Here are the steps you should take when booking international flights.

Determine number of travelers

MIT strongly discourages traveling in groups of three or more faculty/staff members to avoid serious impact on an Institute activity in case of a catastrophic event during travel. MIT also discourages your department from booking group arrangements for more than 20 students on the same flight.

Review restrictions

If your travel is funded by a research cost object, check Kuali Coeus (if you have access) or with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for any specific travel restrictions established by the sponsor. Contact your OSP representative if you have any questions.

Note that federal funding carries requirements and restrictions for air travel:

  • You must travel on U.S. flag carrier airlines to the maximum extent possible if your trip is supported by federal funds. This may include code sharing—an arrangement between airlines through which a U.S. carrier leases space on a plane owned by a foreign carrier.
  • You cannot charge business class or first class fares to federally sponsored research projects unless the sponsor specifically approves it and you document it in your travel expense report.
  • We strongly discourage travel on non-commercial aircraft for Institute business. If you are contemplating travel on aircraft you own, operate, rent, or charter, you must obtain prior permission from the MIT Office of Insurance.

You’ll find further guidance on allowable reimbursement of direct and indirect airfare costs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 or OMB’s Uniform Guidance section 200:474.

Check for high-risk areas

Note that world events can result in considerations specific to countries, airports, or destinations. You should check the MIT International Travel Risk Policy Country Warning Levels before every international trip.

Check the Department of Homeland Security for updates on U.S. airports, including changing policies on carry-ons. Your airline may also post travel alerts.

Purchase in advance and use preferred air carriers

Reserve your air travel as soon as possible—at least 14 days in advance—to obtain advance purchase discounts on fares.

When you use MIT’s preferred air carriers, you can take advantage of negotiated fares and discounts. If you use other carriers, you must maximize savings for the Institute. In either case, book the lowest available coach fare. To get MIT’s preferred rates, use one of MIT’s preferred travel agencies The Travel Collaborative or OT&T Travel Management or book your flights on Concur, MIT's online travel booking and expense reporting tool. See details in Step #5 below.

If you are using a departmental MIT Travel Card, you must book with The Travel Collaborative (TTC) and ensure that the ticket is issued in the name of the traveler (not the name on the Travel Card).

Book through Concur or a preferred travel agency

Concur is MIT’s online travel booking and expense reporting tool. Concur makes it easy to find the lowest available fares, track and report itineraries and expenses, and sign up for automatic travel alerts.

If you want to work directly with the MIT preferred travel agency that is connected to MIT's Concur tool, call The Travel Collaborative (TTC) at 617-497-7400 for assistance. Call toll-free from North America, 1-844-445-3330; from all other locations, call 1-207-805-3340.

As an alternative to The Travel Collaborative, you may consider OT&T Travel Management for discount airfares. Call 781-890-9000 from within Massachusetts, or 800-888-9264 outside of Massachusetts. After hours, or in an emergency, call 781-929-6699.

When you reserve your flight using Concur, The Travel Collaborative will automatically issue you an electronic ticket. Be sure to bring a printed copy of your ticket information along with appropriate personal identification (driver’s license, passport, visa as required) when you travel.

If you use The Travel Collaborative or OT&T, remember they are a resource to you in an emergency, or if you have to make changes or need other help during your trip. In addition to helping you with mid-trip changes, these two MIT preferred travel agents will advocate on your behalf with hotels, airlines, and car rental agencies.

Document lowest fares

MIT travelers may fly business class (or first class if business class service is not offered) for all international travel, excluding Canada. See the 3.03 Air Travel section of the MIT Travel Policy. 

Select the lowest-price flight available to ensure maximum reimbursement (note that MIT will not reimburse you for airfare, hotel, rental cars, or any other travel purchased with frequent flyer miles). Do not use frequent flyer or other reward memberships as criteria for selecting an airline that is not the lowest price available from an MIT-preferred airline.

The difference between the cost of the least expensive coach fare and the cost of business class (or first class if business class is not offered on a flight) may not be charged to sponsored projects unless the sponsor explicitly allows such expenses.

The airfare difference must be itemized in travel expense reports regardless of whether the flight is charged to a non-sponsored cost object or to a sponsored account that does not allow business/first-class travel. For business/first-class travel allowed by the sponsor, it is not necessary to itemize the airfare difference.

Travelers booking directly with airlines, non-Concur online travel services, or travel agencies that are not MIT’s Preferred Travel Agencies must document the lowest available coach fare at time of booking to the destination traveled and submit this information with the completed travel expense report for proper reimbursement. Travelers using MIT’s Preferred Travel Agencies are automatically provided this documentation for fare justification.

Register your trip

Once you book your air travel, be sure to register your trip so that you can be reached in an emergency.

Visit the ICC Travel Abroad/Register your Travel page for information and a link to MIT's new Travel Registry.

You can also contact International SOS (ISOS) with medical or security needs and emergencies while abroad. The ISOS number is 215-942-8478. Save this number in the mobile telephone that you will use abroad, or download the ISOS app.

MIT's ISOS ID # is 11BSGC000066.

You should also register your trip with the country of your citizenship. All MIT travelers from the U.S. should register with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Non-U.S. citizens should register with the country of their citizenship and contact their embassy for more information.

