Fly America Act Policy

Policy number17-04.5
Responsible officeResearch
Enforcement officialAssociate Vice President for Research
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category17. Research and Intellectual Property

Statement of policy

The purpose of this policy is to comply with Federal Fly America Act.

Summary of contents/major changes

Moved policy to template. Technical changes.

1. Purpose of Policy

The purpose of this policy is to comply with Federal travel regulations that require U.S. carriers be used for travel that is to be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts.

2. Stakeholders Most Impacted by the Policy 

This policy applies to all Principle Investigator(s) (PI) engaged in research, projects, or activities conducted under the auspices of Western Michigan University, whether the activities are conducted on or off campus.

3. Key Definitions 


4. Full Policy Details 

4.1 Compliance: Compliance with the Fly America Act is the responsibility of each department. Before making arrangements for air travel for Western Michigan University business, find out about the funding type and, if applicable, ensure the booking is in accordance with the Act.

4.2 Exceptions: Travel that is to be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts does not have to be booked through U.S. carriers in the following circumstances:

    •  4.2.1. When the use of U.S. carrier service would extend travel time (including delay at origin) by 24 hours or more;
    • 4.2.2. When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government or an international agency; or
    • 4.2.3. When U.S. carriers do not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination. However, a U.S. carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
      • Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more.
      • Extend travel time by six hours or more.
      • Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

When one or more of the above circumstances apply, PIs must complete a Fly America Waiver Form prior to booking the travel with an explanation indicating the appropriate exception. (See item 6 in policy for link.)

4.3 Foreign Air Carriers: Code-sharing agreements with foreign air carriers, whereby American carriers purchase or have the right to sell a block of tickets on a foreign carrier, must comply with the Fly America Act Regulations. The ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, must identify the U.S. carrier's designator code and flight number. 

Note: Some funding sources may not recognize code-sharing as compliant with the Fly America Act regulations. When funding source policy is more restrictive than WMU travel policy, the more restrictive policy applies.

5. Accountability 

Any disallowed cost will be borne by the requesting PI member’s primary department(s).

Additional consequences for non-compliance include possible individual discipline for failure to follow applicable University policies and requirements.

6. Relate Procedures and Guidelines 

The Fly America Waiver form may be found at

7. Additional Information 


8. FAQs 



Effective date of current versionOctober 1, 2019
Date first adoptedJanuary 1, 2010
Proposed date of next reviewOctober 1, 2022


Certified by

Director of Grants and Contracts 

At the direction of

Vice President for Research