B-174635, JAN 13, 1972

B-174635: Jan 13, 1972

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ARE ONLY APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE. REIMBURSEMENT OF CLAIMANT'S INDIRECT TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE IS SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED BY FAM 134.2-2. GROSS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 12. THAT ACTION WAS SUSTAINED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION. YOUR POSITION IS THAT THE REGULATIONS IN THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL (FAM). WHICH WERE IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL. WERE UNCLEAR AND CONTRADICTORY AND THAT YOU SHOULD THEREFORE BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE CLAIMED TRAVEL EXPENSES. 6 FAM 134.1 STATES: "134.1 POLICY "IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. THE STANDARDS OUTLINED IN THESE REGULATIONS FOR TRAVEL ON FOREIGN-FLAG AIRLINES ARE PROVIDED. FOR INSTANCES WHEN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINES ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR EFFORTS TO UTILIZE AN AMERICAN -FLAG AIRLINE WOULD RESULT IN EXCESSIVE DELAY.

B-174635, JAN 13, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - REIMBURSEMENT - INDIRECT TRAVEL DECISION AFFIRMING THE DENIAL OF A CLAIM BY ROBERT J. GROSS FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. CLAIMANT ARGUES THAT REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD BE ALLOWED DUE TO THE AMBIGUITY OF REGULATIONS IN THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL (FAM). THE PROVISIONS OF THE FAM, WHICH WOULD ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT IN LIEU OF DELAY, ARE ONLY APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE. REIMBURSEMENT OF CLAIMANT'S INDIRECT TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE IS SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED BY FAM 134.2-2. ACCORDINGLY, THE PREVIOUS DISALLOWANCE OF THIS CLAIM MUST BE AFFIRMED.

TO MR. ROBERT J. GROSS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 12, 1971, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED JUNE 24, 1971, IN DENYING YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION FROM ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 0-61902, DATED OCTOBER 8, 1969, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZED THE CHANGE OF YOUR OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN AUDITING YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHER DEDUCTED AN AMOUNT REPRESENTING THOSE EXPENSES WHICH YOU INCURRED BY VIRTUE OF YOUR HAVING TRAVELED ON A FOREIGN-FLAG AIRLINE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO PARIS, FRANCE. THAT ACTION WAS SUSTAINED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION. YOU NOW RECLAIM SUCH AMOUNT AND STATE THAT DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND YOUR CONTROL (SUCH AS LATE DEPARTING FLIGHTS) YOU MISSED THE PAN AMERICAN FLIGHT FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK, AND INSTEAD OF WAITING AN ADDITIONAL 30 HOURS FOR THE NEXT U.S. CARRIER FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK, YOU CHOSE TO TAKE A U.T.A. FLIGHT TO PARIS, FRANCE. FROM THERE YOU TOOK A U.S. CARRIER TO NEW YORK. YOUR POSITION IS THAT THE REGULATIONS IN THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL (FAM), WHICH WERE IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL, WERE UNCLEAR AND CONTRADICTORY AND THAT YOU SHOULD THEREFORE BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE CLAIMED TRAVEL EXPENSES.

6 FAM 134.1 STATES:

"134.1 POLICY

"IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, AND THE POLICY SET FORTH BY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THAT ALL OFFICIAL AIR TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BE PERFORMED ON AMERICAN-FLAG CARRIERS EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE NECESSITATED BY THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS CONCERNED OR TO AVOID UNREASONABLE DELAY, EXPENSE, OR INCONVENIENCE. THE STANDARDS OUTLINED IN THESE REGULATIONS FOR TRAVEL ON FOREIGN-FLAG AIRLINES ARE PROVIDED, IN GENERAL, FOR INSTANCES WHEN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINES ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR EFFORTS TO UTILIZE AN AMERICAN -FLAG AIRLINE WOULD RESULT IN EXCESSIVE DELAY, COST, OR PERSONAL INCONVENIENCE. FULL CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE INTENT OF THE ABOVE-STATED POLICY BEFORE ARRANGING TRAVEL ON FOREIGN FLAG AIRLINES."

