Travel Procedures (Day of Flight)

5 min. readlast update: 05.23.2024

We manage travel so you don’t have to! Learn more about the support AMIGOS provides, what to expect, and how the process works below.  

Let the adventure begin - your flight to your project site is the start of your AMIGOS experience!

Our Travel Team is thrilled to support volunteers on both their departure and return travel days to help ensure their travel experience is as smooth as possible - though with travel, it is always best to expect the unexpected. On AMIGOS Travel Days, gateway cities (IAH - Houston, TX & PTY - Panama City, Panama) will be staffed with at least one AMIGOS Team Member to help support volunteer connections. Additionally, the AMIGOS Travel Hotline is a 24/7 support line that volunteers and families can call on travel days to receive additional travel support (perhaps you can't find your AMIGOS group at the airport, your flight got canceled or delayed, or you have missed your flight - the AMIGOS Travel Hotline is there to help!)

For additional information on our day-of travel procedures, protocols, and reminders, please see the Travel Memos linked below. The AMIGOS Travel Team will also email this travel memo and your flight itinerary.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an additional cost to check luggage?

  • This depends on the volunteer's final destination - a checked bag is included for some of our project destinations, but not for all. It is best to check the airlines baggage fees policy ahead of your travel day to confirm if there will be an additional cost.

Can we pay baggage fees with cash rather than with a credit/debit card?

  • No - all baggage fees paid for at the airport must be paid for with a credit or debit card. The airline will not accept cash as a payment method. Families may be able to add a checked bag to the reservation online ahead of time rather than paying at the airport.

If multiple people are flying from one area at the same time, will they sit together on the flight?

  • Not necessarily! While we do our best to seat volunteers together on all flights, this depends on seat availability at the time of booking. However, in almost all instances, volunteers traveling from the same home airport will at least be on the same flight together to their gateway city (either IAH or PTY, depending on your project).

Will there be AMIGOS Staff at the airport in the gateway cities (either Houston, Texas or Panama City, Panama)?

  • Yes, on all travel days, there will be at least one AMIGOS staff member at the gateway city airport (either IAH or PTY) to support volunteers with their connections and to ensure all volunteers board their international flight to their project site. In the event of overnight delays, AMIGOS staff facilitate a chaperoned hotel stay and handle flight rebooking.

What kind of airport support will the volunteers have while traveling?  

  • Volunteers will be able to call AMIGOS staff via our Travel Hotline if they encounter any delays, canceled flights, or if they are trying to find the AMIGOS group at the airport. AMIGOS staff will remain at the connection airports until all AMIGOS flights have taken off. The AMIGOS team will handle any flights that need to be rebooked due to cancellation, delay, missed flight, etc. Should an overnight stay in a connecting city (Houston, Panama City) become necessary, AMIGOS staff will facilitate a chaperoned stay at a nearby airport hotel and ensure that the volunteer(s) catch their rescheduled flight.

Does an AMIGOS staff member fly with the volunteers? 

  • An AMIGOS staff member will be on any international flight with our projects for 13-14 year olds (Costa Rica: Montanas y Mar) due to the Unaccompanied Minor Protocol set by the airline.
  • An AMIGOS staff member will not be on the U.S. domestic feeder flights nor the international flight for our projects for 15-19 year olds . However, there will be AMIGOS staff members in connecting airports such as Houston and Panama City to support with connections and staff members to meet volunteers at their final destination.  

What is a red-eye flight? How will a volunteer know if their flight is a red-eye?

  •  A red-eye is a flight that travels overnight. In rare instances, a volunteer may need to leave the night before their project start date to begin their travels to their final destination. When you receive your flight itinerary, please pay close attention to the dates listed to know when your flight is departing from your home airport. For example, if your project starts on June 8th, and your first flight is on June 8th at 12:30 AM, you will need to arrive at the airport on the night of June 7th.

When will AMIGOS send out the flight itinerary and the travel memo?

  • The AMIGOS Travel Memo and volunteer flight itinerary will be emailed no later than two weeks before your project start date, so long as all payments, volunteer paperwork, and pre-departure trainings have been completed. Please plan to print the Travel Memo and flight itinerary and bring these items with you to the airport for your travel day along with other important travel documents (print out list included on the Travel Memo).

Will AMIGOS volunteers receive their phones back the day before departure so that they can be charged for use on their Travel Day?

  • AMIGOS Project Staff will ensure that all volunteers have access to their cell phones with ample time to charge them before traveling back home. 

 

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