This came about after a Facebook discussion over this article:

Abbott government cracks down on bizarre requests for help from Australian travellers:

Question 15:

15) Some travellers evacuated from civil unrest in Egypt on government funded flights questioned why they were not entitled to frequent flyer points. Similarly, some travellers evacuated from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami made seat requests, including for first class

While it's arguably cheeky asking for first class, given that when a company pays for their employees, the employees can usually get FF points, are airlines exempt from providing points in situations like this?

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    I'm not sure what Australia does, but in similar situations the US pays in advance for the evacuation - by whatever means - and bills the person being evacuated. – Michael Hampton Dec 3 '14 at 3:57
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    Gotta love a downvote with no comment. Care to elaborate on the reason? – Mark Mayo Dec 3 '14 at 7:08

The phrasing "government funded flight" suggests that the flight was chartered by the Australian government. Charter flights are not usually eligible for miles. For example, Rule 9.3.1 of Qantas's Frequent Flyer rules says:

Subject to the exclusions in clauses 9.3.2 and 9.4, Points for air travel may be earned only for paid travel or Any Seat Awards [...] on regular scheduled flights [...]

and Rule 9.4.1(c) specifically says:

9.4.1 Points are not earned for travel on [...] (c) charter flights;

The case might be different if your government buys people tickets on a regular scheduled flight, rather than chartering the whole plane. But evacuations like this are usually undertaken when scheduled flights are not operating.

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  • +1. The government is not going to buy your seats on a regular scheduled flight, and costs for charters are billed straight back to the passengers. – lambshaanxy Dec 3 '14 at 5:14
  • It's also almost certainly variable depending on local law. My guess would be that even if the German govt bought a citizen a ticket on a commercial flight, trying to claim FF miles would run afoul of the same laws that classify doing so for business travel as stealing from your employer. – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Dec 3 '14 at 14:27
  • This is an article providing some details on a 2011 flight charted by the Australian government to evacuate their citizens from Cairo. On this occasion no cost recovery was planned. – Kelly Thomas Dec 3 '14 at 16:48
  • Conversely this article states that the Canadian, US and UK governments planned to recover costs from citizens assisted in fleeing the same unrest. – Kelly Thomas Dec 3 '14 at 16:54

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