Common Carrier Fares: Air, Taxi, Rail, Bus

Transportation expenses incurred while traveling on official business may be paid/reimbursed. Personal expenses, such as an employee’s personal vehicle repair and maintenance, may not. The following expenses may be reimbursed or paid directly (per policy guidelines):

  • Common carrier fare
  • Rental vehicle charges
  • Private-vehicle mileage allowance
  • Taxi or shuttle service fare (including gratuity)
  • Parking and garage fees

Transportation by common carrier (e.g., airline, railroad, bus) is recommended when it is more appropriate and economical than travel by state or private vehicle. Common carriers are usually preferred for out-of-state travel. Actual cost is paid/reimbursed for airline, railroad, and bus fares for travel. See TRAVEL-EXPENSE PAYMENT (above) for specific Policy guidance related to airline travel.

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[1] Airlines

All employees are encouraged to travel using routes, schedules, and airlines that provide the most cost-effective, efficient travel that meets the business purpose. Economy Plus and/or Business Class airfare are authorized for international flights where the elapsed time in-the-air for any single segment/leg/portion of the overall flight is eight hours or greater. First Class airfare is not authorized.

Air travel paid from federal funds must conform to the Fly America Act. 

Procedures for Air travel 

Purchasing Airfare

Changes in UO Travel Guidelines - March 2018

ATTENTION:  If you are considering purchasing a seat upgrade for international travel (elasped flight time of 8 hours or greater) when traveling on federal grant funds, be sure to check grant rules for any restrictions prior to purchase.

Travelers and travel coordinators must seek pre-travel approval by submitting a Concur Request with an approximate itinerary and travel cost for budgetary and programmatic approval.  The Concur Request may be submitted via computer or Concur mobile app.  An approved Concur Request will launch the Concur Travel booking tool, populate the Concur Expense report to provide a placeholder for incoming receipts, and provides location information in Concur Locate, used by UO Risk and Safety for duty of care in case of health, weather, or other emergent situations.

Travelers and travel coordinators will book air travel using Concur Travel (the online booking tool) or directly through their preferred university travel management company (TMC).  Concur Travel and TMC bookings take advantage of university-negotiated discounts, limit the unintended purchase of basic economy fares (no-frills, unchangeable, non-refundable tickets), and ensure compliance with the Fly America Act (required for travel paid by federal grants).  Any exception to book outside UO's managed travel program must be based on a compelling business reason and must be pre-approved.

Travel should be based on the most cost effective, efficient travel, while traveling on official business. This is generally one day before and one day after the dates of the conference/meeting/business.  Direct route (official work location airport) is not required.

Seat assignment charges are reimbursable within the allowable class of service.  Domestic class of service seat upgrades are not reimbursed.

Direct Travel - UofO Travel Portal (Dedicated Travel Desk Contacts)
Direct Travel (UO Contract)  ** After hours 24/7 emergency only, contact 866-235-3901 (Membership code 1XN3). For International UO After Hours callers only : 203-786-6395.  Calls are accessed a $20 fee.  

Premier Travel (UO Contract)  ** Emergency after hours 24/7 use only: 800-628-6668 (VIT code ASF9).  These calls are assessed an additional $15 service fee.

TMCs will no longer accept personal credit cards (which are not eligible for university-negotiated discounts and rebates) to pay for UO business travel. When adding personal time to a business trip  increases the cost of the airline ticket, the traveler must pay the difference in cost with a personal credit card (split payment).  Travelers enrolled in frequent-flier programs earn air miles and status for their air travel.

Benefits for using UO Contract Travel Agencies

Combining Personal and Business Travel

Payment is based on the most cost effective, efficient travel, and the meal per diem and lodging to which the traveler would have been entitled to while traveling on official business. This is generally one day before and one day after the dates of the conference/meeting. Direct route (official work location airport) is not required.  A comparison quote must be prepared at the time of the ticket purchase or when planning the trip if the traveler is driving. If the cost of the combined business/personal itinerary exceeds the business only itinerary, the personal portion of the airfare must be paid by the traveler at the time of ticket purchase. Consult with the travel agency regarding a split payment. Any additional ticket fee associated with the personal portion is the responsibility of the traveler.   See additional information for Comparison Quotes in the Procedure below.

Comparison Quotes

The comparison quote must be based on the business dates and the most cost effective, efficient travel that meets the business purpose. For accuracy, the quote is obtained the same day the actual ticket is purchased. Use the same source as the ticket purchase to prepare the business comparison quote, either Concur booking tool or TMC (travel agent). When preparing a comparison quote when taking personal time, the departure and arrival city are the same for both personal and business itinerary as there is no direct route requirement.  TMC quotes should contain name of the agency, date of the quote, detailed itinerary showing dates, airlines, flights, plus total cost including all taxes and fees. If the quotes are from the booking tool please indicate which flight you are using as the business comparison.  

Comparison Quotes After Travel: When combining business with personal travel and when a comparison quote was not prepared at the time of the ticket purchase, two quotes must be obtained at the same time to determine the ratio for the business only reimbursement. Using the Concur booking tool, use future dates to show a 21+ day advance purchase and correct days of the week, avoiding holidays which may skew pricing. Prepare two quotes:

  • Business only itinerary and
  • Personal itinerary including additional days/additional stops.

