Air Travel Reimbursement Guidelines

Reimbursement guidelines for flying First/Business Class and Indirect or Interrupted itineraries.

When University travelers choose an indirect or interrupted itinerary or choose to fly first/business class over coach, they will only be reimbursed for the cost of the most direct coach fare. For approval process regarding exceptions, refer to the University policy listed below.

For expense reimbursement purposes, acceptable documentation is an itinerary showing the cost of the most direct coach fare. The itinerary must be printed on the same day the actual ticket is purchased. For people choosing to fly first/business class, the coach fare itinerary must be for the same day and flight(s) as the first/business class fare.

The policy can be viewed at http://policies.ucsf.edu/policy/300-37

300-37 General University Travel

F. Transportation

1. All travelers must utilize the most economical mode of transportation and customary route consistent with the authorized purpose of the trip. Any exception must be approved in advance by the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designate.

Expenses arising from travel between employees’ residence and headquarters (commuting expense) will not be allowed. Mileage may be allowed for official University travel between the travelers’ residences and the common carrier or destinations if the travel originates or terminates before or after their working hours, or if travel originates or terminates during regularly scheduled days off. Otherwise, mileage shall ordinarily be computed between travelers' headquarters and the common carrier or destinations.

a. Indirect or interrupted itineraries

Any extra expense incurred as the result of indirect or interrupted direct travel for personal convenience shall be borne by the traveler. Reimbursement shall be limited to the actual cost incurred, or the charges that would have been incurred, via a usually traveled route. Any resulting excess travel time shall not be considered work time and shall be charged to the appropriate type of leave.

2. Air travel

a. Commercial airlines

Coach class or any discounted class shall be used in the interest of economy regardless of the purpose or fund source.

The use of first-class, premium, or higher-cost services may be authorized under the following circumstances:

1) when first-class service is the only service offered between two locations (in such case, advance approval is unnecessary, but an explanatory statement should be entered on the travel expense voucher);

2) when the use of coach class would adversely affect economy (e.g., when traveling by air coach would require an otherwise unnecessary hotel expense, circuitous routing, or an unduly long layover awaiting connections due to scheduling difficulties);

3) when an itinerary involves overnight travel without opportunity for normal rest before commencement of working hours.

Written authorization to use first-class, premium, or higher-cost services in cases other than those described above must be obtained in advance from the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designate unless precluded by extenuating circumstances. Approval is required before processing of a travel expense voucher for payment. Written authorization must be submitted with the voucher for review and processing by Accounting.

Only U.S. carriers shall be used for travel reimbursed from federal grants and contracts. The use of foreign air carriers is severely restricted (cost is not a factor) under federal regulations. Travel on a foreign air carrier will be approved only if U.S. carriers do not fly to the travel destination or if certain delays are encountered by not traveling on a foreign carrier. Reimbursement may be denied in the absence of such justification.