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.