The Comptroller of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) requested an advance decision concerning the propriety of paying claims of various airlines for travel services furnished pursuant to unauthorized and illegal use of Government transportation requests (GTR). He asked if carriers have a claim against the Government for services rendered pursuant to unauthorized GTR's, and if not, does the Government have a claim against the carriers for charges paid on such unauthorized GTR travel. GAO held that a carrier, which in good faith and without negligence furnished transportation on request or by other contractual arrangements, is entitled to payment although the transportation was unauthorized. Also, the underlying pecuniary liability for the unauthorized use will be the responsibility of the Government if the forgery is untraceable. The custodians are free of liability, and the carrier has exercised the acceptable degree of procedural safeguard. All of the GTR's submitted to GAO were complete and valid on their face. The carriers were therefore entitled to payment for the services rendered even though the GTR's were fraudulently issued. One GTR was apparently signed by the same party both as issuing officer and as traveler. Since only a Government employee would be authorized to sign in both capacities, the carrier should have required that an official identification card be submitted. One GTR did not have the type of service entered on the copy of the GTR; this GTR was incomplete on its face and should not have been honored by the airline. One GTR was originally made out for transportation on one airline. That airline was struck out and another substituted. Since the change was not initialed by the issuing officer, payment should not have been made for the service. With these exceptions, the carriers had valid claims against the Government for unauthorized GTR travel. The Government did not have a claim for amounts already paid.
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