Obviously, participating in travel abroad involves flights. Our International Logistics Team is here to make the whole experience smooth, easy to understand, and remove any uncertainty or concern for both the travelers and their families. Read on to discover how flights work.

The first step is choosing your trip: after you fill out our online registration form and pay the deposit, we will contact you to walk you through all the details for booking your flights, paperwork, travel insurance, and to go over any other questions you may have. We offer chaperoned flights to almost all of our destinations.

CHAPERONED GROUP FLIGHTS

TFT staff chaperones the travelers on designated group flights to and from the start and end of the trip.

More About Chaperoned Group Flights

Our International Logistics Team arranges group flights on almost every trip. In the few instances that a chaperoned group flight is not available, we pick non-stop flight paths for ease of travel.

The vast majority of our travelers choose to travel on our group flights. Some other students either travel independently or meet us directly at the destination.

Travel on the group flights offers some real advantages, such as:

  • Travelers begin bonding with their group while traveling to their destination
  • TFT takes care of booking the flight and dealing with any airline-imposed changes or cancellations
  • You enjoy peace of mind knowing that your child is looked after all the way from point A to point B
  • You can often use your Miles or Rewards Points to book your group flight through TFT 

In order to achieve this supervision and to keep prices as reasonable as possible, we do not always choose non-stop flights.

For a select handful of trips to Europe, we designate a specific flight path (usually non-stop) which will be the group flight, but we may not have a TFT staff member on the flight itself. In a situation like this, we provide a staff member at the departing airport to help all the travelers to check in and make sure everybody went through security smoothly. At the destination airport, a TFT representative will be waiting for the students just on the other side of security and, after making sure everybody collected their baggage, will bring the group to the hotel.

For regional specific information please see below:

EUROPE

All of our group flights to Europe, except for Scotland and Ireland, use Newark International Airport (EWR) and will fly on either United or Lufthansa. All of the flights on the outbound are overnight flights i.e. they land in the morning the following day. On the inbound i.e. the return, all of the flights land the same day they take off.

SOUTH AFRICA

Our group flight to South Africa departs from JFK Airport and will fly on South African Airways  (which is a codeshare with United Airlines) to Johannesburg International Airport (JNB). Both the inbound and outbound flights are overnight flights i.e. they depart JFK day 1 and land day 2 and they depart JNB day 18 and land at JFK day 19.  

THAILAND, VIETNAM, CAMBODIA, AND LAOS

All of our group flights to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and will fly on either China Eastern or Air China. All of the flights on the outbound are overnight flights i.e. they land in the morning the following day. The group flights take off just after midnight on the departure day i.e. if the trip is June 27th-July 13th, the group flight leaves at 1:40AM on June 27th meaning your child will need to get to LAX airport on the evening of June 26th to make the flight. On the inbound flight i.e. the return, all of the flights land the same day they take off because they cross the international date line.

CHINA

All of our group flights to China use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and will fly on either China Eastern or Air China. All of the flights on the outbound are overnight flights i.e. they land in the morning the following day. The group flights take off just after midnight on the departure day i.e. if the trip is June 27th-July 13th, the group flight leaves at 1:40AM on June 27th meaning your child will need to get to LAX airport on the evening of June 26th to make the flight. On the inbound flight i.e. the return, all of the flights land the same day they take off because they cross the international date line.

JAPAN

All of our international group flights to Japan use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and will fly on Singapore Airlines on their non-stop flight path to Tokyo (NRT). The flights on the outbound i.e. departing the USA, are overnight flights meaning they land in the morning the following day. On the inbound flight i.e. the return, the flight lands the same day it takes off because it crosses the international date line.

