Entitlement to Travel Expense Reimbursement Based on Rest Stop Selection Provision of Fly America Act

B-195463: Dec 26, 1979

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An employee requested reconsideration of a Claims Division decision which disallowed reimbursement of certain travel expenses because they were in violation of the Fly America Act. The employee traveled by foreign air carrier from Lagos, Nigeria, to London, England, and completed travel from London to the United States by a U.S. air carrier. The employee justified her use of foreign air service to London as the shortest and most direct route to include a rest stop. The issue here was the propriety of her rest stop entitlement and her scheduling of travel to permit such a rest stop. Regulations provide that any scheduled flights in excess of 14 hours on a usually traveled route, including stopovers of less than 8 hours, when traveling by less than first-class accommodations, may be interrupted for a rest period of not in excess of 24 hours. Rest stops are not allowed when travel is performed by an indirect route. According to a previous decison, the rest stop in this case was improper in that it resulted in reduced use of U.S. air carrier service available directly from Lagos. However, since proper rest stop selection is a matter of travel administration, GAO has determined that the rest stop principles in that decision need not be applied to travel that occurred prior to the date when that decision was issued. The travel in this case was performed before that date, so that the employee may be reimbursed, without penalty, for the air fare.