Air & Rail Travel
Air & Rail Travel Policy >>
The travel policy provides for payment for commercial airfare or rail travel when traveling on University business. Generally, airline and rail travel cannot exceed the rates charged for tourist or coach class accommodations.
Some airlines have created a higher level of coach class services that charges a premium for certain preferable seats. Such upgrades in the coach seating area are considered enhancements to the coach fare and are not reimbursable.
Traveler’s first line supervisor and a fiscal officer with signature authority for the fund/organization being charged, if the traveler or supervisor does not have signature authority for that fund/organization, may grant permission for business class air or rail travel under the following circumstances:
- The business class fare does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to the Travel Reimbursement),
- The travel is to western Europe and the business meeting is conducted within three hours of landing,
- The travel is for transoceanic, intercontinental trips of more than eight hours, or
- The traveler pays the difference.
- The business class fare does not cost more than the lowest available tourist/coach fare (comparison must be attached to travel voucher),
- Reserved coach seats are not offered on the route, or
- The traveler pays the difference.
All tickets or receipts must indicate coach class fares unless appropriate documentation is obtained.
Reimbursement for first class travel is prohibited.
Airline Fees >>
Some airlines charge additional fees for services, such as checked baggage, previously included in the ticket price.
When planning a trip, travelers should be aware of these fees and associated limitations, and consider the total cost when selecting the most appropriate carrier. These fees are reimbursable with a receipt when limits must be exceeded for legitimate business purposes. For example, checked baggage with the hockey team’s equipment will generally exceed limitations. Written justification must be provided when requesting reimbursement for two or more checked bags.
Fly America Act >>
When federal funds are used, provisions of the Fly America Act are applicable and foreign travel is restricted to a U.S. air carrier unless extenuating circumstances apply and are approved in advance by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Additional information is available at Fly America Act – Office of Sponsored Programs.
Air Travel Arrangements >>
Travelers may use the following options when making air travel arrangements:
- Covington Travel
- Uniglobe Ulti-Max Travel
696 Pine Street
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: 703-707-0200 or 1-866-629-8728
Normal Business Hours: 9:00 AM to 6 PM EST, Monday-Friday
After Hours Emergency Helpline: 1-800-787-0152
Email and Booking Assistance: GMU@ultimaxtravel.com
- Other Travel Providers
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4057
Phone: 804-344-3244 or 888-344-3244
Normal Business Hours: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday – Friday
After Hours Emergency Helpline: 877-685-4762 – Use ID code CU2
Email and Booking Assistance: GMU@covtrav.com
Covington Travel provides the option to conduct bookings through an online travel portal. The traveler will provide payment to Covington Travel. Options include the Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card), the Travel Credit Card or a personal credit card. Covington Travel can direct bill airfare in excess of $2,000 to a centralized Mason Travel Card. A fee will be added to the cost of each airline ticket purchased. Covington Travel may also be contacted for domestic and international lodging and rental car reservations.
The traveler will provide payment to Uniglobe Ulti-Max Travel. Options include the Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card), the Travel Credit Card or a personal credit card. A fee will be added to the cost of each airline ticket purchased. Uniglobe Ulti-Max Travel may also be contacted for lodging and rental car reservations.
Travelers are permitted to make travel arrangements using any travel agency, ticket provider or online service. When procuring services via the Internet, the traveler must submit documentation that validates cost as well as the mode and class of travel. The confirmation document (all pages) generated at the end of the reservation process showing total cost and class of service should be printed and attached to the Travel Reimbursement Voucher. When a paper ticket is issued, the passenger receipt (ticket stub) should be submitted.
Payment Methods >>
The following payment options are available for purchasing airline tickets:
- Purchasing Charge Card (P-Card)
When the P-Card is used to pay for common carrier transportation, Mason will be billed directly in the same way as when the P-card is used to purchase supplies or other services for the office.
When purchasing airline tickets with the P-Card, the cardholder (often the departmental representative) MUST purchase the tickets. The cardholder must retain the original ticket receipt as with other purchases. Any special approvals or authorizations must be maintained with the cardholder’s records, including the original Travel Authorization signed by the traveler’s first line supervisor and a fiscal officer with signature authority for the fund/organization being charged if the traveler or supervisor does not have signature authority for that fund/organization, all estimates, price comparisons and any additional approvals required.
Contact Purchasing at extension 3-2580 for information on obtaining and using the P- Card.
- Using the P-Card Online
The state’s “Electronic Commerce Policy – Security Requirements” imposes certain security requirements that must be met before using the P-Card over the Internet.
Mason faculty and staff may apply for Travel Credit Card that will be issued to the individual traveler. The traveler is responsible for paying this bill.
The traveler must submit an original ticket receipt and evidence of payment with the travel voucher when the Travel Charge Card is used. Note that each cardholder is responsible for payment of charges made on this card. Please use this option carefully; traveler will only be reimbursed after the trip, regardless of how far in advance the airline tickets are purchased.
Contact the Travel Office at extension 3-2623 for information about the Travel Charge Card.
The traveler must submit an original ticket receipt and evidence of payment with the travel voucher when a personal credit card is used. Please use this option carefully; traveler will only be reimbursed after his/her trip, regardless of how far in advance the airline tickets are purchased.
Reimbursement for a Canceled Trip >>
If the trip is canceled after airline tickets have been purchased, travelers may be reimbursed with their supervisor’s approval. The approval must include a statement by the supervisor that he/she agrees to monitor future use of the ticket.