Air Travel

Economy/coach class airline tickets should be purchased aboard a regularly scheduled commercial carrier. While some restrictions or penalties may apply, reservations made 14 days or more in advance of the trip secure the lowest fares. For all travel (except for travel on a government grant):

  • Carrier selection should be influenced by price (and not by the traveler’s frequent flyer affiliation or other personal considerations)
  • Travel on a US air carrier is preferred, but not required

Government sponsored grants require the traveler to fly on a US owned airline (Fly America Act).  See the Fly America Act Policy page for further details.


First or Business Class Travel

The University expects that the majority of air travel will be at the lowest available fare.  In addition, the majority of University research grants only allow for travel in coach or economy class. Travelers may travel in business class as an exception (or first class if business class service is not offered on the flight) only if:

  • Flight has a scheduled in air flying time in excess of five hours.
  • Documented medical condition requires it.

The traveler must obtain Supplemental Approval for the use of first or business class to obtain approval of the exception request.  First or business class airfare can only be charged to a government grant in cases where the grant explicitly allows such expenses.  In all cases, the amount above economy fare must be segregated to an appropriate ARC account. The cost of the lowest available airfare should be obtained by the traveler at time of purchase.

If a traveler elects to fly in business or first class on a flight of less than five hours duration or if they fail to obtain Supplemental Approval, they will be reimbursed only for an amount equivalent to a coach airfare.  The cost of the lowest available airfare should be obtained by the traveler at time of purchase.


Other Air Travel

Travel by non-commercial means (i.e. corporate jets, helicopter) is not allowed.


Receipts Required for Air Travel

The original passenger ticket/receipt, boarding pass, e-ticket or website statement or confirmation, or itinerary issued by a travel agent, must include:

  • Dates and points of departure and arrival
  • Travel “class” (unless there is only one class on the airline, like Jet Blue)
  • Total amount of the flight
  • Proof of payment


A traveler can be reimbursed in advance of a flight for an airline ticket. To seek reimbursement prior to travel, the traveler must purchase the ticket at least 14 days prior to an approved trip and submit proof of payment, a copy of the ticket or itinerary, along with the valid business reason. The “travel end” date on the Travel and Business Expense report should reflect the return date of the trip.