Fly America Act

NIH Foreign Grantees are required to use a U.S. Flag Carriers for flights into and out of the US. This requirement does not provide an exemption on the bases of cost or convenience.

A “U.S. Flag Carrier” is defined as an air carrier that holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102.  Please contact your airline or travel agent to confirm whether your airline is a “U.S. Flag Carrier”

There are a few incidences when Foreign Grantees are NOT required to follow the Fly America requirements.

1)        NIH funded travel may take place on foreign flag carriers who are covered by the Open Skies Agreement between the US Government and European Union.  Foreign carriers may be used for flights inside the U.S., U.S. to Europe, U.S. to other foreign countries.  Please confirm that your air carrier meets this requirement prior to booking.

2)        If a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from your origin to your destination, you must use the U.S. flag air carrier service unless doing so would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more.

3)        If a U.S. flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) between your origin and your destination, you must use a U.S. flag air carrier on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, doing so would:

  • Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside of the U.S. by two or more; or
  • Extend your travel time by at least six hours or more; or
  • Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

4)        For all short distance travel, regardless of origin and destination, use of a foreign-flag air carrier is permissible if the elapsed travel time on a scheduled flight from origin to destination airport is three hours or less and service by a U.S.flag air carrier would double the travel time.

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