Traveler Updates

News

What you need to know…

IMPORTANT NEW TRAVEL ALERT!

FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pros from All Flights

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is explicitly banning certain MacBook Pro models on flights (both as cargo or carry-ons) because of faulty lithium batteries that pose a fire risk. Banned models include 15-inch MacBook Pros sold between September, 2015 and February, 2017.

The mandate is not unlike the FAA’s ban of the infamous Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone. Unlike Samsung’s Note 7, however, which had distinct design characteristics to set it apart from other phones, there’s no easy way to tell at a glance which MacBook Pros should be stopped: a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro that has a problematic recalled lithium battery looks just like a 15-inch 2015, 2016 or 2017 model that doesn’t.

It’s not immediately known how many MacBook Pros will be affected by the ban. About 432,000 MacBook Pros with faulty batteries were sold in the U.S., while an additional 26,000 were sold in Canada.

Some international carriers also have banned MacBook Pros. Four airlines with cargo operations managed by Total Cargo Expertise—TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy and Air Transat—have likewise recently barred these laptops from flying as cargo.

Actual enforcement of the FAA ban will inevitably prove problematic, since the only means of identifying affected MacBook Pros is through the device’s serial number. Because of this, Bloomberg reports, “It’s unclear what efforts will, if any, be made at U.S. airports.” That said, arbitrary confiscation of all MacBook Pros remains a possibility unless travelers can provide verification that their laptop is not among the affected units.

To ensure that you travel safely and that your laptop is not arbitrarily confiscated, visit Apple's recall page (please see link below) and enter your unit’s serial number (found by clicking the small Apple logo in the upper-left corner of the menu bar and then clicking "About This Mac").

https://support.apple.com/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall If your unit is not at issue, print and take validation from the Apple website to the airport with your laptop!

2019 Mileage Rate Change

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the standard mileage reimbursement rate for employee travel will be 58 cents per mile, up 3.5 cents from 2018. The Office of the State Comptroller Guide to Financial Information contains additional mileage information and the link is provided here.

Lodging over per justification policy

On occasion, travelers may be unable to find a hotel at a rate that does not exceed the maximum federal lodging per-diem rate for the location of the travel event. If that occurs, travelers must obtain PRIOR WRITTEN approval from his/her finance office to exceed the federal rate using the Request and Authorization form (R&A). On the R&A form, there is space available to give such a justification.

If staying at a hotel that is over the area's lodging per-diem, this needs to be justified on the R&A form before the trip occurs or traveler will only be eligible for reimbursement of the area's lodging per-diem.

Conference site-hotel that houses any conference/meeting events; staying at the conference site does not need to be pre-justified.

Conference recommended hotel-host hotel(s) for the conference/meeting-staying in host hotels does need to be pre-justified on R&A (again, before trip)

NYS OSC wants the traveler to show that the lodging that was obtained was at the most economical room rate possible-compare 3 like hotels, pick the cheapest and document on R&A before the travel event.

NY State Mandated Termination of Cash Advance for Travel

Effective immediately, as required by the NYS Office of the State Comptroller and SUNY System Administration, State agencies are no longer permitted to issue Travel Advances to State employees due to a State initiative to save on banking costs through the reduction in the number of bank accounts. In addition, dated technology could no longer be maintained and had become an operational risk. The campus Travel Department, within the Business Office, will continue to assist travelers with their lodging and transportation needs by issuing air/lodging control numbers and purchase orders. 

State travel to Mississippi prohibited until further notice regardless of fund source

Be advised that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order banning non-essential travel to Mississippi. Any state travel, regardless of the funding source, to Mississippi will be banned unless necessary for the enforcement of New York state law, to meet prior contractual obligations or for the protection of public health, welfare and safety. If you have questions, contact the Travel Office at 607-777-4660 or 607-777-2039. You may view a copy of the Executive Order at the following link:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/EO_156_Mississippi.pdf

Reminder that State travel to North Carolina prohibited until further notice regardless of fund source

Be advised that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recently issued Executive Order banning non-essential travel to North Carolina is still in effect. Any state travel, regardless of the funding source, to North Carolina will be banned unless necessary for the enforcement of New York state law, to meet prior contractual obligations or for the protection of public health, welfare and safety. If you have questions, please contact the Travel Office at 777-4660 or 777-2039. You may view a copy of the Executive Order at the following link:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-155-prohibiting-state-funded-or-state-sponsored-travel-north-carolina

NYS OSC Travel Tips

While it is difficult to summarize the Travel rules and guidelines as outlined by the New York State Office of the State Comptroller, here's a quick NYS OSC traveler tips to help! When in doubt, contact the Travel Office for any clarification.

Travel policy changes effective April 1, 2015 per New York State Office of the State Comptroller are as follows:

- Expense reports must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the travel event.

-Travelers must provide receipts with expense reports in accordance with the chart below:

Expense Type Documentation Required*

Charge on the State Travel Card

Receipt

Transportation by Common Carrier (e.g. train, bus, airplane, subway)

Ticket stub if purchase price is printed on the stub; receipt and ticket stub if purchase price is not printed on the stub
Taxi Receipt
Rental Car Receipt showing return time
Tolls - EZ Pass EZ pass statement with applicable charges indicated
Tolls - Cash Receipt
Gas Receipt
Day Trip Meals - Receipted Receipt
Hotels - Receipted Receipt
Miscellaneous and incidental expenses Receipt

The "no receipts necessary for miscellaneous items up to $75" rule is no longer in effect. Please keep any and all receipts from your travel event to make sure you are reimbursed for everything coverable per the NYS OSC travel guidelines and manual.

Here's a link to the notice from NYS OSC:

http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/travel_advisories/travel_advisory3.htm