Fly America Act

All University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) air travel that is funded by the U.S. Government, including grant and contract funds, must comply with the Fly America Act.

The Fly America Act is a law enacted by Title 49 of the United States Code, Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart I, Chapter 401, 40118 - Government-Financed Air Transportation and incorporated into the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143. The Fly America Act requires the use of U.S. flag air carriers, or foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag carrier, for all air travel and cargo transportation services funded by the U.S. Government, unless specific exceptions apply. By law, additional cost for U.S. carrier flights is not sufficient justification for the use of foreign carriers.

Compliant flights

Flights that comply with the Fly America Act will have the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code and flight number on tickets or associated documentation (e.g., boarding pass or e-ticket itinerary for all legs of a trip for which the U.S. carrier flights are available).

Examples of U.S. flag air carrier designator codes
Airline Designator code
Alaska Airlines AS
American Airlines AA
Delta Airlines DL
Frontier Airlines F9
Hawaiian Airlines HA
Jet Blue B6
Southwest Airlines WN
Spirit Airlines NK
United Airlines UA
US Airways US
Virgin America VX

Exceptions to the Fly America Act

Per §301-10.135, U.S. flag air carrier service is required for all air travel funded by the U.S. Government except as provided in §301-10.136 and §301-10.137 or when one of the following exceptions applies:

  1. Use of a foreign air carrier is determined to be a matter of necessity in accordance with §301-10.138; or
  2. The transportation is provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreement to which the United States Government and the government of a foreign country are parties, and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.
    1. Information on bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreements impacting United States Government procured transportation can be accessed through the U.S. General Services Administration - Fly America Act; and
    2. If determined appropriate, GSA may periodically issue FTR Bulletins providing further guidance on bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreements impacting United States Government procured transportation. These bulletins may be accessed through the U.S. General Services Administration - GSA Bulletins.
  3. You are an officer or employee of the Department of State, United States Information Agency, United States International Development Cooperation Agency, or the Arms Control Disarmament Agency, and your travel is paid with funds appropriated to one of these agencies, and your travel is between two places outside the United States; or
  4. No U.S. flag air carrier provides service on a particular leg of the route, in which case foreign air carrier service may be used, but only to or from the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with U.S. flag air carrier service; or
  5. A U.S. flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes your travel on a foreign air carrier; or
  6. Service on a foreign air carrier would be three hours or less, and use of the U.S. flag air carrier would at least double your en route travel time; or
  7. When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government, international agency, or other organization.

Requirement to certify use of a foreign flag air carrier

To document a Fly America exception, you must include the following when submitting your travel reimbursement request:

  1. A completed and signed UNR “Certification of Exception to the Fly America Act” form.
  2. A detailed travel itinerary from a travel agent or online travel service (i.e., Travelocity, Orbitz, or Expedia).
  3. The search results performed at the time of booking from an online travel service that document all available flights and the existence of the Fly America exception identified on the Fly America exception form.

Frequently asked questions

For further information regarding the Fly America Act as well as answers to frequently asked questions, please view the full 41 CFR 301-10.131 through 301-10.143 text. If you have other questions about the Fly America Act, contact You may also contact your post-award grant accountant in Sponsored Projects.

Best practices for foreign travel

  • UNR faculty and staff should consult with their post-award grant accountant in Sponsored Projects prior to making foreign travel arrangements to determine if the Fly America Act is applicable.
  • Travelers are strongly encouraged to work with a travel agent who is familiar with the Fly America Act when booking foreign travel subject to the Act.
  • Principal investigators are responsible for reviewing relevant award terms and conditions for any special requirements applicable to foreign travel.
  • Costs for foreign travel subject to the Fly America Act that do not comply with the Act will be disallowed in whole or in part for reimbursement by the federal award.