Air Transportation

Policy No: 
6.6
Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Last Revised: 
September 2012
Review Date: 
September 2015
Policy Owner: 
Accounts Payable
Contact Name: 
Abbie Coker
Contact Title: 
Director of Accounts Payable & Travel
Contact Email: 
abbie.coker@business.gatech.edu
Policy Statement: 

Employees traveling on official business should obtain airfares that result in the lowest cost to the Institute consistent with their scheduling requirements.

Procedures: 

Airline Contracts
GT has special contract rates with Delta and AirTran/Southwest Airlines. These special rates can only be accessed via the web booking tool, Concur, or by contacting Travel Incorporated at 770-291-5190.The special contract rates may be used by employees traveling on official state business. Independent contractors and non-employee students, guests, and visitors may use the contract if they are traveling on Institute business.

Restrictions on Class
Reimbursement is limited to coach fare unless:

  1. There is no other space available on the needed flight (supporting documentation from a travel agency must be included with the travel reimbursement request).
  2. A licensed medical practitioner certifies that because of a person's mental or physical condition, specific air travel arrangements are required. It is the responsibility of institution officials to obtain necessary medical certifications for any employee that requires special air travel arrangements due to a medical condition. Information should also be obtained specifying the expected length of time such condition would have an impact on travel needs. Supporting documentation must be retained within the department.
  3. The Commissioner of Public Safety certifies that specific air travel arrangements are necessary for security reasons.
  4. Overseas foreign travel- with appropriate approval and funding; see First/Business Class- Foreign Travel section below.

These exceptions should be approved in advance on the TA and noted in the “comments” section of the expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel and Expense System.

If free upgrades/frequent flier miles are used for an upgrade, this should be noted in the “comments” section of the expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System.

Airline Frequent Flyer Programs
Traveling employees may retain frequent flyer program benefits. However, participation in these programs must not influence flight selection which would result in incremental cost to the Institute beyond the lowest available airfare, as defined in this policy.

First / Business Class Airfare - Foreign Travel
State regulations now allow reimbursement of first class or business class airfare using state funds. In certain circumstances, Georgia Tech Foundation funds, Georgia Tech Research Corporation funds or sponsored funds may permit reimbursement or direct payment of business class airfare for International travel that does not meet the 10-hour requirement for State funds.
Georgia Tech will allow the use of state funds for international flights where the portion of the flight that is non-stop exceeds 10 hours.

  • Pre-trip approval for the additional expense is required via the Travel Authority.
  • This does not include any time spent between flights during a connection.

GTRI is required to adhere to Federal Travel Regulations which prohibit Business class airfares for trips less than 14 hrs, Please consult your unit Business Officer to determine if your project or funds source will allow business class travel.

Detail regarding the anticipated flight length should be included in the detailed description field on the TA. Written approval from the sponsor should be included when submitting the expense report.

GT Foundation
Business class airfare for international flights that are pre-approved by the appropriate unit officer in accordance with Georgia Tech travel authorization policy may be processed through the Institute (Accounts Payable) from Foundation funds available to the school or department. The expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System is used for reimbursement with appropriate receipts and approvals. Direct billing is available through Travel Incorporated.

Direct reimbursement from GTF funds through the GT Foundation will only be allowed and approved in exceptional circumstances, and must be approved by the President, Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance, or Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

GTRC
Business class airfare for international flights that are pre-approved by the appropriate unit officer in accordance with Georgia Tech travel authorization policy may be processed directly through the Institute (Accounts Payable) using GTRC sponsored projects that specially permit the use of business class airfare for international travel. Awards sponsored by federal or state entities or pass through funds from these entities rarely permit travel expenses that are not in accordance with institutional policy and therefore cannot be used to support this type of expense. The expense report should be used for reimbursement with appropriate receipts and signed approvals. Direct billing is available through Travel Incorporated.

Payment of Airfare
Travel expenses are reimbursed upon completion of the trip and submittal of properly documented and approved expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System. Airfare can be direct billed to the Institute through the existing program with Travel Incorporated. In either case, an itinerary showing the dates of travel, seat assignment and form of payment, including purchase price must be presented when submitting an expense report in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System.

