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Airline Policies: Flying with Dietary and Medical Needs

Are you traveling with mild to severe allergies, dietary needs, or other medical conditions? Don’t let them hinder your ability to fly. You can go with ease as long as you learn the proper procedures to take and how you can best prepare for air travel. Learn how you can travel with confidence despite allergy or medical restrictions.

**If you want to know the policies for a specific airline, download our free PDFs. Each compiles the most up-to-date policies for international airlines.**

Passengers with Allergies and Dietary Needs
  • Review an airline’s allergy policy before booking so you know you can receive proper accommodations.
  • Inform your airline about your allergy soon after booking so appropriate accommodations can get arranged.
  • While booking your airline ticket, look for a space to include your dietary or medical need. If one is not provided, you can call the airline to let them know. Request that your dietary need is communicated to the cabin crew.
  • Although most airlines cannot guarantee an allergy-free environment while onboard, yet many follow strict procedures to meet dietary and medical needs to the best of their ability.
  • If traveling with medical needs and prescription medication, you may need to fill out a medical form or travel clearance form before departure.
  • Many airlines provide alternative meals for those with gluten, peanut, soy, dairy, shellfish, and other food allergies. Such accommodations may not apply on shorter flights.
  • Request a special meal to suit your needs at least 48 hours before departure.
  • Pack travel snacks that meet TSA requirements and your dietary needs.

 Download your free copy of the Airline Policies for Allergy Precautions

Passengers with Medication and Medical Needs
  • Keep prescription medications with you at all times by packing it in your carry on. Never put prescription medications in checked luggage.
  • Prescriptions must travel in their original containers.
  • For some prescriptions, you may need to provide a doctor’s note, prescription documentation, or a confirmation card of your diagnosis. Extra precautions and documentation may be required for those traveling with medical sharps, liquid medication, supplementary oxygen, or other personal medical devices.
  • Anticipate a longer screening process at TSA if bringing liquid medication or other medical devices. Arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before departure.
  • Once onboard, inform a flight attendant of your dietary or medical needs.
  • If you cannot self-administer your medication, most airlines require that you travel with a Care Assistant.

 Download your free copy of the Airline Policies on Medical Needs

Want to know the peanut allergy policy for your airline? Curious about the regulations for flying with a CPAP machine? Download the Airline Policies for Allergy Precautions and Medical Needs to learn all this and more! 

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The U.S. gave Mexico a high “do-not travel” advisory alongside other war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. The five states are hotspots for drug cartels, human trafficking routes, or extensive drug cultivation crops–Tamaulipa, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero.

All of Mexico is on a level 2 travel risk rating meaning that all Americans should be cautious while travelling, but the five states are on a level 4–the highest level of potential danger.

Of the 31 states, an additional 11 were put on the level 3 warning, which encourages “reconsider travel” there.

Travel to Mexico is highly discouraged. Here are some tips to keep you safe while traveling abroad:
  • Be sure to give yourself and/or your group ample time at the airport.
  • Know the requirements of the countries you are visiting. Most countries require that you have a valid passport for six months after your completed trip and up to three empty pages.
  • If you are a green card or visa holder—have all your documentation current and carry copies!
  • Make sure to research the country you are visiting. Understand the customs and what’s appropriate/not appropriate in that country.
  • Follow the US State Department’s advisories and travel updates rather than depending on friends at your destination or word of mouth. The travel.state.gov website is a great source for updated information along with their interactive country map.

AFC Travel is the international airfare expert for all your air travel needs. They offer competitive rates to Europe and the customer service to get you there.

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Pastor Sam Mulbaur:
“We recently took a trip to Southeast Asia and had the opportunity to see God move in people’s lives regardless of a language barrier or belief system. So often people can go into a trip thinking I’m going to go and change people’s lives, but I challenge our students that our goal is to serve the local leadership as much as possible and more often than not, God ends up changing you. We did life skills training, helped at a camp in the forest, served impoverished kids that lived in the fishing village, and helped an orphanage where kids can never be adopted because of local laws. Each of those places were filled not with a story for a church, but with people–individual people with stories, dreams, hurts and pain. Our team did our best to serve.
But as is often the case, many of our students left changed as well. One student had a call to Children’s ministry when he was 9 years old, but put it on the back burner. One day through a series of events and conversations, God brought that calling to his attention again and he is in school now pursuing what God spoke to him on the trip. Other students felt God called them to missionaries before the trip, but this trip allowed them to see that “missions” is a lot of different things and they feel even stronger in their callings.
God is still working after we are gone and it’s groups like AFC Travel that allow us to go where God is calling us to go. We are already working on next year’s trip and cant wait to see what God does next!”
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Are you planning a trip to Guatemala? All over the world, travelers come to visit and serve the country of Guatemala. Check out the infographic below to find some quick travel tips regarding the basics of Guatemala travel!

