B-199417, OCT 10, 1980

B-199417: Oct 10, 1980

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TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PRIOR TO OUR DECISIONS PERMITTING EMPLOYEES TO RETAIN THESE PAYMENTS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. 59 COMP.GEN. 203 (1980). SINCE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AFTER EFFECTIVE DATE OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD REGULATION GOVERNING SUCH PAYMENTS. STOVER - PAYMENT TO EMPLOYEE FOR VOLUNTARILY VACATING SEAT ON OVERBOOKED AIRPLANE: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCED DECISION BY H. STOVER FOR COMPENSATION WHICH WAS PAID TO MR. STOVER WAS ON OFFICIAL DUTY IN CHICAGO. WAS SCHEDULED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN KANSAS CITY. WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE AIRPORT HE WAS TOLD THE FLIGHT WAS OVERBOOKED. SINCE ON EITHER FLIGHT HE WOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT HIS RESIDENCE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF THE DAY.

B-199417, OCT 10, 1980

DIGEST: EMPLOYEE, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, RECEIVED $100 FROM AIRLINE FOR VOLUNTARILY VACATING HIS SEAT ON OVERBOOKED FLIGHT AND TAKING NEXT SCHEDULED FLIGHT. TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PRIOR TO OUR DECISIONS PERMITTING EMPLOYEES TO RETAIN THESE PAYMENTS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES. 59 COMP.GEN. 203 (1980); AND B-196145, JANUARY 14, 1980. SINCE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AFTER EFFECTIVE DATE OF CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD REGULATION GOVERNING SUCH PAYMENTS, EMPLOYEE MAY RETAIN PAYMENT RECEIVED. SEE WILLIAM J. GOURNEY, B-199121, DATED TODAY.

WILLIAM R. STOVER - PAYMENT TO EMPLOYEE FOR VOLUNTARILY VACATING SEAT ON OVERBOOKED AIRPLANE:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCED DECISION BY H. LARRY JORDAN, AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF WILLIAM R. STOVER FOR COMPENSATION WHICH WAS PAID TO MR. STOVER INCIDENT TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHEN HE VOLUNTARILY VACATED HIS SEAT ON AN OVERBOOKED FLIGHT.

MR. STOVER WAS ON OFFICIAL DUTY IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND WAS SCHEDULED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, ON NOVEMBER 28, 1979, ON A FLIGHT DEPARTING AT 4:55 P.M. WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THE AIRPORT HE WAS TOLD THE FLIGHT WAS OVERBOOKED, AND BRANIFF AIRLINES PAID HIM $100 WHEN HE VOLUNTERRED TO TAKE 7:30 P.M. FLIGHT. SINCE ON EITHER FLIGHT HE WOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT HIS RESIDENCE IN THE FOURTH QUARTER OF THE DAY, HE INCURRED NO EXTRA PER DIEM OR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES BY TAKING THE LATER FLIGHT.

ON JANUARY 29, 1980, MR. STOVER SENT A PERSONAL CHECK FOR $100 TO THE NATIONAL FINANCE CENTER OF AGRICULTURE. ON APRIL 23, 1980, MR. STOVER REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $100 CHECK HE HAD SENT TO HIS AGENCY ON THE BASIS OF OUR DECISIONS IN CHARLES E. ARMER, 59 COMP.GEN. 203 (1980), AND EDMUNDO REDE, JR., B-196145, JANUARY 14, 1980. THE CERTIFYING OFFICER QUESTIONS WHETHER THOSE DECISIONS CAN BE APPLIED RETROACTIVELY TO MR. STOVER.

IN ARMER, AN EMPLOYEE RECEIVED A $150 PAYMENT FOR VOLUNTARILY RELINQUISHING HIS SEAT ON A FLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER 14, 1978. WE HELD THAT AIRLINE PAYMENTS TO VOLUNTEERS ARE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM DENIED BOARDING COMPENSATION WHICH IS DUE THE GOVERNMENT. WE ALSO HELD IN ARMER THAT THE EMPLOYEE MAY RETAIN THE PAYMENT RECEIVED AS A VOLUNTEER BUT THAT ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE OFFSET AGAINST SUCH A PAYMENT. SEE ALSO REDE, SUPRA.

IN DETERMINING WHETHER OUR DECISIONS IN ARMER AND REDE APPLY TO TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO OUR DECISIONS, WE HOLD IN WILLIAM J. GOURNEY, B-199121, DATED TODAY, THAT THE RULES ESTABLISHED IN ARMER AND REDE MAY BE APPLIED TO TRAVEL PERFORMED AFTER SEPTEMBER 3, 1978, THE DATE IN WHICH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD PROMULGATED REGULATIONS WHICH ENCOURAGED VOLUNTARY RELINQUISHMENT OF SEATS ON OVERBOOKED FLIGHTS. SINCE MR. STOVER'S TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AFTER SEPTEMBER 3, 1978, WE SEE NO REASON WHY HE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO KEEP THE VOLUNTARY PAYMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, MR. STOVER'S CLAIM FOR THE $100 PAYMENT MAY BE ALLOWED IF OTHERWISE PROPER.