FIJI

All of our international group flights to Fiji use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and will fly on Fiji Airways on their non-stop flight path to Nadi (NAN). The flights on the outbound i.e. going to the trip, are overnight flights meaning they land in the morning, two days after they depart because of the international date line i.e. they take off from LAX on July 13th just before midnight and land in Fiji in the early morning hours of July 15th. On the inbound flight i.e. the return, the group flight will land before it takes off (strange, we know) because it will cross the international date line. For example, the group flight is scheduled to depart Nadi International Airport (NAN) at approximately 10pm on July 29th and will land at LAX at approximately 1:30pm on that same day. Please note these are approximate times, the actual flight departure and arrival times may vary slightly but it helps explain how this flight interacts with the international date line.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

All of our international group flights to Australia & New Zealand use Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and will fly on Air New Zealand. The flights on the outbound i.e. going to the trip, are overnight flights meaning they land in the morning, two days after they depart because of the international date line i.e. they take off from LAX on June 24th in the evening and land in New Zealand in the early morning hours of June 26. On the inbound flight i.e. the return, the group flight will land the same day it takes off because it will cross the international date line. For example the group flight is scheduled to depart Sydney International Airport (SYD) at approximately 10pm on July 13th and will land at LAX at approximately 1:30pm the same day. Please note these are approximate times, the actual flight departure and arrival times may vary slightly but it helps explain how this flight interacts with the international date line.

PERU

All of our group flights to Peru use Miami International Airport (MIA) and will fly on American Airlines on non stop flights from Miami to Lima.

COSTA RICA, PANAMA, AND NICARAGUA

All of our group flights to Central America use Miami International Airport (MIA) and will fly American Airlines on non-stop flights from Miami to San Jose (SJO) and Panama City (PTY).

GROUP FLIGHT CONTRACTS

For most of our chaperoned group flights to Europe, we are able to obtain a group contract with the airline and, therefore, we can guarantee a fixed price for the ticket. For these flights, full payment for the airfare is due within 30 days of registration, and may be due earlier depending on the time of year.

The number of tickets on the group contract is usually limited. Seats are subject to availability on a first come, first served basis and cannot be guaranteed within 90 days of a trip departure.

“PRICED LIVE” AND COMBO TRIP FLIGHTS

When a group contract is unavailable, group flight tickets are “priced live”, meaning that the price is determined only at the moment of purchase. TFT does have access to student fares for most flights and will pass these savings on to you.

More About Priced Live and Combo Flights

If your child’s group flight path does not have a group flight contract, you can decide to have us purchase the flight for you or, if you prefer, you can purchase it yourself. If you decide to book the ‘price live’ tickets through us, you will first need to provide us your child’s passport information and then we will research a quote for you.

The flight prices are subject to change until the ticket has been paid for and officially booked. You can pay us by overnight check or credit card. Please note that any payment made by credit card or Paypal to TFT, other than for the initial deposit, will incur a 3% convenience fee for Visa, Mastercard and Discover and 4% for American Express.

If you purchase the tickets through TFT, if you need to cancel or change the reservation, we do this for you, but you (not TFT) are still subject to any cancellation or change fees the airline applies.

If you decide to book the tickets yourself, either on the group flight path or not, it is important that you first contact our International Logistics Team to make sure that the flights you are booking are correct.

If there are any issues with an independently purchased ticket, we may not be able to help you deal with the airline.

If your child is traveling on more than one trip (so-called ‘combo-trip’), his/her flights are priced live: your child will be flying with the first group to the start of their first trip and back to the States with the second (or third) group.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

Domestic flights are any flights within the United States needed to meet the group at the departure or arrival airport. For example, if you live in Chicago and would like to join our group flight to Italy, you’ll need a domestic flight to Newark to meet up with our group.

More About Domestic Flights

Before making any reservations, if your child needs to fly from home to the departure airport and back, we require you to check in with our International Logistics Team. If you prefer TFT to assist you in choosing and booking the domestic flights, we are happy to help you out with it. There’s a $50 booking fee for any flight reservation that is not on the group flight path.

Please note that we require all travelers flying into a departure airport to land 4 hours before the group flight is scheduled to depart.  Upon return, please leave a minimum of 2 hours to clear customs and make it to a connecting flight.

We charge a booking fee as it takes extra time for us to research and book flights on a case by case basis: for this fee, we will also take care of any flight change from the airline, or help you to make any change in the reservation.

INDEPENDENT FLIGHTS

An independent flight is when your child flies internationally on a path different than the group flight, and not under the supervision of a TFT staff member.

