Return Flight Travel Reimbursement Questions


I have a hypothetical question I hope can be answered. Say you take a job and fly out to the port and go to sea. Once it is time to come off the boat, is it possible to instead of flying back to the airport you departed from, rather select a destination you would like to vacation in but up to the equivalent value of what your original departing location would have been (and you yourself would pay the difference out of pocket)?

Any answers appreciated, Thanks.

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That is a question for your company, not here. Most companies will only send you back to your POO (point of origin). Cost doesnt matter – liability prevails. Companies can be held responsible until you are back at your POO. Some private companies may allow adjustments, but most dont want to manage something like that, constantly checking with legal on a case-by-case basis… because it would be the same for everyone if allowed even once. Plus someone has to work on the billing aspect with the travel provider.
It also depends on customs if in a foreign country, particularly if on a transit visa.


Depends on the company and sometimes the capt. I’ve seen companies fly people to schools for upgrade classes immediately after a hitch. I have the option of cash-in-lieu of an airplane ticket and then it’s on me to get home. There are a couple guys I sail with that always do cash-in-lieu and book their own flights. Sometimes they make money off the difference, sometimes they lose.

Best bet is to ask the company before joining the ship or the Capt well before it’s time to go home.

@louisd75 has it correct. It varies from company to company, by contractual stipulations, and overall cost. Cash in Lieu depends on the distance to be traveled and what the contract says. Short distances for some contracts are bus or train travel. Longer distances, plane. Typically, from what I’ve seen working for a decent size company is that you are not going to get much better of a price on a flight than what the company can get with their corporate rate. If you want to pocket a couple hundred dollars and then rent a one way car and make the drive, you will probably break even in the end and arrive home after a long drive.

Other factors are what your standing is with the company. Have you been there for years and have a good reputation as well as some pull with the crewing coordinator. I’ve seen senior personnel pay off foreign and ask for a delayed flight home so they could visit friends or family. Again, it all depends on the circumstances and company policies.

Another thing to consider: I’ve never been bumped from a flight when dispatched by the union or MSC. Not sure how it’s accomplished but it looks like the airline will bump someone else to accomodate you no matter if it’s last minute.

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With my company the captain puts into the travel agent your return. If it’s the same price he will do it. cash instead is always given. However it’s amazing how cheap they find flight when you do that. Also you get taxed on it

You could always ask the agent nicely. When shipping commercial years ago I ‘tipped’ the agent to delay my flight by a week.

If the flight is domestic say Newark to Seattle, at APL you could request cash instead of a ticket, the amount would be small, Matson has the same policy.

A couple of comments. . . regarding cheap flights, I know most airlines offer companies a special “maritime fare”. These low cost flights do not allow anyone to accumulate frequent flier miles. Also , on a personal note, when I was sailing and living in Louisiana, I was making a move to Florida. As compensation for working extra, I petitioned the office to fly me to Lauderdale from Charleston at crew change and then home so I could go find a place to live. I got it. The advantage of a small company, for sure.

Never had that experience, and my company always uses Marine Fares.

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I have gotten miles on just about every flight I have taken in the last 15 years

I get miles on my Marine fares too. American, Delta, and United.

I’ve never heard of that. The companies i have worked for that cover travel thus far, use corporate travel vendors for booking flights. Often times for shits and giggles i have found cheaper flights with more direct routes on my own than where they go through.

I have experienced it with a US companies international operations. I was out in Africa surveying damage, and they arranged for the flight from Cameroon to Nigeria for me. Was told that there were no miles because it was a “seaman’s fare”. Could be regional. . . .

This is at the bottom of all our itineraries that come from the travel agency at our company.


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In '12 & '13 I was flying with Delta a lot & was only getting 1/2 of the frequent flyer miles but they’ve been hit or miss on it recently or perhaps my company doesn’t always get the mariners fare.

I’ve scheduled 1-3 day layovers in Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt & Amsterdam when departing Africa coming home without saying a word to my employer. I just went to the counter when I arrived in Europe & explained my circumstance & never had a problem. Once in Paris I asked for a 1 day layover but the flights were full for the next 2 days & the agent said 3 days was the best they could do so I took it. That was when I was younger & single but nowadays I just want to get home after crossing an ocean or 2.