The Fly America Act is a federal regulation that requires the use of U.S. flag air carriers for travel paid for or reimbursed by federal grants and contracts.

In accordance with this Act, air transportation must be performed by or under a code-sharing arrangement with a U.S. flag air carrier if service provided by such a carrier is available, regardless of cost, convenience, or destination. Tickets (or documentation for electronic tickets) must identify the U.S. flag air carrier’s designator code and flight number.

Exceptions to the Fly America Act

Travel that is to be reimbursed from federal grants and contracts must be booked through U.S. carriers except in the following circumstances:

  • When the use of U.S. carrier service would extend travel time (including delay at origin) by 24 hours or more;
  • When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government or an international agency;
  • When U.S. carriers do not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination. However, a U.S. carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
    • Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more,
    • Extend travel time by at least six hours or more, or,
    • Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
  • When an Open Skies Agreement is in place -- European Union (EU), Japan, Switzerland, and Australia. Use of a foreign carrier is allowed when transportation is between the U.S. and any point in the agreement member state or between two points outside the U.S. provided that transportation is not funded by Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of a military department.