7.2 Travel Expenses

A. General Procedures

Airline tickets should be charged to the university approved travel card. All reimbursement requests should be submitted electronically via a properly approved Travel Expense Report. All airline receipts must be submitted in order to receive reimbursement.

WSU will not reimburse travelers for tickets purchased with frequent flyer miles. Accumulated awards remain the property of the traveler; however, if a traveler arranges a more expensive flight solely based on an airline award program, the traveler is responsible for the difference in cost.

B. Travel Classes

Travelers must book the most economical coach class airfare available.  In making reservations, the traveler should balance the cost vs. the efficiency of the travel. For example, a cheaper fare that requires a long layover may not be the most economical choice.  In those cases when an individual is requesting reimbursement for costs in excess of the most economical rate, they must provide the justification for the waiver of the policy in advance of booking the ticket. Such a request must receive prior approval from the respective Vice President or Dean.  If the traveler wishes to upgrade to business or first-class, the traveler will be required to pay the difference between the lowest price non-stop economy coach class airfare and the final airfare. Appropriate documentation of such arrangements should be submitted to the university with the business or first-class ticket documentation.

C. Sponsored Travel

Except as noted below, travelers on federally-funded trips outside the continental United States must travel on U.S. carriers at coach rates, under the Fly America Act (FAA).  This restriction may be waived when such accommodations would:

  • require circuitous routing;
  • require travel during unreasonable hours;
  • excessively prolong travel greatly increasing the duration of the flight; or
  • be inadequate for the medical needs of the traveler.

Any exception to the Fly America Act should be discussed with the Sponsored Program Administration office prior to the purchase of the airline ticket.

D. Conference Designated Airline

When attending a conference that has a designated airline, the traveler should utilize the designated carrier so that the special conference airfare may be obtained provided those rates are lower than other available fares.

E. Airline Clubs

Individual dues paid for membership in an airline club are not reimbursable.

F. Accounting for Unused Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets purchased by the university should be documented and returned to the travel agency immediately for processing of a credit against future travel or a refund.