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GAO was asked whether a service member on emergency leave, who was not informed prior to departure that he could be authorized government transportation in connection with his leave and who obtained transportation at his own expense, could be reimbursed for his purchase of an airline ticket when his travel was performed prior to the issuance of leave orders. Joint Travel Regulations provide that: (1) military members are entitled to travel allowances only while in travel status while performing travel away from their permanent duty station on public business pursuant to competent travel orders; (2) expenses incurred during periods of travel under orders not involving public business are not payable by the government; and (3) an order permitting a member to travel does not entitle him to expenses of travel. GAO has held that travel performed because of leave is considered as performed for personal reasons rather than on public business. Therefore, the Army member, who was prevented from using government aircraft for travel on emergency leave because his orders were incorrectly issued, could not be reimbursed the cost he paid for commercial travel.

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