2021 Honor Flight season: All volunteers must read

Welcome to the 2021 honor Flight season! We are excited to share that Honor Flight will be resuming trips in August 2021. This date and the following information are subject to change; please check back here regularly for updates.

The purpose of this post is to outline how, and under what conditions, you can volunteer and support the DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew for the fall 2021 season.

By way of background, National released protocols that Honor Flight Hubs, trip participants, volunteers, etc. must follow when participating with Honor Flight. National created the protocols with the health and safety of all those involved with Honor Flight as the top priority. The DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew fully supports National and is adhering to the protocols and any future guidance that National provides. We extracted key excerpts from the protocols that are relevant to DC-area volunteers further below. You must read and adhere these protocols, if you intend on volunteering with Honor Flight or coming into contact with an Honor Flight group.

Based upon the protocols and Airline and Airport decisions, the following is how you can volunteer with Honor Flight for the fall 2021 season. In whatever volunteering capacity you chose, you must adhere to the protocols and any further guidance or procedures from the individual hubs, Airlines, Airport etc. The DCA Ground Crew will review its volunteering activities in advance of the spring 2022 season and make changes based upon National guidance and Airline and Airport officials.

Greeting at DCA

Any individual greeting at DCA airport will do so on his or her own volition, not as part of the DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew. The DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew will not be coordinating any volunteer activities at DCA airport for the fall 2021 season. The DCA Ground Crew will post the Honor Flight National schedule on the DCA website so individuals can see arrivals and departures as well as other trip information.

Those wishing to greet at DCA will do so outside of security only. There will be no Gate Access Passes issued to greet inside security for this fall 2021 season. Since the DCA Ground Crew will not be tracking volunteers who greet at DCA, we will not be issuing parking vouchers. Please visit DCA’s Parking Information webpage for details on parking availability and rates.

  • American Airline (AA) arrivals and departures: AA arrivals and departures will be in Terminal B/C. AA arrivals and departures will be on Level 3 Door 6. As always, this is subject to change.

Greeting at the Memorials

Any individual greeting at any one of the memorials that Honor Flight groups visit will do so on his or her own volition. DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew will not be coordinating any volunteer activities at the Memorials for the fall 2021 season. The DCA Ground Crew will post the Honor Flight National schedule on the DCA website so individuals can see trip information. There will be a report summarizing the planned memorial arrival and departures for all Honor Flights regardless of the arrival airport. Please note all times listed are approximate and subject to changes throughout the day.

Serving as a Guardian

The DCA Ground Crew will provide a list of already trained guardians, who indicate that they still want to serve as guardians, to the hubs so the hubs can contact volunteers directly to serve as a guardian. The DCA Ground Crew will not be training, coordinating, or scheduling local guardians or serving as the liaison between hubs and our volunteer base for the fall 2021 season. It will be the hub’s responsibility to certify your vaccination or testing status and you will have to adhere to all the hub’s policies and procedures, which could vary from hub to hub.

The DCA Ground Crew may resume guardian training events in 2022 and will post information on the website when scheduled.

Serving as a Tour Guide

The DCA Ground Crew will provide a list of tour guides, who already have been through orientation and who also indicate that they still want to serve as tour guides, to the hubs so the hubs can contact volunteers directly to serve as tour guides. The DCA Ground Crew will not be holding orientations, coordinating, or scheduling local tour guides or serving as the liaison between hubs requesting tour guides and our volunteer base. It will be the hub’s responsibility to certify your vaccination or testing status and you will have to adhere to all the hub’s policies and procedures, which could vary from hub to hub.

The DCA Ground Crew may resume tour guide orientations in 2022 and will post information on the website when scheduled.

The DCA Ground Crew will review all of these policies in advance of the spring 2022 season and see what adjustments we can make. The best way to stay informed is to subscribe to our newsletter and check out our website.

In closing it is important to note that the DCA Ground Crew is taking this approach since the Ground Crew cannot and will not be responsible for individual’s actions while those individuals are volunteering with Honor Flight or coming into contact with an Honor Flight group due to the pandemic and the protocols. In this regard, the DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew assumes no liability or responsibility for any individual’s wearing a Ground Crew tee shirt (i.e. yellow shirt) or any other Honor Flight attire. Furthermore, the DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew assumes no liability or responsibility for individuals claiming to be volunteering as part of the DCA Honor Flight Ground Crew.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and thank you for your dedication throughout all these years in honoring our veterans.

