On Departure Day
*** If your child is traveling domestically, they do not need to bring a passport.
If traveling internationally, please make absolutely certain that your child has a passport (and visa if traveling to a country that requires it). If your child arrives at the airport without a passport he/she will be unable to board the flight. We may be unable to stay with him/her and only able to arrange a hotel room, possibly alone, so please make sure the passport is with the child, readily available (not in checked luggage), and double-check to make sure you didn’t inadvertently grab a family member’s passport by mistake.
All TFT travelers should wear the colored Travel For Teens tee shirt on the day of travel. Wearing the shirts helps to ensure safety, as it makes our group instantly recognizable as we are moving through airports. Students may cut up or otherwise decorate their TFT tee shirt any way they want to as long as we can see the color and TFT logo on the front!
If you are being dropped off at destination to meet us at the start of the trip, these instructions apply to you:
Prior to departure, please email your Trip Director to confirm the time and place that you need to be met by TFT staff. It is crucial that we have arranged together a specific time and place to meet you. Please make sure we have your phone number that will work in the country where you are meeting us and also that you arrive at the appointed time. Arrival day is very scheduled so it is ideal for all involved if things go as planned.
If you are arriving independently by plane on a domestic flight to a US trip, these instructions apply to you:
Prior to departure, please email your Trip Director to confirm the time and place that you need to be met by TFT staff. Please turn on your cell phone as soon as the plane lands so it can search for a connecting signal. Please make sure that you have the trip director’s phone number (listed in the email), and the TFT toll-free number (+1-888-457-4534, option 3) saved in your phone. You should also have WhatsApp downloaded on your phone and have joined the group chat for your trip. Contact your Trip Director as soon as you land, via text message or WhatsApp chat (if you have wifi only).
You should proceed from the plane to collect your luggage and then exit the secure area. Ask airport staff for assistance if you are unsure what to do or where to go. As soon as you emerge, look for our staff person wearing an orange TFT Staff tee shirt. Please do not leave the immediate area where you emerge until you have met up with your TFT staff person. If you do not see the staff person, please call your trip director or the toll-free number (+1-888-457-4534, option 3).
If you are traveling on the group flight and flying into the domestic departure airport beforehand, these instructions apply to you:
As soon as your flight arrives, turn on your cell phone and contact your airport coordinator to let them know you have arrived.
If you are traveling on the same airline as the group flight, arriving in the same (or a connected) terminal and have already checked in for the group flight, you can either exit security to meet the staff, or remain inside security until the staff brings the rest of the group through. There may already be a staff person inside security at a designated meeting point (usually the departure gate). It is imperative that the travelers use WhatsApp to communicate with their staff about where to meet once they arrive. You must make sure that your baggage is checked all the way through to your final destination and that you have a boarding pass for the group flight. If either of those things is not true, you will need to reclaim and recheck your baggage, and check back in with the airline to get your boarding pass. You may need to exit security in order to do so.
If you are arriving on a different airline than the group flight, or need to change terminals. After deplaning, follow the signs to baggage claim and collect your luggage. Once you have your luggage, head to the check-in counter (Ticketing) for your group flight airline, which is listed in the email. When you arrive at the departure airport, please do not stop or go anywhere else besides the meeting point. We have a list of travelers with their flights and times of arrival, so we are expecting you to meet us as soon as you can and will be waiting for you to check you in for the next flight. Go directly to the Ticketing counter for your departing airline (listed in the email) and find your flight coordinator and your group. The TFT staff will be wearing their orange Travel For Teens Staff tee shirts. Please make sure you have the TFT staff contact phone numbers (listed in the email) with you, preferably programmed into your cell
NOTE!!! If you or your parents are worried that you are unable to get yourself to the group meeting point, follow these additional instructions. If you get to the airport and cannot make your way to the meeting point, we ask that the teen traveler send a text via WhatsApp to the airport coordinator to let them know they need help. Parents – we ask that the teen travelers all have downloaded and be familiar with WhatsApp ahead of departure to facilitate communication easily. If the teen traveler arrives and cannot make their way on their own from the plane to the meeting point, the teen traveler should contact the airport coordinator directly and we will come meet them at the closest baggage claim. Please note, we cannot pre-arrange for every traveler to be met.
