International travelers must obtain written approval to travel prior to incurring travel expenses at the level required by the college, division, department or granting agency, consistent with UK Business Procedures Manual E-5-1 Reimbursement of Travel Expenses. Following are guidelines that will apply to all official University international travel by faculty and staff:
- All international airline tickets must be purchased through UK Travel Services' AAA Corporate Travel Services, Concur Travel, or Avant Travel.
- All UK-endorsed faculty and staff international travel must be registered in the University’s international travel registry, regardless of funding source. Registration ensures that travelers receive detailed information about the travel medical and quarantine insurance that will cover them during international trips.
- UK faculty and staff who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents (i.e., green card holders) may be subject to additional U.S. immigration review and should consult with UK's office of International Student & Scholar Services before traveling abroad for any purpose.
- UK-endorsed international travel by employees traveling with students, or by students traveling independently, including student employees, such as GAs, RAs, and TAs, is governed by University Administrative Regulation 4:9 and may be restricted depending on the Department of State advisory level in place for the destination country.
Fly America Act
Generally, if a University traveler is traveling on funds provided by the federal government, a U.S. flag air carrier (an airline owned by an American company) must be flown, regardless of cost or convenience. However, there are times which a foreign carrier can be used through airline code sharing, open skies agreements, or time restrictive exceptions.
- Airline Code Sharing: When scheduling international travel that is being paid with federal funds, all flights, where possible, are required to be scheduled on U.S. flag air carriers or on foreign air carriers that code share with a U.S. flag air carrier. Code sharing occurs when two or more airlines "code" the same flight as if it is their own. In other words, a U.S. airline may sell a seat on the plane of a foreign air carrier; this seat is considered the same as one on a plane operated by a U.S. flag carrier. Compliance with the Fly America Act is satisfied when the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code is present on the ticket or documentation for an electronic ticket (passenger receipt). For example: Delta has a code share agreement with Air France to Paris, France. If the boarding pass (flight coupon) or e-ticket identifies a flight as DL ##, then requirements of the Federal Travel Regulations are met, even if the flight is actually on an Air France airplane.
- Exceptions to Fly America with Open Skies Agreement: On October 6, 2010, the United States and European Union (EU) Open Skies Air Transport Agreement was published by the U.S. General Services Administration. It provided full explanation of the multilateral agreement in place so that qualifying travelers whose travel is federally funded may travel on European Union airlines as well as U.S. flag air carriers. There are also Open Skies Agreements with Australia, Switzerland and Japan.
- European Union (EU) - When traveling from the U.S. to a destination serviced by an EU airline, travelers flying on federal grants or sub-awards can fly on either a U.S. carrier or an EU carrier as long as it touches down in an EU nation: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom. Because of their relations with the EU, Norway and Iceland are also included in the agreement.
- U.S. to Australia, U.S. to Switzerland, U.S. to Japan - Travelers flying on federal grants or sub-awards can fly on a foreign carrier only if a point of origin/destination is either the U.S. or Australia, Switzerland, or Japan; and there is no GSA city-pair contract flight between the two points (origin and destination). Even though UK travelers using federal funds cannot actually use GSA city-pair contract airfares, travelers are still required to use a U.S. flag carrier service when a city-pair contract exists. See this website to search city-pair contracts GSA City-Pair Contract Search.
- Exceptions to Fly America without Open Skies Agreement:
- Travel to and from the United States: Passenger service by a U.S. flag air carrier will not be considered available when the travel is between a gateway airport in the United States and a gateway airport abroad, and the gateway airport abroad is: The traveler's origin or destination airport, and the use of U.S. flag air carrier service would extend the time in a travel status, including delay at origin and accelerated arrival at destination, by at least 24 hours more than travel by foreign air carrier. Gateway Airport in the United States - the last airport in the U.S. from which the traveler's flight departs, or the first airport in the U.S. at which the traveler's flight arrives. Gateway Airport Abroad – airport abroad from which the traveler's flight last departs enroute to the U.S., or at which the traveler's flight first arrives from the U.S.
- Travel Between Two Points Outside the United States: For travel between two points outside the United States, U.S. flag air carrier service will not be considered to be reasonably available:
- if travel by a foreign air carrier would eliminate two or more aircraft changes en route; or
- if one of the two points abroad is the gateway airport en route to or from the United States, and the U.S. flag air carrier would extend the time in travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier; or
- if travel is not part of a trip to or from the United States, and the use of a U.S. flag air carrier would extend the time in travel status by at least 6 hours more than travel by a foreign air carrier.
- Short Distance Travel: For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, U.S. flag air carrier service will not be considered available when the travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport by foreign air carrier is 3 hours or less and service by U.S. flag air carrier would involve twice the travel time.