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Open Skies Agreement

Open Skies Agreement

Old May 12, 19, 10:35 am
  #1  
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Open Skies Agreement

I am a grad student in the U.S., and I will be going to the U.K. for a conference. I'm under a federal (not DoD) fellowship, so if I want to be reimbursed for the flight, I'd need to adhere to the Fly America Act.

I was reading about the Open Skies exception, and it seems that I would be able to take a EU airline as that would fall under the exception. My University provided this checklist (see below pic) to see if a traveler would qualify for the Open Skies exception. I can answer "No" to questions 1&2. However, for question 3, my origin is San Francisco and Destination is London, and I see that a city-pair does exist when I searched on the gsa.gov website. According to this form, because of the existence of the city-pair, the Open Skies Agreement does not seem to apply. But I did not see this anywhere on the Open Skies description on the Department of State and GSA websites. I'm wondering if my University made a mistake in this checklist. Does anyone have experience with this?



Checklist
dzdang is offline  
Old May 12, 19, 11:38 am
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this is something that should be taken up with your grad department

there are two parts

1) Fly America Act ("protectionalist" policy, open skies has an exemption for this)
2) GSA city-pairs (negotiated rates based on govt bulk travel. some rates are very good) <- you are here


look at princeton's website
https://finance.princeton.edu/how-to...ies-agreement/

Travel under certain Open Skies Agreements can be restricted if a City Pair rate is in effect for the specified travel route. If a City Pair rate is in effect, then travel must be provided by a U.S. flag air carrier, unless another authorized exception applies.
it looks like (2) gsacity-pairs requirement was removed in June 2010 amendment. how old is your department's policy?

AA is the airline awarded SFO-LON. you may be able to fly on BA if AAis codesharing on the flight
paperwastage is offline  
Old May 12, 19, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
this is something that should be taken up with your grad department

there are two parts

1) Fly America Act ("protectionalist" policy, open skies has an exemption for this)
2) GSA city-pairs (negotiated rates based on govt bulk travel. some rates are very good) <- you are here


look at princeton's website
https://finance.princeton.edu/how-to...ies-agreement/



it looks like (2) gsacity-pairs requirement was removed in June 2010 amendment. how old is your department's policy?

AA is the airline awarded SFO-LON. you may be able to fly on BA if AAis codesharing on the flight
I actually checked with my grad department and the person linked me to the Fly America Act guidelines. She's kind of new and often gives me erroneous info so I'm lookin into this myself. But in those Fly America Act guidelines she sent me, it doesn't even mention the open skies exception. I only found the open skies exception through Google, and then afterwards, I found a description on my University's site about the exception.

The screenshot I took in the OP is found on Open Skies Agreement | University of Michigan Finance in the linked spreadsheet. I don't see anywhere where it states how old this file is. I can see if I can call tomorrow and find out more info. Where did you see the June 2010 amendment btw? On the Princeton webpage, it states that it was updated in 2016, and I still see the City Pair req at the bottom under "Important Notes" #2 .
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Old May 12, 19, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by dzdang View Post
I actually checked with my grad department and the person linked me to the Fly America Act guidelines. She's kind of new and often gives me erroneous info so I'm lookin into this myself. But in those Fly America Act guidelines she sent me, it doesn't even mention the open skies exception. I only found the open skies exception through Google, and then afterwards, I found a description on my University's site about the exception.

The screenshot I took in the OP is found on Open Skies Agreement | University of Michigan Finance in the linked spreadsheet. I don't see anywhere where it states how old this file is. I can see if I can call tomorrow and find out more info. Where did you see the June 2010 amendment btw? On the Princeton webpage, it states that it was updated in 2016, and I still see the City Pair req at the bottom under "Important Notes" #2 .
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy...merica_act.htm
The U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement was amended effective June 24, 2010. GSA issued Guidance October 6, 2010. Pursuant to the amendment, federal contractors and recipients (not U.S. Government employees) need not be concerned about city-pair contract fares. However, contractors and recipients must check with the airline to ensure that the airline is covered by the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement which may change periodically.
actual GSA bulletin (11-02USEUOpenSkies.PDF)
https://www.gsa.gov/cdnstatic/FTRBul...UOpenSkies.PDF



it is confusing, various flowcharts show that you dont need to worry about city-pair when doing EU openskies (only when doing australia/japan/switzerland opens kies)

https://finance.princeton.edu/how-to...-Pair-2016.pdf
(page 4) https://globetrottermgmt.com/globe/w...-checklist.pdf
https://your.yale.edu/sites/default/...de_061318d.pdf

have fun!
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Old May 12, 19, 1:05 pm
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https://cga.msu.edu/PL/Portal/Docume...BkAD0AMwA0ADYA

