How will students travel to our Team?
AFS students will travel to the domestic airport(s) linked to your team. Once a student is placed and our Regional Field Specialist staff have confirmed school end dates, our partners abroad are sent an email with the airport and arrival/departure dates. Given flight schedules/routing challenges, some students may not be able to be through-ticketed--or may travel on a date other than the planned arrival date (for NH22 the planned arrival dates for CORE (non-Sponsored Programs) participants are 10-Aug-22 and 08-Sep-22). Our Travel and Logistics Coordination team will work closely with our sending partners to provide guidance with bookings to ensure they meet our booking requirements. As most students will be through-ticketed, in many cases, their arrivals will be later in the evening.
For NH22 participants, in May 2022, AFS-USA began notifying our partners of airports ("Host Distribution Sites") and arrival/return dates for all family placement confirmed (FPC) and placed without papers (PWP) placements. Some partners will choose to book travel as they receive this information while others will wait until most of their students have a fully compliant placement (FPC) and/or students have their visa appointments/visas in hand. Therefore, while some participants’ travel details will be available in Global Link sooner, we expect that international flight details for all participants will be viewable in Global Link approximately two weeks prior to arrival.
With the impact of COVID on international and domestic travel, we are asking our partners to purchase through tickets to the Host Distribution Site (HDS) linked to each student. The HDS is the major airport within your team. Please note that, with through ticketing, many teams will have domestic flights arriving later in the evening as it is often impossible to fly non-stop to your HDS.
Some AFS Sending Partners will not be able to through-ticket based on flight availability which may mean that your participant will need to stay overnight in a major gateway prior to boarding a domestic flight the following day. Travel Staff will communicate exactly when you should expect your student to arrive to your HDS.
Given geographic size, some teams have more than one airport associated with the team. Other teams have multiple major airports within/next to their teams (i.e., EWR/JFK). The Travel and Logistics Coordination (TLC) team has worked with the Field staff to confirm and link students.
In advance of your student’s arrival, your area team (Hosting Coordinator and/or Area Team Chair) will be requested to review (or assign one of the volunteers within the team to review) the following:
- Review the HDS/Airport link for your student(s) to ensure they are linked to the correct arrival airport.
- This is found on the placement detail screen in Global Link; If they are not, please contact TLC immediately.
- For NH21, HDS’ have been updated to reflect the airport code(s) for your team.
- In past years, we have used some made up codes for charter buses or to delineate teams sharing an airport.
- As our partners will be purchasing tickets to these locations, they need to be an official airport code.
- All international and domestic travel will be visible in GL/My AFS as in previous years.
- We expect that international travel will be visible approximately two weeks prior to arrival but could be days before our arrival date as partners will wait until a student has their visa in hand.
- To ensure options for flights and reduce the use of small airports, host families will be expected to drive up to 2 – 2 ½ hours for pick-ups.
- Note: Return tickets will also depart from the HDS
- AFS Sending Partner will be sent an email to purchase the domestic ticket to the HDS. Once the ticket is issued, the HDS cannot be changed.
- Some partners may wait until the student(s) have their visa before purchasing tickets.
Each area team must have one volunteer that is affiliated as the Travel Rep regardless of the airport pick up/arrival orientation model you chose to do. For larger teams you may also have an Arrival Coordinator to work with the Travel Rep to organize student arrivals. With smaller numbers, for many teams, this may also be the Orientation Coordinator. Having a Travel Rep affiliation allows TLC to easily pull a list of who is responsible for arrivals out of Global Link and notify this person of travel information/delays. The job description can be found here. This is the person that TLC will contact on the day of travel, even if they are not doing the airport meet/greet.
For guidance on the Arrival Orientation, including updating your Arrival Orientation details in the Activity Module and linking students please refer to the Arrivals Orientation page.
Area Teams are kindly requested to ensure that their Travel Representative, Arrival Coordinator and pick-up volunteer are confirmed with TLC and/or affiliated in Global Link two weeks before a scheduled arrival.
Travel Representative Training Resources