[Claim for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses]

B-216921: Apr 2, 1985

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An employee of the Forest Service requested reimbursement for travel expenses incurred when he purchased airline tickets in excess of $100 with personal funds from a travel agent contrary to Federal Travel Regulations which state that tickets should be purchased with a government transportation request (GTR). The employee's wife, also a government employee, purchased the tickets from a travel agent who was under contract with the General Services Administration (GSA). Since the Code of Federal Regulations authorizes GSA to contract with commercial travel agents to serve federal agencies in certain locations, the use of the particular travel agent did not violate the prohibition. GAO has held that, except for in emergency situations, where an employee fails to use a GTR to purchase tickets in excess of $100, reimbursement is limited to the cost of the lower special government fare that would have been available through a GTR. Accordingly, the employee may be reimbursed up to the amount he paid, but not to exceed the cost of transportation had it been procured directly with a GTR.