European Union (EU), Iceland, and Norway
Travelers may use a European Union airline, as long as they touch down in an European Union country.
Michigan State University will hold on file a ďblanketĒ statement to certify use of EU Carriers as an exception to the Fly America Act as outlined in the FTR Section 301-10.135.
maybe your dept needs an updated blanket statement certification for 301-10.135
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Old Jun 6, 19, 12:42 am
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Just fly United from San Francisco to London. British Airways in economy class is not better.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
Just fly United from San Francisco to London. British Airways in economy class is not better.
I was being dumb when I originally made this post. At that time, I had thought the United/Delta flights from SFO->London were 4,000+ for economy, so I started considering the international airlines. I had thought this because if you go to Google Flights and type in a 1 way flight from SFO-> London, it's actually 2,000 for Delta or United! https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=...;sd:1;t:f;tt:o
I verified this information on United and Delta's website as well. So I thought a roundtrip was going to cost 2x2,000=4,000. But it turns out a roundtrip is actually cheaper than a 1 way flight. I've never seen this on a national flight before (it's almost always such that 2 one way tickets total a roundtrip ticket).
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Old Jun 6, 19, 3:03 am
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Originally Posted by Toshbaf View Post
Just fly United from San Francisco to London. British Airways in economy class is not better.
On this route regularly and I strongly disagree. First, the food on UA is beyond disgusting whereas it's adequate on BA. Second, UA has densified its planes more aggressively on the route and you are probably going to get a 777 at 10 across which is extremely uncomfortable, whereas BA flies a mix of 747s and 380s which have not (yet) been densified, so are significantly more comfortable.

The only exception is that, if you have status with UA, you get E+ which is great for leg room but doesn't address the width of the seat.

Back OT, for the OP, there are four airlines which fly SFO-LON, UA, BA, Virgin and Norwegian (which, for these purposes, is a EU airline). UA is the only US carrrier. AA codeshares with BA but you will fly on BA and DL codeshares with Virgin but you will fly on VS planes. As a no status passenger, it will be pretty miserable whichever way you look at it, but my personal opinion is that UA will be the worst - the least comfortable seat, the worst food and (often) hostile FAs.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 3:40 am
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You have two different questions here: (1) are you eligible/required to use the city pair contract, and (2) if not, can you fly a European airline.

If you are employed directly by Uncle Sam or your travel is being funded directly by Uncle Sam, you are required to use the city pair unless an exception exists. American has the contract, which means you'd be on BA metal. At $480 for full-fare Y it's a killer deal, too.

If you're not eligible to use the city pair fare, its existence is irrelevant to you and you can fly any U.S. or European airline you choose.

You need to take this up with whoever's in charge of funding and paying for your travel.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
On this route regularly and I strongly disagree. First, the food on UA is beyond disgusting whereas it's adequate on BA. Second, UA has densified its planes more aggressively on the route and you are probably going to get a 777 at 10 across which is extremely uncomfortable, whereas BA flies a mix of 747s and 380s which have not (yet) been densified, so are significantly more comfortable.

The only exception is that, if you have status with UA, you get E+ which is great for leg room but doesn't address the width of the seat.

Back OT, for the OP, there are four airlines which fly SFO-LON, UA, BA, Virgin and Norwegian (which, for these purposes, is a EU airline). UA is the only US carrrier. AA codeshares with BA but you will fly on BA and DL codeshares with Virgin but you will fly on VS planes. As a no status passenger, it will be pretty miserable whichever way you look at it, but my personal opinion is that UA will be the worst - the least comfortable seat, the worst food and (often) hostile FAs.
my last couple of UA experiences have been pretty bad. Iím using Delta with code sharing on virgin atlantic. How is virgin for this route? I see that Iím flying on a 787.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by dzdang View Post

my last couple of UA experiences have been pretty bad. Iím using Delta with code sharing on virgin atlantic. How is virgin for this route? I see that Iím flying on a 787.
The 787 has tight seating in terms of width (not as bad as UA's 777s, but worse than BA's 747 or 380) but about the same legroom. However, service and ambience on VS is superior to the other airlines. Sadly, they operate out of T3 at LHR which, for departing, is probably the worst of the LHR terminals.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by dzdang View Post
I was being dumb when I originally made this post. At that time, I had thought the United/Delta flights from SFO->London were 4,000+ for economy, so I started considering the international airlines. I had thought this because if you go to Google Flights and type in a 1 way flight from SFO-> London, it's actually 2,000 for Delta or United! https://www.google.com/flights/#flt=...;sd:1;t:f;tt:o
I verified this information on United and Delta's website as well. So I thought a roundtrip was going to cost 2x2,000=4,000. But it turns out a roundtrip is actually cheaper than a 1 way flight. I've never seen this on a national flight before (it's almost always such that 2 one way tickets total a roundtrip ticket).
Domestic USA, one-way fares are generally half of round trip (there are still some city pairs that cost more one-way)

Intl, not the case. Round trip fares are cheaper (but there are restrictions like minimum weekend stay/1 week stay, trying to price-discriminate business travelers from leisure travelers)
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Old Jun 7, 19, 3:45 am
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
Domestic USA, one-way fares are generally half of round trip (there are still some city pairs that cost more one-way)

Intl, not the case. Round trip fares are cheaper (but there are restrictions like minimum weekend stay/1 week stay, trying to price-discriminate business travelers from leisure travelers)
Not always the case at all. Many one-ways in Europe are half round trips, and, across the Atlantic, Norwegian uses one way pricing as well. I'm not sure why the OP's original search for a one way didn't throw up Norwegian as it will be by far the cheapest from SFO-LON.
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