The Details

Determine number of travelers

MIT strongly discourages traveling in groups of three or more faculty/staff members to avoid serious impact on an Institute activity in case of a catastrophic event during travel. MIT also discourages your department from booking group arrangements for more than 20 students on the same flight.

Review restrictions

If your travel is funded by a research cost object, check Kuali Coeus (if you have access) or with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for any specific travel restrictions established by the sponsor. Contact your OSP representative if you have any questions.

Note that federal funding carries requirements and restrictions for air travel:

  • You must travel on U.S. flag carrier airlines to the maximum extent possible if your trip is supported by federal funds. This may include code sharing—an arrangement between airlines through which a U.S. carrier leases space on a plane owned by a foreign carrier.
  • You cannot charge business class or first class fares to federally sponsored research projects unless the sponsor specifically approves it and you document it in your travel expense report.
  • We strongly discourage travel on non-commercial aircraft for Institute business. If you are contemplating travel on aircraft you own, operate, rent, or charter, you must obtain prior permission from the MIT Office of Insurance.

You’ll find further guidance on allowable reimbursement of direct and indirect airfare costs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 or OMB’s Uniform Guidance section 200:474.

Check for high-risk areas

Note that world events can result in considerations specific to countries, airports, or destinations. You should check the MIT International Travel Risk Policy Country Warning Levels before every international trip.

Check the Department of Homeland Security for updates on U.S. airports, including changing policies on carry-ons. Your airline may also post travel alerts.

Purchase in advance and use preferred air carriers

Reserve your air travel as soon as possible—at least 14 days in advance—to obtain advance purchase discounts on fares.

When you use MIT’s preferred air carriers, you can take advantage of negotiated fares and discounts. If you use other carriers, you must maximize savings for the Institute. In either case, book the lowest available coach fare. To get MIT’s preferred rates, use one of MIT’s preferred travel agencies The Travel Collaborative or OT&T Travel Management or book your flights on Concur, MIT's online travel booking and expense reporting tool. See details in Step #5 below.

If you are using a departmental MIT Travel Card, you must book with The Travel Collaborative (TTC) and ensure that the ticket is issued in the name of the traveler (not the name on the Travel Card).

Book through Concur or a preferred travel agency

Concur is MIT’s online travel booking and expense reporting tool. Concur makes it easy to find the lowest available fares, track and report itineraries and expenses, and sign up for automatic travel alerts.

If you want to work directly with the MIT preferred travel agency that is connected to MIT's Concur tool, call The Travel Collaborative (TTC) at 617-497-7400 for assistance. Call toll-free from North America, 1-844-445-3330; from all other locations, call 1-207-805-3340.

As an alternative to The Travel Collaborative, you may consider OT&T Travel Management for discount airfares. Call 781-890-9000 from within Massachusetts, or 800-888-9264 outside of Massachusetts. After hours, or in an emergency, call 781-929-6699.

When you reserve your flight using Concur, The Travel Collaborative will automatically issue you an electronic ticket. Be sure to bring a printed copy of your ticket information along with appropriate personal identification (driver’s license, passport, visa as required) when you travel.

If you use The Travel Collaborative or OT&T, remember they are a resource to you in an emergency, or if you have to make changes or need other help during your trip. In addition to helping you with mid-trip changes, these two MIT preferred travel agents will advocate on your behalf with hotels, airlines, and car rental agencies.

Document lowest fares

MIT travelers may fly business class (or first class if business class service is not offered) for all international travel, excluding Canada. See the 3.03 Air Travel section of the MIT Travel Policy. 

Select the lowest-price flight available to ensure maximum reimbursement (note that MIT will not reimburse you for airfare, hotel, rental cars, or any other travel purchased with frequent flyer miles). Do not use frequent flyer or other reward memberships as criteria for selecting an airline that is not the lowest price available from an MIT-preferred airline.

The difference between the cost of the least expensive coach fare and the cost of business class (or first class if business class is not offered on a flight) may not be charged to sponsored projects unless the sponsor explicitly allows such expenses.

The airfare difference must be itemized in travel expense reports regardless of whether the flight is charged to a non-sponsored cost object or to a sponsored account that does not allow business/first-class travel. For business/first-class travel allowed by the sponsor, it is not necessary to itemize the airfare difference.

Travelers booking directly with airlines, non-Concur online travel services, or travel agencies that are not MIT’s Preferred Travel Agencies must document the lowest available coach fare at time of booking to the destination traveled and submit this information with the completed travel expense report for proper reimbursement. Travelers using MIT’s Preferred Travel Agencies are automatically provided this documentation for fare justification.

Register your trip

Once you book your air travel, be sure to register your trip so that you can be reached in an emergency.

Visit the ICC Travel Abroad/Register your Travel page for information and a link to MIT's new Travel Registry.

You can also contact International SOS (ISOS) with medical or security needs and emergencies while abroad. The ISOS number is 215-942-8478. Save this number in the mobile telephone that you will use abroad, or download the ISOS app.

MIT's ISOS ID # is 11BSGC000066.

You should also register your trip with the country of your citizenship. All MIT travelers from the U.S. should register with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Non-U.S. citizens should register with the country of their citizenship and contact their embassy for more information.

Did You Know?

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