FEDweek

Almost All Federal Employees Fly Far Under New Air Travel Restrictions

OMB has issued a reminder to agencies on restrictions regarding official travel, although it likely will have little impact on the large majority of employees, excepting possibly those who travel with high-level officials.

The OMB memo, issued in light of revelations that some Cabinet members had been chartering planes to destinations easily reached by much less expensive commercial flights, reminded them of Circular A-126, under which “government-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft should not be used for travel by government employees, except with specific justification.”

“However, beyond the law and formal policy, departments and agencies should recognize that we are public servants. Put another way, just because something is legal doesn’t make it right . . . with few exceptions, the commercial air system used by millions of Americans every day is appropriate, even for very senior officials,” it says.

Moving forward, all non-commercial travel not specifically allowed in the circular will require approval of the White House chief of staff’s office, which is reviewing the approval process and will issue further guidance, the memo said.

The large majority of federal employees have no authority to request chartered aircraft for their travel, and with few exceptions must fly in coach class on commercial airlines.