More About Independent Flights

As already mentioned, joining a TFT group flight is not required, but only recommended. Flying independently almost always results in additional transportation costs for our staff and for your child when they arrived at the destination. For this reason, if your child is not flying on the group flight, there is an independent flight fee of $100 per person, per direction.

Before making any reservations, it is important that you contact our International Logistics Team via email or phone and discuss your flight options.

UNACCOMPANIED MINORS – FEES AND EXPECTATIONS

Some families choose to send their children on independent (domestic or international) flights as an ‘unaccompanied minor’. Every airline has a different policy regarding the ages and flight paths that are eligible for this service, as well as the fees involved. If you are booking your own flights, please contact the airline directly to enquire about their unaccompanied minor policies.

More About Unaccompanied Minors

While TFT can provide you the name of the staff member who will be meeting your child or dropping them off, TFT cannot arrange an unaccompanied minor service for you. This is something that the legal guardians of the student must do themselves. Please note that the specific TFT staff person meeting your child may not be finalized until one week before their flight.

At the time you book your child as an unaccompanied minor, we will likely give you the name of the person we expect to be in charge on that day but please know that person could change. It is your responsibility to check in with the TFT office one week before any unaccompanied flight to reconfirm who will be meeting your child or dropping them off.

Whenever a student travels as an unaccompanied minor, we will need to bring additional staff to the airport to handle the added responsibilities. If we have to pay for an additional staff member to go to the airport, an additional $100 charge will be billed to the parent.

Note: When you book your child as an unaccompanied minor on a domestic or inbound international flight, you accept that the TFT staff member in charge of your child will be dedicated to getting them on their return flight and as a result there may be additional costs. For example a.) if your child’s flight causes TFT to have to purchase a more expensive flight for the counselor in order for them to stay with your child until their flight takes off, you will be responsible for the difference in airfare for the counselors more expensive flight or b.) if due to a flight delay, the counselor in charge of your child misses their originally scheduled flight and has to purchase a new ticket, you will be responsible for this counselor’s new plane ticket or c.) if in a worst case scenario, your child’s flight is cancelled all together and an alternative flight path cannot be found that same day so your child and the counselor need to spend an extra day in the departure city at an airport hotel, the parent will be responsible for the counselor’s new plane ticket, the extra night accommodation, meals and any additional airport transportation costs incurred by this travel delay.

GROUP FLIGHT DEPARTURE CITIES

Official TFT Group Flight Airports and the regions they serve:

Newark, NJ (EWR): All trips to Europe (except Scotland & Ireland)

New York City (JFK): All trips to South Africa and Scotland & Ireland

Los Angeles, CA (LAX): All trips in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji

Miami, FL (MIA): All Costa Rica, Peru, Panama and Nicaragua trips

INTRA-TRIP FLIGHTS

Some trips (such as Discover Europe) include flights during the trip between the different cities visited on the trip. These flights within trips are called ‘intra-trip flights’.

More About Intra-Trip Flights

All of these flights are chaperoned by TFT staff and are booked by our International Logistics Team with the (usually nominal) fare charged to the student’s family. You will be invoiced for these flights at the time of registration (or once the group flight information is finalized).

If you book a trip with intra-trip flights within 90 days of departure, these intra-trip flights are subject to fluctuations in price. Due to the volatility of airline fuel prices, occasionally the airline will impose a fuel surcharge at the time of ticketing: f this should happen, we will notify you in late Spring of any additional costs.

Please see below a list of all intra-trip flights and their estimated costs:

EUROPE

Berlin, Paris and London: flight from Berlin (TXL) to Paris (CDG) – $200

Discover Europe: flights from Barcelona (BCN) to Rome (FCO) and from Pisa (PSA) to Paris (ORY) – $350

Sicily Community Service: round trip flights from Rome (FCO) to Catania (CTA) – $350

Spain Language: Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona: flights from Madrid (MAD) to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) and from Palma de Mallorca (PMI) to Barcelona (BCN) – $400

Spain Discovery: flight from Sevilla (SVQ) to Barcelona (BCN) – $200

Barcelona & Paris: flight from Barcelona (BCN) to Paris (CDG) – $200

Scotland & Ireland:  flight from Edinburgh (EDI) to Dublin (DUB) – $200

 