Airfare reimbursements involving study abroad, student group travel and extended research/employment assignments may be reimbursed prior to the trip under certain circumstances. Requests to be reimbursed prior to the trip must include the following documentation:

  • Explanation for using a travel agency other than Travel Incorporated; and/or
  • Price quotes from Travel Incorporated and the travel agency from which the tickets were purchased.

Direct Billing of Airfare for Employees
The Institute has entered into an agreement with Travel Incorporated to arrange for the prepayment of air travel for faculty and staff. Contact the Travel Incorporated team assigned to GT traveler’s at (770) 291-5190. Travelers may also utilize the web booking tool, Concur, to direct bill airfare.

Approval to direct bill must be obtained prior to ordering any airline ticket, either through Travel Incorporated or Concur.

A copy of the Approval for Direct Billing Form should be faxed to Accounts Payable at 404-385-3305. The Approval for Direct Billing Form may be found on the Business Services Travel Forms bank at: http://www.procurement.gatech.edu/travel_forms.php

The following information must be provided at the time the ticket is ordered:

  • Ten digit campus reference number
  • PeopleSoft project account to charge
  • Employee ID number
  • Business purpose of trip

Direct Billing of Airfare for Students / Visitors
The Institute has entered into an agreement with Travel Incorporated for the prepayment of air travel for official guests, visitors, students, and independent contractors. Contact Travel Incorporated by phone at (770) 291-5190 or by fax at (770) 291-5175.

Approval to travel must be obtained prior to ordering any airline ticket.

Refunds
Refunds for airline tickets must not be accepted by employees unless they have personally paid for the tickets. Refunds for tickets issued by Travel Incorporated and charged to the Institute must be refunded directly to Georgia Tech by Travel Incorporated via the direct bill. A credit will be applied to the original project used to purchase the ticket. If a sponsor reimburses the traveler for an airline ticket, after the traveler has been reimbursed by GT, the traveler must write a personal check (made payable to GT) in the amount of the ticket reimbursement and send it along with a copy of the expense report summary sheet in the TechWorks Employee Travel & Expense System to Accounts Payable, Mail Code 0253. AP will deposit the funds back into the appropriate project.

Private Aircraft
The use of aircraft owned, rented, or operated by a traveler on Institute business is strongly discouraged. If it is determined that the use of this type of aircraft is advantageous to the Institute, an explanation must be noted in the comments section of the expense report. The use of private aircraft is subject to prior approval by the Dean, Director, or Department Head and must be specifically noted on the Travel Authorization Form. In the comments section of the Employee Travel Expense Report the employee should add the following comment “traveled by private aircraft; registration number NXXXX; mileage calculated from the official highway map”.

Transportation expenses for the use of private aircraft will be at the mileage reimbursement rate determined by the U. S General Services Administration (GSA). Mileage rates are only changed upon notification from the State Accounting Office/Office of Planning and Budgets. New rates are not applied based solely on GSA updates.

Lodging and meal expenses en route will not be reimbursed if the expenses are a direct result of the decision to take a personal aircraft, rather than commercial aircraft.

If a traveler opts to use a personal aircraft when use of commercial aircraft would be the most economical and advantageous for the Institute, the traveler will be reimbursed up to the value of the commercial airfare (lowest coach fare) as quoted by Georgia Tech’s contracted travel agency, Travel Incorporated.

Transaction Fees / Service Fees
The transaction or service fees associated with booking airfare are authorized items for travel reimbursement. Additionally, baggage fees, change fees, etc. associated with official business are reimbursable.

Fly America Act
All federally funded travel must comply with the U.S. “Fly America Act” (49 U.S.C. 40118). The Fly America Act mandates the use of U.S. flag carriers for federally funded international travel to / from the United States. This includes United States federal employees, their dependents, consultant, contractors, and others. See Section 6.17 Foreign Travel for additional information regarding the Fly America Act.

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