If you are traveling on the group flight and getting dropped off at the departure airport, these instructions apply to you:
Please meet at the Ticketing area for the departure airline, listed in the email. The TFT staff will be wearing their orange TFT staff tee shirts, which are hard to miss. Also, please be there no later than 3 hours prior to departure and no earlier than 4 hours prior to departure. Unfortunately, the group will not be able to wait for any late check-ins. We head for security and the departure gates 3 hours ahead of time. Parents, if you are dropping your child off, please remember that this is a time for kids to get to know one another without parents being involved, so it is best for the students and the dynamic of the group if parents do not linger too long after your child is checked in. Students, once you check in with us, please do not leave without your flight coordinator knowing exactly where you are going and who else is in the group that is going to get something to eat, to the bathroom, etc. We will have to make sure that there is organization throughout the day, so we need to know where everyone is at all times.
If you are arriving independently by plane into a foreign country, these instructions apply to you:
Prior to departure, please email your Trip Director to confirm the time and place that you need to be met by TFT staff in a foreign country. Please turn on your cell phone as soon as the plane lands so it can search for a connecting signal. Please make sure that you have the trip director’s phone number (listed in the email), the TFT toll-free number (+1-888-457-4534), and that you know how to make a call in a foreign country. You must have a cell phone that works in the country where we are meeting you if you want to meet us abroad. Please email your Trip Director as well as firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure that we have this number.
You should proceed from the plane through passport control, collect your luggage and then exit the secure area. Ask airport staff for assistance if you are unsure what to do or where to go. As soon as you emerge, look for our staff person wearing an orange TFT Staff tee shirt. Remember that in a foreign country, baggage claim is inside the secure area and we cannot meet you there. You must exit and we will meet you outside the arrivals gate. Please do not leave the immediate area where you emerge until you have met up with your TFT staff person. If you do not see the staff person, please call your trip director or the toll-free number (+1-888-457-4534).
FOR THE PARENTS:
On the return, if you are picking your child up, simply come to the International or Domestic Arrivals area and wait for your child to emerge from baggage claim.
If your child is taking a domestic flight home from a U.S.-based trip, they will have assistance from our staff with checking in with the airline, checking luggage, and getting boarding passes and gate details. Due to TSA regulations, we may not always be able to escort them through security to the secure area of the airport. However, TFT staff will remain in or around the airport and in communication with your child until their flight takes off. In the event of any emergencies, TFT staff will be there to assist your child with rescheduling their flight and booking any necessary accommodations or transportation.
If your child is taking an international connecting flight on their way home, he or she will exit the flight, proceed through passport control, baggage claim, and then customs. They will recheck their luggage immediately after customs, will NOT exit the secure area, and will then go on to their departure gate. We usually cannot go with them to the gates (TSA rules). Our staff will remain available by phone and will stay in or around the airport until all TFT traveler’s flights have departed.
FOR THE TRAVELERS:
If you are returning home from a U.S.-based trip
On your return flight, once you land back at your home airport:
- Get off the plane (don’t forget your headphones!)
- Follow signs for Baggage Claim
- Collect your bag from baggage claim. If your bag does not show up, you will exit the secure area and go to your airline representatives to report the lost luggage with your bag tag (which you were given when you checked your bag in at your departure airport where you got your boarding pass.)
- Meet your parents outside!
If you are returning to the USA from another country
Please review these instructions before you fly back to the USA so you know what to expect on your way home.
On your return flight, once you land in the USA:
- Get off the plane (don’t forget your headphones!) & follow signs for passport control
- Go through passport control – this is where you get your passport stamped by an immigration officer
- Collect your bag from baggage claim. If your bag does not show up, you will exit this secure area and go to the airline representatives beyond customs to report your lost luggage with your bag tag (which you were given when you checked your bag in at your departure airport where you got your boarding pass.)
- Exit Customs (you will complete and turn in a US Customs form) then either:
- Recheck your bag if you have a connecting flight and proceed to your departure gate for your connecting flight
- Meet your parents outside of customs
Notes for Travelers and Parents
● If the flight is chaperoned, the flight chaperone is required by TFT protocol to be the last person to a.) go through passport control and b.) leave baggage/customs to be sure no one is left behind. Your child may emerge from baggage claim without a staff member.
● If your child is making a connecting flight with a tight connection, they will be sent ahead of the flight chaperone to get to their gate as soon as possible.
● If your child has any issues making their connection, they will be able to ask the flight chaperone for assistance.
● If the flight is not chaperoned and they need help making a connection, Travelers and Parents can contact TFT 888-457-4534 Option #3 on any return airport day.
● If a child returning on a group flight to the USA has their connecting flight cancelled and they are stuck at the airport, contact us right away so that we can help get them accommodation and assist in rebooking new flights for your child.