It's that time of year again. Time to book flights for the holidays. The Christmas Flight Program allows CAF members and their dependents to utilize CAF flight transportation to be reunited with their families from 18 December, 2014 to 7 January, 2015. There are a number of key points to keep in mind if military members plan to apply to participate in the program and some will not be covered in this article. Members may further refer to CANFORGEN 153 14 and DOAD 2016 – 0 to access the application, and to determine if they fall into travel Category 1 or Category 2. Applications are to be made through the member's orderly room using the DWAN email system.
For the purpose of the Christmas Flight Program dependents are considered the member's legal spouse, and a child, or children who normally live with the member. The child must be one the member claims a personal tax exemption on. Finally, dependent students, under the age of 25, who attend school or a university full-time are eligible. When the member completes their leave pass they must list the names of their dependents on the pass. No pets are allowed on the flights unless they are medical pets with supporting documents. For a detailed definition of who is considered a dependent, members may refer to QR&O 1.075.
Don't leave home to catch a flight without the necessary documentation in hand. Required is a signed leave pass with all dependents listed. Smartphone photos of the leave pass will be accepted if the document is clearly legible. Members must have their valid or temporary military identification to board. Passengers on the flight need to bring a photo ID, such as a military ID card, driver's licence, or two pieces of non-photo ID. Ensure children have ID like a school ID card, or birth certificate. There are a few items you are asked to leave at home. No skis, hockey sticks or snowboards are permitted on the flights. Members may wear civilian attire or service wear, and all male members must be clean shaven on flights.
Members can find out through Air Movement if there are shuttles available for them to take from Garrison to Wing to catch a flight. Make sure to ask if there is designated long-term parking, and where it is on the wing. Flight check is three hours to flight departure, and passenger check-in, boarding pass in hand, is no later than 90 minutes prior to departure. Many families apply, and wings make an effort to accommodate everyone, but sometimes there is not enough room for all applicants. If a cancellation must be made the member applicant is asked to do so as soon as possible as there is undoubtedly another family waiting for the seats.
The Christmas Flight Program will be accepting applications 1300hrs EST, 01 October. When the member applies they do not require a leave pass in-hand already. Leave passes only require departing and destination city, not a full itinerary listed. All applicants must also have a valid civilian email address. Personnel should note in the event flights are cancelled the member will be financially responsible for any travel costs, incurred including hotels, meals and flights.