ASIA AND OCEANIA

Australia and New Zealand: flights from Rockhampton (ROK) to Cairns (CNS) and from Cairns (CNS) to Sydney (SYD) – $550

Thailand Service and Adventure: flights from Bangkok (BKK) to Chiang Mai (CNX), from Chiang Mai (CNX) to Phuket (HKT) and from Phuket (HKT) to Bangkok (BKK) – $450

Thailand Elephant Service and Explorers: (insert here) – $300

Thailand Elephant Service and the Islands: (insert here) – $750

Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia: (insert here)  – $750

China Discovery: flights from Xi’an (XIY) to Chengdu (CTU) and from Chengdu (CTU) to Beijing (PEK) – $450

 

AFRICA

South Africa Community Service: flights from Cape Town (CPT) to East London (ELS) and from East London (ELS) to Nelspruit (MQP) – $450

INTER-TRIP FLIGHTS

If your child is signed up for more than one trip, he/she most likely will be flying between trips (i.e. your first trip ends in Rome and your next trip begins in London). We call flights between trips ‘inter-trip flights’ and our Flight Coordinators will arrange and book your child’s flight between trips for you (you are responsible for the cost of these flights).

More About Inter-Trip Flights

The vast majority of flights between trips will be chaperoned by TFT staff. If we don’t have a counselor available to chaperone one or more students from a trip to the following one, we will contact you to go through the different options (this usually happens in mid-May, once our staffing is finalized).

If there is a train between the two trips, we call this an “inter-trip train”. All inter-trip trains are chaperoned. For regional specific information please see below:

Europe

If your child is doing two or more trips within Europe, we begin to look hard at the inter-trip flights between the trips in April and May, as we begin to finalize our staffing. Most of the time, a flight is required between two trips ( inter-trip flight) and our Flight Coordinators will book the connecting flights for you.

We do try to match up our staffing decisions to cover the chaperoning of these inter-trip flights and trains as often as we can, but, with the vast number of combinations, there may be flight paths where we may not have a staff member flying between two cities.

If this situation arises where we do not have a counselor flying between the two trips your child is scheduled to take, once we have finalized our staff for the summer (i.e. by May 15), we will contact you and offer you a choice to either 1.) pay for a counselor to accompany your child from airport A to airport B or 2.) have your child’s counselor bring your child to airport A, help them check in and stay at the airport until the flight has taken off and then have a counselor waiting for them at airport B for when they land to meet them, help them collect their luggage and accompany them to the next the hotel where the next trip begins.

Once the family has approved their child’s inter-trip flight path, we will invoice them for the flights and purchase them once payment has been received. Please note that also these flights are priced live, so the cost may vary till the moment of purchase.

Central America

If your child is doing two or more trips within Central America (i.e. Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Peru), you will notice that there is an extra day between trips. This is intentional to allow our counselors to make sure everyone has left the previous trip before anyone from the next trip arrives. We spend this overnight day in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji

If your child is doing two or more trips within Asia, Australia, New Zealand and/or Fiji, we begin to look at the flights between the trips in late spring as we begin to finalize our staffing. Most of the time, a flight is required between two trips. This is called an ‘inter-trip’ flight and our TFT Flight Coordinators will book the connecting flights for you.

We do try to match up our staffing decisions to cover the chaperoning of these inter-trip flights as often as we can but with the vast number of combinations, there may be flight paths where we may not have a staff member flying between two cities. If this situation arises where we do not have a counselor flying between the two trips your child is scheduled to take, once we have finalized our staff for the summer (i.e. by May 15), we will contact you and offer you a choice to either 1.) pay for a counselor to accompany your child from airport A to airport B or 2.) have your child’s counselor bring your child to airport A, help them check in and stay at the airport until the flight has taken off and then have a counselor waiting for them at airport B for when they land to meet them, help them collect their luggage and accompany them to the next the hotel where the next trip begins.

Once the family has approved their child’s inter-trip flight path, we will invoice them for the flights and purchase them once payment has been received. Please note that also these flights are priced live, so the cost may vary till the moment of the purchase.

