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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 41Subtitle FChapter 301Subchapter BPart 301-10Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 41: Public Contracts and Property Management
PART 301-10—TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES
Subpart B—Common Carrier Transportation


Airline Accommodations

§301-10.121   What classes of airline accommodations are available?

Airlines are constantly updating their offerings. However, for the purposes of this regulation, the classes of available air accommodations are identified and defined as follows:

(a) Coach-class. The basic class of accommodation by airlines that is normally the lowest fare offered regardless of airline terminology used. For reference purposes only, coach-class may also be referred to by airlines as “tourist class,” “economy class,” or as “single class” when the airline offers only one class of accommodations to all travelers.

(b) Other than coach-class. Any class of accommodations above coach-class, e.g., first-class or business-class.

(1) First-class. The highest class of accommodation offered by the airlines in terms of cost and amenities. This is generally termed “first-class” by airlines and reservation systems.

(2) Business-class. A class of accommodation offered by airlines that is higher than coach and lower than first-class, in both cost and amenities. This class of accommodation is generally referred to as “business, business elite, business first, world business, connoisseur, or envoy” depending on the airline.

Note to §301-10.121: If an airline flight has only two classes of accommodations available, i.e., two “cabins”, with two distinctly different seating types (such as girth and pitch) and the front cabin is termed “business-class” or higher by the airline and the tickets are fare-coded as business-class, then the front of the cabin is deemed to be other than coach-class. Alternatively, if an airline flight has only two cabins available but equips both with one type of seating, (i.e., seating girth and pitch are the same in both cabins), and the seats in the front of the airplane are fare coded as full-fare economy class, and only restricted economy fares are available in the back of the aircraft, then the entire aircraft is to be classified as coach-class seating. In this second situation, qualifying for other than coach-class travel is not required to purchase a non-restricted economy fare seat in the front of the aircraft as the entire aircraft is considered “coach-class.”

[FTR Amdt. 2009-06, 74 FR 55147, Oct. 27, 2009]

§301-10.122   What class of airline accommodations must I use?

For official business travel, both domestic and international, you must use coach-class accommodations, except as provided under §§301-10.123 and 301-10.124.

§301-10.123   When may I use other than coach-class airline accommodations?

Government travelers are required to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business when making official travel arrangements, and therefore, should consider the least expensive class of travel that meets their needs. You may use the lowest other than coach-class airline accommodations only when your agency specifically authorizes/approves such use as specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(a) Your agency may authorize/approve first class accommodations if any of the following apply:

(1) No coach-class accommodations are reasonably available. “Reasonably available” means available on an airline that is scheduled to leave within 24 hours of your proposed departure time, or scheduled to arrive within 24 hours of your proposed arrival time;

(2) When use of other than coach-class is necessary to accommodate a medical disability or other special need.

(i) A disability must be certified annually in a written statement by a competent medical authority. However, if the disability is a lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is required. Certification statements must include at a minimum:

(A) A written statement by a competent medical authority stating that special accommodation is necessary;

(B) An approximate duration of the special accommodation; and

(C) A recommendation as to the suitable class of transportation accommodations based on the disability.

(ii) A special need must be certified annually in writing according to your agency's procedures. However, if the special need is a lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is required;

(iii) If you are authorized under §301-13.3(a) of this Subchapter to have an attendant accompany you, your agency may also authorize the attendant to use other than coach-class accommodations if you require the attendant's services en route;

(3) When exceptional security circumstances require other than coach-class airline accommodations. Exceptional security circumstances are determined by your agency and should only be authorized up to the minimum other than coach-class accommodation necessary. These circumstances include, but are not limited to:

(i) Use of coach-class accommodations would endanger your life or Government property;

(ii) You are an agent on protective detail and you are accompanying an individual authorized to use other than coach-class accommodations; or

(iii) You are a courier or control officer accompanying controlled pouches or packages;

(4) When required because of agency mission, consistent with your agency's internal procedures pursuant to §301-70.102(i).

(b) Your agency may authorize/approve business-class accommodations if any of the following apply:

(1) When use of other than coach-class is necessary to accommodate a medical disability or other special need.

