Fly America Act requirements for federal funds

Oct 4, 2023 | News

The Fly America Act requires that flights purchased with federal funds be flown with a “U.S. flag” air carrier service. One of the benefits of booking in Lightning is that flights that are allowable under the Fly America Act have an icon to indicate they are compliant. 

The icon is a blue shield with a check mark inside and when you hover over the icon, a pop-up appears with the words, “Fly America Act: USCarrier” or “Fly America Act: OpenSkiesAgreement.” 


If you are booking directly with a CTP travel agent via email or phone, you should make it clear when a Fly America Act compliant fight is required.

If a compliant flight cannot be found, the U-M Fly America Act exception form must be filled out and submitted with the airfare transaction on an expense report. Under the Fly America Act, exceptions are allowed when: 

  1.  A U.S. air carrier is not available.
  2. Using a U.S. carrier service would extend the travel time by 24 hours or more.
  3.  A  U.S. carrier does not offer a nonstop or direct flight between origin and destination and using a U.S. carrier:
    • Increases the number of aircraft changes outside the U.S. by two or more
    • Extends travel time by six hours or more
    • Requires a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point
  4. The flight time from origin to destination is less than three hours and using a U.S. flag carrier doubles the flight time.
  5. There is an applicable Open Skies Agreement in effect that meets the requirements of the Fly America Act.

Ticket cost and inconvenience are not valid exceptions to the Fly America Act.

Travelers and Travel Arrangers using federal funds should familiarize themselves with the Fly America Act and are responsible for complying with the act. If you have a question on whether a specific flight can be covered by a particular funding source, please contact Sponsored Programs.

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