6 FAM 134.3 STATES IN PERTINENT PART:

"134.3 WHEN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINES PROVIDE SERVICE

"WHEN THERE IS REGULARLY SCHEDULED SERVICE BY AN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINE, IT MUST BE USED EXCEPT WHEN:

"B. THE TRAVELER, PROCEEDING VIA A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, WOULD BE DETAINED OVER 6 HOURS AT ANY INTERCHANGE POINT EN ROUTE AWAITING AN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINE; OR"

6 FAM 134.4 STATES IN PERTINENT PART:

"134.4 JUSTIFICATION FOR USE OF FOREIGN FLAG AIRLINE

"WHEN A FOREIGN FLAG AIRLINE IS USED FOR ANY REASON, OTHER THAN INSTANCES WHERE NO AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINES OPERATE BETWEEN ANY TWO POINTS ON A TRAVELER'S ITINERARY, AN APPROVED WRITTEN JUSTIFICATION IS REQUIRED SETTING FORTH THE REASON FOR USING A FOREIGN AIRLINE. FOR STATE AND USIA, A DETERMINATION BY AN AUTHORIZING OFFICER IS REQUIRED. FOR A.I.D., SEE SECTION 121.3-4B.

"THIS JUSTIFICATION, FOLLOWING THE FORMAT SHOWN IN EXHIBIT 134.4, IS TO BE PREPARED IN DUPLICATE. THE ORIGINAL IS TO BE TRANSMITTED BY THE TRAVELER WITH HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER AND A COPY IS TO BE RETAINED BY THE OFFICE MAKING THE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. *** "

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT A JUSTIFICATION REQUIRED BY THE ABOVE SECTION WAS SUBMITTED AND SIGNED BY THE PROPER AUTHORITY WITH REGARD TO YOUR TRAVEL FROM ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, TO MONROVIA, LIBERIA. IT IS TO BE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT NO SUCH CERTIFICATION IS IN THE RECORD PERTAINING TO YOUR TRAVEL FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO PARIS, FRANCE.

UNDER THE FOREGOING-CITED SECTIONS, IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE USE OF A FOREIGN-FLAG AIRLINE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO PARIS, FRANCE, WAS PERMISSIBLE IN ORDER TO AVOID WAITING 30 HOURS FOR AN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK.

WE POINT OUT THAT THE REGULATION PERTAINING TO DELAYS IS APPLICABLE ONLY WHEN TRAVEL IS BY A DIRECT ROUTE. SINCE YOU WERE FOLLOWING AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE SO AS TO ENABLE YOU TO VISIT FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE, BEFORE RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES, THE FOLLOWING REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN 6 FAM 134.2-2 ARE FOR APPLICATION:

"134.2-2 INDIRECT TRAVEL

"WHEN AIR TRAVEL IS PERFORMED VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER, A FOREIGN AIRLINE CAN BE USED ONLY WHEN:

"A. AN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINE DOES NOT PROVIDE SERVICE; AND

"B. TRAVEL BY THE INDIRECT ROUTE DOES NOT RESULT IN GREATER TOTAL USE OF FOREIGN-FLAG SERVICE THAN WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY ON A DIRECT ROUTE. FOR AUDIT PURPOSES, THE PUBLISHED AIRLINE FARES FOR THE FOREIGN CARRIER SEGMENTS ON THE DIRECT ROUTE AND ON THE INDIRECT ROUTE ACTUALLY TRAVELED WILL SERVE AS THE BASIS FOR COMPARISON."

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AN AMERICAN-FLAG AIRLINE WAS AVAILABLE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO NEW YORK. IT FOLLOWS THAT YOUR USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG AIRLINE FROM MONROVIA, LIBERIA, TO PARIS, FRANCE, MUST BE VIEWED AS IN VIOLATION OF THE ABOVE-CITED SECTION. NOWHERE IN THE ABOVE REGULATION IS AN EXCEPTION MADE FOR POTENTIAL TRAVEL DELAYS FOR INDIRECT TRAVEL AS IS MADE IN THE CASE OF DIRECT TRAVEL AS DEMONSTRATED SUPRA.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM IS AFFIRMED.