Provide a page or two of each quote showing the pricing grid/matrix to include with the reimbursement. If the business only quote is less, use this formula to calculate the reimbursement:

Business only divided by personal time = percentage. Actual ticket price x percentage = reimbursable amount

Example: Business only price $350. Price with personal time is $500.

$350 / $500 = .7 (percentage)

Actual ticket cost $600 x .7 = $420 reimbursable amount

Airline change fees

Airfare change fees may be reimbursed with business purpose. A receipt is required.

Care should be taken to examine and approve air itineraries within 24 hours of purchase.  Travelers must review for spelling of name (must match government-issued ID), correct travel dates, and destination(s).  Generally, change fees resulting from situations outside the control of the traveler can be reimbursed.  Generally, change fees resulting from personal error (not reviewing itinerary, not having a final conference agenda, improper planning, not using legal name on federal ID, etc ) cannot be reimbursed.

Cancelled/Unused Airline Tickets

The department or traveler must contact the travel agency or airline two hours or more prior to flight departure to cancel a reservation to retain the ticket credit for future travel.  Failure to cancel before flight time will result in a forfeiture of the ticket credit. TMCs maintain cancelled ticket data which appears both on your Concur profile and is posted to the Travel Resources button.  Every effort should be made to use cancelled ticket credits when planning future travel. 

In order to minimize the amount of UO funds lost due to Cancelled and Unused airline tickets,  unused/cancelled tickets with only three months validity remaining become available to exchange for any other UO business traveler who can make use of the ticket.  The itinerary must be UO business only (no personal time). Additional fare incurred due to the ticket exchange or any additional change fees are the responsibility of the new traveler.

Duty of Care

All travel must be approved through Concur Request which provides travel destination information within Concur for UO's Duty of Care for its travelers.  Concur ensures that the university has the best knowledge to assist students, staff and faculty in the event that an emergency (medical, natural disaster, political unrest) occurs for a UO traveler.  Concur provides UO Safety and Risk an opportunity to analyze the need for supplemental travel insurance available through the Office of Safety and Risk. International Travel Registration.

Travel Insurance

Accident insurance is provided on airfare purchases made through our UO contract travel agencies (TMCs) paid by the UO Lodge card.  International travel health insurance is automatically provided for all UO travelers and is added to your final expense report at $2.50 per day for a maximum of 30 days. See the Travel Insurance button to obtain more information on Supplemental International Travel Insurance options. Only travel insurance policies recommended and purchased through Office of Safety and Risk Services can be paid.  Add-on travel insurance or trip cancellation policies purchased personally are not reimbursed.

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[2] Taxis and Shuttle Services

Taxi and shuttle service is authorized between terminals, lodgings, and work stations.

Procedure - Claiming Taxi Expense

Expenses must be itemized by date and destination to indicate business purpose. Itemized receipt is required if $75 and above, per ride. Tips may be reimbursed up to standard tip allowance of 20%.

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[3] Railroads

All employees are encouraged to travel using routes and schedules that provide the most cost-effective, efficient travel that meets the business purpose. A roomette is allowed when sleeping accommodations are needed due to overnight travel. A bedroom is allowed if no roomette is available or if special accommodations are approved because of the trip's nature or the employee’s health.  Applicable meal and incidental expense per diem may be reduced on a pro-rata basis if a meal is provided and consumed as part of the roomette or bedroom rate.

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[4] Bus Lines

Scheduled or charter buses may be used.

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[5] Travel Awards and Frequent Flyer Mileage

Because the cost of record-keeping outweighs any monetary benefit, the university does not require employees to utilize airline bonuses  and/or frequent flyer miles earned from university-paid travel for university purposes. Frequent flyer bonuses may be used by employees as they choose unless the terms of a grant or contract used to pay for the travel require otherwise. The university will not reimburse or trade tickets purchased using frequent flyer miles.

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[6] Payment in Lieu of Air Travel (Driving out of state)

Common carriers (e.g., airlines, railroads) are usually preferred for out-of-state travel.  A traveler may choose to travel by private vehicle instead. In such a case, the traveler may be reimbursed for ground transportation expenses, including standard mileage, parking, and tolls, up to the cost that would have been incurred had they traveled by common carrier.

The following costs associated with air travel can be used as a basis for comparison:

  • The cost of round-trip commercial air fare that would have been incurred.  A quote from the university’s managed travel software system should be obtained prior to the travel dates.
  • Private vehicle mileage to and from the air terminal that would normally be used for departure.
  • Lodging, meal, and incidental expenses that the employee would normally incur with air travel

Procedure - Driving out of State

When driving out of state is a personal choice, provide a comparison airfare quote prepared when the trip is planned.  The lesser of the two amounts - either mileage or the airfare comparison is reimbursed. 

If a comparison was not prepared during the trip planning, use quote dates that most closely reflect the season and days of week that the traveler would have flown.  See Comparison Quotes under (1)Airlines for additional information.  Use Expense Type 'Airfare in Lieu of Mileage".  To calculate, divide the total amount claimed by the standard mileage allowance and enter this mileage amount into the form. 

Example:  Airfare Eugene to San Francisco - $450     $450 / .58 (check IRS mileage allowance, per mile)  =  775 miles

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