Using Premium Class Fares for Official Government Travel

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» Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Airlines | 0 comments

The Government traveler needs to be conscientious in arranging for travel accommodations.  I compile the data for our agency’s Use of Premium Class Travel Report.  In reviewing the data provided by our Travel Management Center and speaking with the travelers, I find that several travelers are not aware when a portion of their airfare is classified as premium-class.  Sometimes the fares are automatically upgraded by the airline for one segment of a trip.  An upgrade in classification for this purpose is not an acceptable justification unless a qualifying circumstance also exists and the agency specifically approves this use in advance.

The traveler on official Government business is required to use coach-class or economy-class accommodations for transportation.  Premium-class accommodations are permitted only when specifically authorized in advance and when in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulations §301-10.123 and §301-10.124.  In general, the agency may approve use of premium-class accommodations when one of the following conditions exist:

First-Class Accommodations

  • No other reasonably available accommodations
  • Disability/Special need with medical certification
  • Security for exceptional circumstances
  • Agency mission

Business-Class Accommodations

  • Only premium-class available for regularly scheduled flight
  • Coach class not available for urgent mission
  • Disability/Special need with medical certification
  • Security for exceptional circumstances
  • Inadequate foreign coach-class carrier accommodations
  • Overall savings to the Government
  • Transportation paid in full by non-federal source
  • Scheduled flight time exceeds 14 hours for Foreign travel
  • Agency mission

The traveler may upgrade to premium-class at his personal expense or through redemption of frequent flyer benefits without approval.

The traveler and the approving official are required to conduct travel responsibly and in a cost efficient manner.  If the traveler uses premium-class accommodations and fails to obtain specific prior approval or meet the restrictions defined in the Federal Travel Regulations §301-10.123 and §301-10.124, he will be required to pay the difference between the coach-class and the premium-class fare.  Abuse in the use of premium class travel could result in disciplinary actions, if warranted.

By Regina Potter

The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.

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