Claim for Reimbursement of Overseas Travel Expenses on Foreign Air Carrier

B-203625: Feb 22, 1982

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A service member appealed the Claims Group's denial of his claim for reimbursement for overseas travel on a foreign air carrier. The issue was whether the member could be reimbursed for travel on a foreign air carrier, in violation of the Fly America Act, because he was ignorant of the Act and did not understand the direction in his travel orders to use U.S. air carriers. The Act states that "the Comptroller General of the United States shall disallow any expenditure from appropriated funds for payment for personnel or cargo transportation in violation of this section in the absence of satisfactory proof of necessity therefor." This provision is mandatory and may not be waived. It was unfortunate that the member did not understand the terminology that he was given nor did he request an explanation of its meaning before he completed his travel arrangements; however, it does not provide a basis for GAO to relieve him from personal liability for a violation of the Act. Accordingly, the Claims Group decision was sustained.