Greeting at the Airport: Gate Access Passes

For the 2021 season: We will not be issuing Gate Access Passes (GAP) for volunteers to greet inside of security. All greeting will be done on an individual basis. Please read our update here before proceeding. You must read and adhere these protocols, if you intend on volunteering with Honor Flight or coming into contact with an Honor Flight group.

The information below is for seasons outside of 2021 and should be used for reference only.

Here is an explanation of how to request your Gate Access Pass (GAP) to welcome our heroes at DCA Reagan National Airport.  Remember, greeters are needed outside of the TSA areas as well, so you don’t have to request a GAP and go to the gate to welcome the veterans. **Not all flights will have GAPs available – please greet those Heroes outside security.

To request a GAP, first, pick a flight date and time that you can come to DCA. A greeting takes about 3 hours of your time. You can see the full schedule here.   There are some days when multiple flights arrive, sometimes in different terminals.  Multiple flights coming into the same terminal require only one gate pass.  If you wish to attend multiple flights in different terminals on the same day, it’s best to sign up for a gate pass for each terminal.  NOTE:  On days with multiple flights coming in on American Airlines (unless otherwise stated) gate passes will only be issued prior to the arrival of the first flight.

Next, request your Gate Access Pass (GAP) no later than 36 hours prior to the flight arrival time. If a GAP is available for a flight, there will be a hyperlink under the flight that says “REQUEST YOUR GATE ACCESS PASS (GAP) HERE.” Simply follow that link to sign up!  Please ensure that the information provided on the form matches the information on your government issued ID (excluding minors).

Events typically close 36 hours before the ETA. After you submit your information on the sign-up page, you will see a screen that says Success and Thank You. That screen indicates that your information has been entered into our system. You will not receive a confirmation email when you sign up. The next time you’ll hear from us regarding your GAP is 24-28 hours before your flight. **Please check your junk mail folder!!!***Then you will receive an email with specific instructions about picking up your GAP and information about parking at DCA. Please only park in daily parking –not short term. Only daily parking is eligible for parking validation  by Honor Flight. Please pay attention to these email instructions, as instructions vary from flight to flight, and from airline to airline.  Once inside the airport, follow the instructions provided in the detailed email.

GAPs are issued at the discretion of the airlines.  Airlines reserve the right to restrict or limit the number of GAPS on any given day. This decision is sometimes not made until the day of the event, for reasons not known by us. Some flights and terminals cannot accommodate large crowds of greeters. GAPs are not guaranteed. Our email confirmation to you does not guarantee that the request we send to the airline on your behalf will be granted.  Please do not make demands of the airlines should this happen to you; rather please join other greeters outside security to cheer and welcome our Heros.

GAP is similar to an old fashioned airline boarding pass (ie, the paper ones). All TSA flight regulations must be followed, and you will have to go through the full travel x-ray screening. Please arrive at DCA at least 60 minutes prior to the arrival time in order to be processed through security and arrive at the gate where your flight will be arriving. Some flights arrive earlier than the listed ETA because of easier travel conditions. Please be flexible.  The airline terminals are as follows:
Terminal A: Air Tran Airlines, Frontier, Jet Blue, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines
Terminal B: Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines
Terminal B/C: American Airlines

To retrieve your GAP and be processed through TSA, you must have a current, government issued photo identification card, such as a driver’s license or passport.  The information on your ID must match the information listed on the sign up form, otherwise TSA may not grant you access to the gates. Minors do not need an ID but must be accompanied by an adult.  Each greeter must pick up his/her own GAP.

When you are at the airport, PLEASE keep an open and clear walkway for the veterans.  As you know, the World War II and Korean War veterans are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, and many will be in wheelchairs.  What may seem to be plenty of room for some people could cause a veteran to trip – their safety is our duty. Additionally, passengers on other commercial  flights may likely be trying to get to or from their gates as well.  Please keep the terminal hallways at least halfway clear for other travelers, and do not block travelers’ access to restaurants or restrooms.

If you are organizing a group over 20 greeters, please email instead of signing up individually.  We can facilitate and streamline the group process for you!

Please note again that not all fights can accommodate large groups.

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