Georgia Perimeter College Business Procedures Manual

Travel by Rented or Public Transportation

General Provisions

College employees are encouraged to travel by state-owned or personal vehicles when feasible and cost-effective. However, when commercial transportation is necessary, employees may be reimbursed for the expenses incurred.  Employees will be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred, provided the appropriate steps were taken to obtain the lowest possible fare or cost.  

Approving officials must approve travel by rented or public transportation prior to the date of travel. When considering such a request, approving officials should consider the distance to be traveled, the travel time, and the cost.

Commercial Air Transportation 

Employees should utilize commercial air transportation when it is more cost-effective and efficient to travel by air than by vehicle.  Under such circumstances, the college may reimburse employees for expenses incurred for air travel, provided these expenses were approved prior to the date of travel. 

Note: Employees who choose to travel by personal vehicle, when air travel is more cost-effective, should only be reimbursed for the cost of the lowest available airfare to the specified destination. 

Employees who require air travel should obtain the lowest available airfare to the specified destination, which may include the use of the Internet, a travel agency, or the state airfare contract.  The State Purchasing Office of the Department of Administrative Services may have contracts with airlines for various travel destinations. Employees should refer to the statewide contract when making travel arrangements. Airfares included in this contract, if available, may be accessed as follows: Statewide Contact.  The contract can be directly accessed at the following internet address:  http://doas.ga.gov/StateLocal/SPD/Pages/StatewideContractIndex.aspx. 

Employees who utilize the state airfare contract may purchase their tickets directly through a travel agent, or may pick up their tickets in person at a ticket office or at the airport. Tickets may be purchased using a state-issued corporate charge card, state purchasing card, personal credit card (on an as-needed basis with prior approval of employer), or through invoicing by a travel agent.

Many travel agencies now charge small fees for issuing tickets. These fees, if reasonable, are part of the cost of travel. Employees may, therefore, be reimbursed for such costs, regardless of whether the airfare tickets were purchased through the state airfare contract or not. However, employees are strongly encouraged to use the Internet in order to avoid travel agency fees.

Travel agencies used for making travel arrangements should not be related to the employee making, authorizing, or approving the arrangements. The travel agencies also should not be related to the employee actually traveling. A "related" party would include any members of the employee's family or any organizations in which the employee or his/her family members have a financial interest. The purpose for not using such travel agencies is to maintain the institution's integrity in financial matters. 

It should be noted that employees are not required to use the statewide contract when lower fares can be obtained through another airline.  The contracted airline should, however, be offered the opportunity to meet the lower fare.  Employees also are not required to use the statewide contract if the contracted flight is not non-stop and the contracted flight would cause the employee undue hardship or would conflict with the employee's schedule.

Reimbursement will be made upon presentation of a ticket stub, receipts, or other documentary evidence of expenditure via the Travel Expense Statement upon completion of trip.

According to law (1978 S.B. 73, Act 1369), officials or employees traveling by commercial air carrier will not be reimbursed for that portion of non-coach (first-class, business class) airfare which exceeds the cost of the lowest fare for the flight on which such official or employee is traveling unless:

  • There is no other space available on the needed flight; 

  • A licensed medical practitioner certifies that because of a person's mental or physical condition specific air travel arrangements are required; or,

  • The Commissioner of Public Safety certifies that specific air travel arrangements are necessary for security reasons. 

It is the responsibility of the approving official to obtain the necessary medical certifications for any employee who requires special air travel arrangements due to a medical condition. Approving officials also should obtain information specifying the expected length of time such condition would have an impact on travel needs. The College should maintain such information in a manner that would enable the auditors to readily determine who is subject to these special travel provisions.  Final written approval by the Executive Vice President for Financial and Administrative Affairs is required.  


Upgrades to Non-Coach Travel

State officials or employees may, at any time, use personal frequent flyer miles or similar programs to upgrade to non-coach travel. In addition, nothing in this policy shall preclude a state official or employee from personally paying for an upgrade to non-coach travel.  

For purposes of conducting official state business, state officials or employees may negotiate or arrange for upgrades to non-coach travel with individual commercial carriers if:  

  • The flight is international and over five hours in duration; and,

  • The carrier agrees not to charge any additional cost to the College.


Indemnification Received Due to Travel Inconveniences Imposed by Airlines

Occasions may arise when airlines overbook, change, delay or cancel flights, thereby imposing travel inconveniences on their passengers. In these instances, airlines often offer the impacted passengers indemnification for these inconveniences. Examples of indemnification that may be offered by an airline include vouchers for meals or lodging, upgrades to non-coach travel, and credits toward future flight costs. College employees are authorized to accept such indemnification if the travel inconvenience was imposed by the airline and there is no additional cost to the College.


Airline Cancellations

Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of airline reservations (or other travel reservations) shall be the institution's obligation if the employee's travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction of and for the convenience of the institution. If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it shall be the employee's obligation to pay the penalties and charges. However, in the event of accidents, serious illness, or death within the employee's immediate family, or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the institution will be obligated to pay the penalties and charges.