Honor Flight Network 2021 Trip Protocols Effective as of June 4, 2021

Key Excerpts

COVID Vaccine or Negative PCR COVID Test Required for All Participants

…In accordance with the CDC and D.C. Health Guidelines, for the 2021 travel season and until further notice from the HFN Board of Directors, all trip participants must be able to verify that the individual has either:

  • Received the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine or the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to the travel departure date; OR
  • Provided proof of a negative COVID PCR test result that was obtained no more than 72 hours prior to the trip departure date. The test used MUST be a PCR test, results of an antigen test or any other type of test is NOT acceptable. Hubs are strongly encouraged to notify those who will be testing (rather than vaccinating) of the PCR test requirement. Additionally, in accordance with CDC guidelines, the individual must agree to obtain a second test within 3-5 days upon return from the trip and to self-quarantine for 7 days after the trip.

Trip Participants subject to the above vaccine or testing requirement include veterans, guardians, and volunteers…”

Information Regarding Volunteers

For purposes of the vaccine or testing certification, volunteers can be separated into two groups: Honor Flight Hub Volunteers and Guests/Outside Participants…

…Honor Flight Hub Volunteers. Honor Flight Hub Volunteers are those individuals who report to or whose actions or activities are directed by the Hub… 

…Similarly, this group includes volunteers at the DC-area airports whose actions or activities are directed by the DC-area airport coordinators. These are individuals who have in person contact with Honor Flight trip participants including but not limited to individuals who assist/direct trip participants through the airport and onto the charter buses both in the airport terminal and outside of the airport terminal. This group also includes DC-based guardians. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated DC-based volunteers must follow the testing guidelines set forth above – with the timing of the test being 72 hours prior to coming into contact with any Honor Flight trip participants. In this regard, these individuals may have to be tested multiple times per week depending on the individual’s level of activity with respect to Honor Flight.”

“Guests/Outside Participants. Guests/Outside Participants include those individuals who may greet trip participants at DCA. This group does not have close physical contact with trip participants and is not assigned specific duties or tasks by the Hub with the exception of where and when to be present. This group of individuals may include bands, social organizations, school groups, military personnel, elected officials, color guards, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, service academy cadets, civil air patrol, etc. This group of people is NOT considered “volunteers” for purposes of these protocols. However, it is strongly encouraged that Guests/Outside Participants be separated from trip participants as much as possible using stanchions or other barriers that provide a safe distance between Guests/Outside Participants and the trip participants. Guests/Outside Participants will not be required to certify COVID-19 vaccination status, provide proof of a negative test, or perform a self-wellness check;…”

“Face Masks

Face masks are required to be worn at all times by all participants (including volunteers) while on charter buses, in an airport, and on an aircraft (commercial or charter). Additionally, face masks must be worn by all participants in accordance with the requirements of any and all venues visited during the trip. Mask requirements may differ across venue-type (i.e. hotels, restaurants, indoor venues and outdoor venues), as well as jurisdiction (i.e. DC, Virginia, Maryland, and federally governed locations such as the National Mall and airports).

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated trip participants or volunteers must wear a mask at all times, indoors and outdoors, with the sole exception of when actively eating or drinking. There are no exceptions to this requirement for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated trip participants or volunteers. Vaccinated trip participants do not need to wear a mask other than in the scenarios described in the paragraph immediately above (e.g. airports, airplanes, buses and per venue requirements)…”

Please note the protocols are subject to change.

Honor Flights suspended through June 30, 2021

National Flight Suspension Extension.  The Board has determined to suspend all Honor Flight related travel through June 30, 2021.  This decision was based upon many factors including, but not limited to the following:

a.      Status of the vaccine rollout and timing between first and second doses of the current vaccines, as well as considerations regarding availability of vaccine to younger population/guardians/volunteers;

b.      Group gathering restrictions in the D.C. area continue to be in force, with no established end date at this time; and

c.      The National Park Service is not currently issuing group gathering permits and there is no indication when NPS will resume permitting for group gatherings.

Thank you for your continued support – please keep checking in this spring for further updates.

Update to American Airlines at DCA

DCA construction has altered some arrival and departure operations for American Airlines. American Airlines used to fly exclusively out of Terminal C and is now shifting some operations to B/C known as “Central Pier.”

https://www.ifly.com/ronald-reagan-washington-national-airport#termGuide

Terminal B and C

Terminal B and C are the newest and the largest terminals of the airport. Both terminals have the same structure and have three concourses.