South Africa to Europe

If your child is doing our South Africa Community Service trip plus a Session Three trip in Europe, your child will need to be able to fly between Johannesburg International Airport and their destination in Europe on their own.

A TFT counselor will not chaperone this flight, but our South Africa counselors will help your child check in and stay at the airport until the flight has taken off, and a counselor will be waiting for them at their European destination when they land to meet them at the airport, help them collect their luggage and accompany them to the next the hotel where the next trip begins.

Once the family has approved their child’s inter-trip flight path, we will invoice them for the flights and purchase them once payment has been received. Please note that also these flights are priced live, so the cost may vary till the moment of the purchase.

MEETING/LEAVING THE GROUP

If you, or a family member/friend, is driving your child at the departure airport to meet the group, we recommend you to be there about 3-4 hours before the group flight taking off. The exact time and place will be emailed a week before the trip departure.

More About Meeting/Leaving the Group

If another family member or a family friend is bringing your child at the airport or picking him/her up at the end of the trip, please remember to add their contact information in the transportation information form (part of the paperwork).

If your child is flying in to one of our gateway cities mentioned above to meet a group flight, we recommend that the student have at least 4 hours between when their domestic flight lands and when the group flight takes off (i.e. if the group flight leaves at 6pm, the student’s connecting domestic flight should land by 2pm).

At the end of your child’s trip, if your child is returning to the USA on a group flight, we recommend that the student’s connecting domestic flight depart at least 2-3 hours after the group flight lands (i.e. if the group flight  lands at 4pm, the student’s connecting domestic flight should not be booked to leave the airport before 6pm. This two hours usually is enough to land, collect their bags, go through passport control and exit customs before checking in for their flight home).

The TFT staff at the airport on the return are there to assist your child in making their way to their connecting flight and to help them in the unlikely event that they may have missed their connection.

JOINING/PICKING UP DIRECTLY AT THE DESTINATION

If you prefer your child to meet up with the group or be picked up by your family directly at the hotel or at the airport abroad, this is perfectly fine with us. It is important that you coordinate the plan with our International Logistics Team so we can note it in your file.

At least one week before the drop off or pick up, we ask that you contact your child’s Trip Director to finalize the plans for the drop off day and pick up day. You will have plenty of correspondence with your Trip Director in advance of the trip so this will be easy to coordinate.

FLYING IN A DAY EARLY OR FLYING OUT A DAY LATE

If your child cannot arrive at the airport in time to meet the group or if, at the end of the trip, he/she cannot get a connecting flight home, your child can fly in the night before the trip or fly out the morning after the trip.

More About Flying in Early or Late

Outbound Flights (departing for the trip)

If your child cannot catch a flight that gives them at least 4 hours before the group flight, you can elect to fly them in the day before the flight and spend the night at an airport hotel chaperoned by a TFT staff person.

The cost for this service is about $150-$300 depending on the airport: if your child is the only one flying in early, the fee will be $300 to cover the cost of their room as well as the room for the TFT staff person who will come to the airport one day early to take care of them. If there are two or more students spending the night, the fee is $150 per person.

We can take care of booking the hotel for you, but if you have family or friends living in the airport area, you can make arrangements with them. The name and phone number of the airport hotel coordinator will be emailed to you at least one week ahead of departure.

Inbound (Returning from the trip)

If your child cannot catch a flight that gives them at least 2-3 hours between when the group flight lands and their individual flight takes off, you can elect to have them spend the night chaperoned by a TFT staff member at a nearby airport hotel.

The cost for this service is between $150-$300 depending on the airport. If your child is the only one spending the night at the airport on the return, the fee will be $300 to cover the cost of their room as well as the room for the TFT staff person who will take care of them and get them on the plane the next day. If there are two or more students spending the night, the fee is $150 per person.

We can take care of booking the hotel for you and make sure your child gets on their domestic flight the next day, but if you have family or friends living in the airport area, you can also make arrangements with them.

FREQUENT FLYER POINTS AND TRADES

If you have enough Frequent Flyer points to purchase a flight, you can use them either to purchase your child’s airfare or trade them for booking a ticket for one of our counselors and get a credit or refund.

For more details, please email help@travelforteens.com or call us at 484-654-1032.

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