Airline Departure and Return

When traveling by common carrier to conduct official State business, employees traveling to their destination earlier than necessary and/or delaying their return to avail the institution of reduced transportation rates may be reimbursed subsistence for additional travel days if, in the opinion of the appropriate authority, the amount saved in transportation costs due to the early and/or delayed travel is greater than the amount expended in salary and additional subsistence. Prior approval by the Budget Office is required.


Airline Reservations

Airline reservations can be handled by American Express Travel Services. Many travel agencies now charge fees (usually around $35) for issuing tickets. These fees, if reasonable, are part of the cost of travel. Employees may, therefore, be reimbursed for such costs.


Recent Changes in Airline Ticketing Policies

Most airlines charge an additional fee for changes in flights.  Employees should make every effort to avoid changes, but if an additional fee is imposed for rescheduling, this becomes part of the travel expense and is reimbursable. The reason for the change must be documented. If the airline ticket is not used at all for reasons beyond the control of the employee, the employee may be reimbursed (with the approval of his/her supervisor), but this would not be considered a travel expense. The reason for the ticket not being used must be documented.

Most airlines also charge a fee for paper tickets that could be electronically ticketed. Employees are strongly encouraged to avoid this fee by using the Internet. If there is a valid reason for a paper ticket and a fee is charged, it becomes part of the travel expense and is reimbursable.


Fly America Act

Airline travel reimbursement on Federal and Federal pass-through sponsored agreements are subject to the requirements found in the Fly America Act (49 U.S.C. 40118), which requires that federal employees, and others performing U.S. Government financed travel to use U.S. flag carriers for all air travel funded by the United States Government unless U.S. carriers are unavailable. This includes U.S. federal government employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others.

Note: U.S. flag air carrier service is considered available even if:

• A foreign air carrier would be at less cost to the traveler or agency; or,

• A foreign air carrier would be more convenient to the traveler.


Rental of Motor Vehicles

Use of commercially leased vehicles will be left to the discretion of the approving official and must be approved prior to departure.  Employees requiring the use of commercially leased vehicles may obtain vehicles through the state contracted rental agency according to the conditions of the Statewide Contracts issued by the State Purchasing Office of the Department of Administrative Services.  The contract can be directly accessed at the following internet address: http://ssl.doas.state.ga.us/PRSapp/PR_StateWide_contract_list_alpha.jsp

Rental vehicles can be billed directly to the College with the appropriate approval, completed forms, and lead time.  Interested travelers should indicate this preference when completing the Prior Approval for Travel Authorization Form and contact Logistical Services with the Travel Authorization Number (issued by the Budget Office) to request this option.

Employees also are encouraged to contact travel agencies to identify the lowest available rates. Employees who are able to obtain lower rates through other companies should use these other companies to rent vehicles.  If the employee is using a company other than the one on State Contract, the Statewide Contract Waiver Request Form must be completed and sent to the Associate Director of Logistical Services for approval.

Employees traveling on State business in a rented motor vehicle are covered by the State’s liability policy.  Therefore, liability coverage should be declined when renting a motor vehicle.  Loss Damage Waiver/Collision Damage Waiver (LDW/CDW) insurance is included in the statewide contract at no additional cost.  Contact the Associate Director of Logistical Services for more information.

Employees requiring the use of commercially leased vehicles will be reimbursed for costs associated with official use of such vehicles. Personal accident insurance on rental vehicles is not reimbursable.  Employees will be reimbursed for gasoline purchases associated with the business use of such vehicle, provided appropriate receipts are included.


Travel by Railroad

Employees may be reimbursed for the actual cost of rail transportation, provided the appropriate personnel authorized the travel expense in advance. Employees traveling by rail are encouraged to obtain the lowest possible fare. There is no statewide contract for transportation by rail.


Travel by Mass Transportation, Taxi, or Airport Vans

Employees officially on travel status may be reimbursed for necessary costs of transportation by bus, taxi, or airport vans for the following situations:

  • Between the traveler’s departure point and the common carrier’s departure point;

  • Between the common carrier’s arrival point and the traveler’s lodging or meeting place; and,

  • Between the lodging and meeting places if at different locations.

It is expected that airport vans will be utilized when available, when arrival or departure is during daylight hours, and when they are the lowest cost alternative.


Reimbursement for Baggage Handling Services

Employees may be reimbursed for expenses associated with baggage handling services (portage) when such an expense is necessary and actually is incurred in moving luggage into or out of lodging places, common carriers, and/or airports. Employees should not be reimbursed for such expenses when they choose to use baggage-handling services as a convenience to them.


Required Documentation of Expenses

All travel by rented or public transportation must be recorded on the employee travel expense statement. Employees requesting reimbursement must submit receipts for travel by commercial air carrier or railroad and for the cost of rented vehicles including gasoline. Although receipts are recommended, employees are not required to submit receipts for travel by mass transportation, taxi, or airport vans. However, a point-to-point explanation is required for each item reimbursed. All transportation expenses should be itemized on the employee Travel Expense Statement.