Keeping in mind that medical certification must be current and dated within 6 months of the anticipated travel end date, requests for 'other than economy/coach' accommodations (business class) and requests for special economy/coach class accommodations (i.e., economy class ticket requiring the payment of a premium above the economy class rate, for example, for extra leg room, or for more than one contiguous economy class seat) should be submitted to the DoDEA OI&IR as soon as the traveler determines that he/she is going to travel on Return from Overseas for Separation, RAT, PCS or TDY orders. A copy of completed travel orders is required to be part of the package that is forwarded to the appropriate authorizing/approving official (AO). In case of emergency, requests for 'other than economy/coach' accommodations will be processed without completed travel orders up to the DoDEA Director's level. Processing time for this travel benefit extensive and can take over 16 weeks, therefore, it is important to apply early. The 16-week process will begin once the traveler has submitted all the required documentation. Inadequate planning does not constitute extenuating/emergency circumstances and will not be recommended for an exception.
The entire process may take over 16 weeks. The 16-week estimate is contingent on all required documentation being submitted from the outset. Inadequate planning does not constitute extenuating/emergency circumstances and will not be recommended for an exception.
The JTR at par. 3520-A1 (Restrictions and Limitations) Stopover, Rest Stop, or Overnight Rest Period states:
"The traveler/dependent is not eligible for business class accommodations at GOV'T expense, if an:
a. En route stopover, regardless of who pays the expenses during stopover, is an overnight stay; or
b. En route stop is authorized, or
c. Overnight rest period occurs at the TDY location before beginning work."
Request medical documentation from your doctor and contact the DoDEA OI&IR immediately. Only if extenuating circumstances prevent advance authorization, the traveler must obtain written approval from the 'other than economy/coach' accommodations AO (or the DoDEA Director for special economy seating) within 7 days of travel completion. Failure to do so may result in the traveler being personally financially responsible for costs over the standard economy/coach class airfare.
Inadequate planning does not constitute extenuating/emergency circumstances and will not be recommended for an exception.
It is extremely difficult to obtain approval after-the-fact and it should only occur in dire, extreme emergencies. If extenuating circumstances or emergency situations prevent advanced authorization, the traveler must obtain written approval from the appropriate 'other than economy/coach' AO or for special economy seating the DoDEA Director within 7 days of travel completion. Failure to receive the appropriate authorization/approval for 'other than economy/coach' accommodations or special economy seating either before or after travel may result in the traveler being personally financially responsible for costs over the standard economy/coach class airfare. Inadequate planning does not constitute extenuating/emergency circumstances and will not be recommended for an exception.
The standard of "incapable of traveling alone" is a difficult one to meet and must be fully documented by the licensed medical practitioner. The JTR at par. 2110-J4 states: "An attendant who is authorized transportation under par. 7815, may be authorized/approved for 'other than economy/coach' accommodations only when the attended traveler is authorized 'other than economy/coach' accommodations use and requires attendant services en route." The JTR at par 2110-J5 also states: "Authority for a family member to use 'other than economy/coach' accommodations due to a disability or special need does not authorize the entire family to use 'other than economy/coach' accommodations. 'Other than economy/coach' authority is limited to the disabled traveler and attendant (if required)..." The licensed medical practitioner must explain why an attendant is required, if the traveler is incapable of traveling alone.
U.S. Department of Transportation 14 CFR part 382, Nondiscrimination On The Basis Of Disability In Air Travel, to assist any passenger requiring special needs. Federal regulation requires the carrier (US and foreign carriers who use US airports) to assist persons with disabilities and facilitate access to every area that passengers without disabilities frequent such as moving around the terminal, to and from the gate, boarding and disembarking the aircraft, transporting them to the baggage claim area, to include rest room stops, etc. Assistance is also provided while on the carrier to include wheelchair access to handicap accessible lavatories. The airlines only request 24 hour advance notice that a person with special needs is traveling. It is the traveler's responsibility to contact the carrier.
Travelers can provide OI&IR additional medical documentation (using Licensed Medical Practitioner's Statement) dated within 6 months of the anticipate travel end date and request that OI&IR conduct a re-review. The re-review process is the same as steps a and b as described above on what are the steps for approval.
Travelers, who disagree with a decision of denial and are covered by a negotiated grievance procedure, must use the grievance procedure to appeal decisions regarding a denial of accommodations.
Travelers not covered by a negotiated grievance procedure, may file an appeal to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals at the address listed below.
The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals
1800 F Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20405