(i) A disability must be certified annually in a written statement by a competent medical authority. However, if the disability is a lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is required. Certification statements must include at a minimum:

(A) A written statement by a competent medical authority stating that special accommodation is necessary;

(B) An approximate duration of the special accommodation; and

(C) A recommendation as to the suitable class of transportation accommodations based on the disability.

(ii) A special need must be certified annually in writing according to your agency's procedures. However, if the special need is a lifelong condition, then a one-time certification statement is required;

(iii) If you are authorized under §301-13.3(a) of this Subchapter to have an attendant accompany you, your agency may also authorize the attendant to use other than coach-class accommodations if you require the attendant's services en route;

(2) When exceptional security circumstances require other than coach-class airline accommodations. Exceptional security circumstances are determined by your agency and should only be authorized to the minimum other than coach-class accommodation necessary to meet the agency's mission. These circumstances include, but are not limited to:

(i) Use of coach-class accommodations would endanger your life or Government property;

(ii) You are an agent on protective detail and you are accompanying an individual authorized to use other than coach-class accommodations; or

(iii) You are a courier or control officer accompanying controlled pouches or packages;

(3) Coach-class accommodations on an authorized/approved foreign air carrier do not provide adequate sanitation or health standards;

(4) Regularly scheduled flights between origin/destination points (including connecting points) provide only other than coach-class accommodations and you certify such on your voucher;

(5) Your transportation costs are paid in full through agency acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source in accordance with Chapter 304 of this Title;

(6) Where the origin and/or destination are OCONUS, and the scheduled flight time, including stopovers and change of planes, is in excess of 14 hours, in accordance with §301-10.125;

(7) The use results in an overall cost savings to the Government by avoiding additional subsistence costs, overtime, or lost productive time while awaiting coach-class accommodations;

(8) No space is available in coach-class accommodations in time to accomplish the mission, which is urgent and cannot be postponed; or

(9) When required because of agency mission, consistent with your agency's internal procedures pursuant to §301-70.102(i).

Note 1 to §301-10.123: You may upgrade to other than coach-class accommodations at your personal expense, including through redemption of frequent flyer benefits.

Note 2 to §301-10.123: Blanket authorization of other than coach-class transportation accommodations is prohibited and shall be authorized on an individual trip-by-trip basis, unless the traveler has an up-to-date documented disability or special need.

[FTR Amdt. 2009-06, 74 FR 55147, Oct. 27, 2009]

§301-10.124   What are coach-class Seating Upgrade Programs?

Sometimes these programs are called “Coach Elite,” “Coach Plus,” “Preferred Coach” or some other identifier. Under these airline programs, a passenger may obtain for a fee a more desirable seat choice within the coach-class cabin. These airline upgrade or preferred seat choices are generally available for an annual fee, at an airport kiosk or gate or as a frequent flier perk. These coach upgrade options are not considered a new or higher class of accommodation since the seating is still in the coach cabin. However, the use of these upgraded/preferred coach seating options is generally a traveler's personal choice and therefore is at the traveler's personal expense. An agency travel authorization approving official or his/her designee (e.g., supervisor of the traveler) may authorize and reimburse the additional seat choice fee according to internal agency policy (see 301-70.102(k)).

[FTR Amdt. 2009-06, 74 FR 55148, Oct. 27, 2009, as amended by FTR Amdt. 2010-07, 75 FR 72967, Nov. 29, 2010]

§301-10.125   When may I use the 14-hour rule to travel other than coach-class (see §301-10.123(b)(6))?

(a) You may use the 14-hour rule to travel via other than coach-class when:

(1) The origin and/or destination are OCONUS; and

(2) The scheduled flight time, including non-overnight stopovers and change of planes, is in excess of 14 hours; and

(3) You are required to report to duty the following day or sooner.

(b) Scheduled flight time is the flight time between the originating departure point and the ultimate arrival point including scheduled non-overnight time spent at airports during plane changes. Scheduled non-overnight time does not include time spent at the originating or ultimate arrival airports.

(c) If other than coach-class accommodation is authorized based on the 14-hour rule then you will not be eligible for a rest stop en route or a rest period upon arrival at your duty site, in accordance with internal agency procedures pursuant to §301-70.102(j).

[FTR Amdt. 2009-06, 74 FR 55148, Oct. 27, 2009]

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