Terminal B has gates numbered from 10-22, and the airlines operated here are Alaska Airlines, Delta, and United.

Terminal B/C, gates 23-34, houses American and JetBlue Airlines.

Terminal C, gates 35-45, is exclusive to American Airlines.

Local volunteers! 100th birthday parade for WWII veteran on March 24 in Gainesville, VA

WWII veteran Dennis Dunlap is celebrating  his 100th birthday with a parade. His local community at Heritage Hunt Homeowners’ Association is calling for all cars, bicycles, and walkers to parade in his honor on Wednesday, March 24 at 12:15 PM. The parade will line up on Arthur Hills Drive near the Clubhouse at 6901 Arthur Hills Drive, Gainesville, VA 20155. Mr. Dunlap and his family will be on Walnut Hill Drive. 

Local volunteers, spread the word!

Honor Flights suspended through August 15, 2021


Trip Suspension Extension.  Due to continued uncertainty with regard to COVID and COVID-related issues, the Board has extended the Honor Flight travel suspension through August 15, 2021.  The HFN staff and Board are continuing to monitor developments in vaccine distribution and relevant restrictions in the DC area. The Board will continue to meet monthly (the next meeting is April 28) to monitor the situation.

Thank you for your continued support.

March 9 Honor Flight community live web event

 In an effort to bring the national Honor Flight community together as we stay safe at home during COVID, the national office is co-hosting what we hope is the first of several live web events.

On March 9, 2021 the Honor Flight Network will co-host a live web event with our sponsor AARP.  The event will take place at 7 p.m. EST in an effort to make it comfortable for those in all time zones to attend.  Dave Smith, member of the Honor Flight Network Board of Directors and Founder of the San Diego Honor Flight Hub, will open the event with a greeting from the Honor Flight Network.

The event is open to everyone within our wonderful community – veterans who have already participated in an Honor Flight, veterans who hope to experience an Honor Flight, guardians, hub leaders, hub volunteers, airport volunteers, and everyone’s friends and family.  We hope this event and the others to follow will build upon the positive engagement so many of the hubs are already employing to keep folks excited about Honor Flight.

You can find more information and sign up for the event using the registration link below.  Please feel free to distribute the link and the attached information widely – the more the merrier!

Registration link:  https://onlinexperiences.com/Launch/QReg/ShowUUID=938D8869-BF59-4DF1-A459-2098D3A4F24F

Honor Flights suspended through April 30, 2021

The Board has determined to suspend all Honor Flight related travel through April 30, 2021.  This decision was based upon many factors including, but not limited to the following:

  1. Current CDC guidelines and information regarding the timing considerations of the federal rollout of possible vaccines;
  2. Washington, D.C. is currently requiring all visitors to D.C. to have (and be able to present proof of) a negative COVID test done within 72 hours prior to arrival in D.C. (this is in addition to current group gathering restrictions that continue to be in place in D.C., Maryland and Virginia); and
  3. The National Park Service is not currently issuing group gathering permits and there is no indication when NPS will resume permitting for group gatherings.

Honor Flight Network honors Veterans Day 2020

10/31/2020

Beginning this weekend, the Honor Flight Network will begin a special social media campaign leading up to Veterans Day.  HFN worked with celebrities and high-profile individuals to bring video messages to the 23,000 veterans who were not able to experience his or her Honor Flight this year due to COVID-19.  HFN will post the video messages from Sunday, November 1 through Tuesday, November 10 on our Honor Flight Network Facebook page and via our Twitter account @HonorFlightNet – we encourage you to “like and share” the posts spreading the Honor Flight cheer and appreciation to all of our veterans.   As a special treat, on November 11, Veterans Day, HFN will post a link to a special compilation video that can be “liked and shared” but can also be emailed directly to your veterans who were unable to fly this year. 

All Honor Flights canceled through the remainder of 2020.

The National Board has extended the suspension of all Honor Flight travel through the remainder of calendar year 2020.  This decision was not made lightly. We’d like to share a note from Meredith Rosenbeck, CEO, from the national office: “The safety of our veterans has always been and will continue to be the number one priority of the Honor Flight Network.  Our veterans are among the most vulnerable of the population as it relates to serious complications and death from COVID-19 and, as a result of this, it is just not prudent for Honor Flight to risk the health and safety of those we seek to honor at this juncture. The national staff will continue to be available to assist Hubs in any way we can or answer any questions you may have.  We look forward to resuming flights with you all again in 2021.”