Air and Rail Transportation

Before ANY travel purchases are made, a Request for Travel form with appropriate signatures should be completed IN ADVANCE (BEFORE travel purchases are made).

The Commonwealth allows ONLY COACH travel. NOTE: The ticket class type (e.g. economy, coach) must be shown. If ticket class type is not shown on the receipt, the ticket stub or boarding pass must be submitted to show class type purchased. This information should be attached to the receipt with the SPCC (if the SPCC was used to purchase the ticket) OR submitted with the reimbursement request (if seeking reimbursement).

EXCEPTION TO COACH / ECONOMY TICKETS: Generally, airline and rail travel cannot exceed the rates charged for tourist/coach fare. With careful consideration of “the expenses must be Reasonable and Necessary,” the approving authority (President or designee) may grant permission for BUSINESS CLASS air or rail travel under the following circumstances with documentation:

Air

  1. When it does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher), OR
  2. For travel to western Europe if the business meeting is conducted within three hours of landing (explanation must be attached to the travel voucher), OR
  3. For transoceanic, intercontinental trips involving flight-time of more than eight consecutive hours (the boarding pass that is required will probably show the length of the flight), OR
  4. If the traveler pays the difference. (NOTE: The traveler would pay for the ticket and seek reimbursement. Documentation proving the price of the economy/coach class is required.)

Rail

  1. When it does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher), OR
  2. When reserved coach seats are not offered on the route (explanation must be attached to the travel voucher), OR
  3. If the traveler pays the difference. (NOTE: The traveler would pay for the ticket and seek reimbursement. Documentation proving the price of the economy/coach class is required.)

NOTE ABOUT RAIL: Coach/economy class seating is not available on Acela Express; therefore, Acela Express is NOT allowed.

First Class is prohibited.

IF PURCHASING TICKETS USING THE INTERNET, see Internet Purchases.

If purchasing an airline ticket, the “Demonstrated Cost Analysis” section on the Request for Travel Form must show three different price comparisons; however, all comparisons can be from the same “original source.” For example, Travelocity.com will show numerous airlines (sources) with various prices; you must write three possibilities and CHOOSE THE LEAST EXPENSIVE ONE! It is reasonable and understandable that ticket prices may change from the time you document the prices on the Request for Travel Form to the time you make the purchase AFTER getting written approvals on the Request for Travel Form. This is ok. The purpose of this section on the form is to show that the traveler has made an effort to secure the best possible price.

The Commonwealth expects employees to be diligent and plan ahead responsibly; therefore, airfare and rail tickets should not need to be changed or canceled. Please call Accounts Payable if, for any reason, an airfare or rail ticket needs to be changed or canceled.

Certain airlines now charge additional fees (baggage) for services formerly included in the airfare cost. When procuring airfare for business travel, travelers should consider total costs in selecting the most appropriate carrier. Airlines publish limits for baggage and the fees associated with those limits. Travelers are expected to be aware of these limits. In the event these limits must be exceeded FOR LEGITIMATE BUSINESS PURPOSES, the cost is reimbursable provided there is a LEGITIMATE BUSINESS NEED THAT IS EFFECTIVELY DOCUMENTED. Receipts should also accompany the reimbursement.

The following methods of payment may be used to purchase Air and Rail tickets, including AMTRAK, the VRE (Virginia Railway Express), and other metro systems:

  • The SPCC, (see”*” below)
  • Your Travel Charge Card, or
  • Your personal credit card

NOTE: The advantage of using the SPCC is that the money never comes out of your pocket, as long as the purchase is an allowable expense. If you use a method of payment for which you will need to be reimbursed, i.e., your Travel Charge Card or your personal credit card, you will NOT be reimbursed until AFTER the travel has taken place.

*If the SPCC is used, the Request for Travel Form (it does NOT have to be the original) that was completed IN ADVANCE along with an original receipt–or a printed copy of the receipt for an electronic purchase–must be attached to the receipt.  If the travel does not include an overnight stay or if the day-only travel (total trip expense) is less than $500, the Request for Travel form is NOT needed; however, the purpose of the trip must be documented on the receipt(s).

If you use a method of payment for which you will need to be reimbursed, you will need to attach an original receipt–or a printed copy of a receipt for electronic purchases–to the Travel Expense Reimbursement form. In addition, the ticket class type (e.g. economy, coach) must be shown in order to get reimbursed.  Remember that you will not be reimbursed until AFTER the travel has occurred. (See Reimbursement Process for Travel Expenses.)

Insurance such as trip cancellation, personal health or life insurance will not be reimbursed and should not be paid by the University.

According to CAPP 20335, when an employee is reimbursed by UMW or uses the SPCC for travel expenses, “Travel credits, reduced rates, or free services received from public facilities (i.e., airline, car rental agencies, motels, etc.) by individuals for whatever reason accrue to the Commonwealth. Any such credit, reduced rate, or free service must be reported to the agency fiscal office and must be deducted from the amount of travel expenses claimed.”