Synopsis of U.S. Flag Air Carrier Regulations (FAR 47.4)
U.S. flag air carrier service, to the extent available, shall be used for U.S. Government-financed commercial foreign air travel from the point of origin to the destination or nearest interchange point served by U.S. flag air carriers (some exceptions apply):
Some exceptions, which may allow use of a foreign air carrier service provider:
The entire route or a leg of the route is not served by a U.S. flag air carrier (U.S. flag air carrier service must be used to the extent possible);
A U.S. flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes the traveler by foreign air carrier even though a U.S. flag air carrier may be available;
If use of a U.S. flag air carrier delays departure from the point of origin or accelerates arrival by more than 24 hours (either departure or round trip);
If, after arrival at the first foreign (“gateway”) airport, any connecting leg of the journey will be delayed over six hours in order to use a U.S. flag air carrier (same with return trip.)
The follow reasons will not allow use of a foreign air carrier:
The foreign air carrier costs less than the U.S. flag air carrier;
The foreign air carrier is preferred or more convenient;
The traveler has excess foreign currency that could be used to pay the foreign air carrier.
Please note that some U.S. flag air carriers book flights on foreign air carriers. This is acceptable IF THE TICKET SHOWS A U.S. FLAG AIR CARRIER FLIGHT NUMBER FOR THE TRIP. If you feel that you have an exception situation (see FAR reference, part 4, for full text), it is IMPERATIVE that you contact your Contract Administrator prior to booking the flight. In most cases, exceptions must be approved by the funding agency PRIOR to the trip. A traveler who uses an unapproved foreign air carrier service will most likely have to pay the ticket cost from departmental or PI “3” account funds.