Federal guidelines for sponsored travel ROPPA 2016 airline travel

Data_Info_GraphicIn the case of federally sponsored travel (like NIH), the federal government will only allow reimbursement for cheapest seat economy travel.

Travelers have two choices:

1- Purchase the cheapest seat available and get fully reimbursed.

2- Purchase a nicer seat, be reimbursed for the cheapest comparable fair and then pay the difference out of pocket.

2.a- In the case of purchasing a nicer seat, the traveler must capture a screen shot or scan of a comparable cheapest fair seat within 24 hours of the ticket purchase, and submit the screen shot along with their request.

2- example: I am flying from Boston to San Francisco. I want to upgrade my flight, so I buy an $800 ticket.  I am traveling on June 20 in the morning. Then I must go online and search for the cheapest seat from Boston to San Francisco in the same time zone (any other flight in the morning of June 20). I need to print out the price of the cheapest ticket and provide it to accounts payable. Let’s say the cheapest ticket is $300. Then I file for a $300 reimbursement towards my flight. The other $500 must come from my pocket or another non-federal source.


1- Medical hardship. (Institution should have a doctor’s note on file).

2- If the cheapest seat is not a direct flight *and* if linked cheapest flights prove to be more expensive than a single more expensive flight.

3- Travelers may purchase refundable tickets if there is data showing that these types of trips are often cancelled and that purchasing refundable flights will save money over the course of the project.


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