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AFC Travel by Brett Foster - 10M ago
Host a 5K Walk/Run

5K Walk/Runs are all the rage these days. For a lot of people, the only thing better than running in a race is running in a race for a good cause. Walking/Running events are relatively inexpensive to host and they’re easy to market.

The first thing you’ll need to do is choose a good location for the event. Then choose a date and set some realistic fundraising goals. Make sure the public knows that this event is for a good cause! Here are some of the things you’ll need:

  • Location, Theme & Fundraising Goals
  • Sponsorship sign-up form
  • Participant sign-up form
  • First-aid staff/insurance/safety plans
  • Pre-scheduled mobile messages with event info like event location and route maps

In addition, sponsorship is a great way to raise more money and promote your race. Sponsorship sign-up forms make the collection and organization of information simple so make sure to get some of those printed off.

Communicate event information with everyone through social media or mobile messaging that includes event location and race route maps to make sure participants have everything they need to be prepared. During the event, you can also send updates so everyone from participants to supporters can keep track of the progress until everyone reaches the finish line.

Was this idea helpful? If so stay tuned for more helpful fundraising ideas next month!

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Myth: 1

“Online booking sites do the same thing as travel agents.”
When you book your travel accommodations through an online booking site you are accessing a very limited range of options. Because of personal relationships made with partner airlines, travel agents have access to great deals such as consolidator, student, humanitarian or cruise fares. You should also consider what would happen if you run into any delays or need help while traveling. Online booking sites are notorious for keeping customers on hold and never actually helping to solve the problem. If you book with a travel agent, you have a name and phone number you can turn to during a moment of crisis.

Myth: 2

“Going through a travel agent will cost more.”
Travel agents are among the first to be alerted of exclusive sales or savings from airlines. Travel agents also have access to private or discounted fares that are not available on other websites. In addition, when you work with a human, they can make suggestions to lower the cost of your trip such as leaving a day earlier or later or changing your route. If you think there is a possibility of having to change or cancel your trip, a travel agent can guide you towards a fare with the most lenient change and refund policies.

Myth: 3

“Travel agents are a thing of the past.”
The next generation of travelers want authentic travel experiences. They want to “get off the beaten path” and see something no one else has. They want their travel like they want their coffee, music and clothing – artisanal and hand-crafted. In order to accomplish this, travelers need a real person who can listen to their travel goals and provide them with a customized travel package.

Myth: 4

“Travel agents only book leisure travel.”
Travel agents today often specialize in business travel, study abroad, humanitarian trips, adoption travel and much more. Find a travel agent that is specialized to meet your needs.

Myth: 5

“Using a travel agent will waste time.”
Held within one travel agent are years of experience and a wealth of expertise to help you find what you need quickly and efficiently. Instead of spending hours or even days navigating and comparing online booking sites, let a travel agent do the work for you. Once you find an agent you like, they can store your preferences on file to help you narrow down future searches as quickly as possible.

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While President Trump and his administration (and maybe the courts) continue to debate the President’s proposed travel ban (which realistically could take a long time to work out), AFC Travel is here to assist in many ways.

First, our agents are some of the most experienced in the market. This means they have the training and knowledge to handle difficult situations.

Additionally, AFC Travel has earned top travel agency status with many of the worldwide and U.S. carriers, which provide us access to the best airline contracts and the most up-to-date travel information.

Finally, we have always encouraged our travelers to purchase travel insurance, and this is perhaps even more critical now. We offer three types of plans starting at just $29. Our best-selling travel insurance policy is just $53 and covers up to 90 days of travel. For more information, click here.

Keys to remember:

While the initial travel ban affected those from seven countries, it does have an impact on all U.S. travelers. Here are some of our “top tips”:

  • Remember to plan ahead and give yourself and your group more time at the airport; there could be disruption in your travel plans due to airport protests or just general confusion from airport/airlines employees.
  • Double check the documents you are carrying and know the requirements of the countries you wish to enter. Many countries require you to have a valid passport for six months after your completed trip and up to three empty pages in your passport. If you’re a green card or visa holder, have all of your documentation current and carry extra copies.
  • Make yourself aware of how the country you are visiting currently views decisions by the Trump administration. While this can be hard to know exactly, many countries have been outspoken about the President’s decisions. Be aware of how they could view you, as an American, visiting their land.

We encourage everyone to continue to travel as planned, continue to ask good questions and take precautions as needed.

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Founded:  April 1965
Alliance: Star Alliance
Frequent Flyer: Airpoints
Lounge: Koru Lounge

Did you know?
Air New Zealand certainly doesn’t skimp on food. You may be served a hearty meal such as red wine braised beef, blue cheese polenta and green beans, crafted by celebrated executive chef, Peter Gordon.

Our Contract:
Our Air New Zealand contract has great, competitive rates for one-way and business class fares.

References:
Drescher, Cynthia. “15 Economy Class Meals You Actually Want To Eat.” CN Traveler. 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 June 2015.
“Air New Zealand” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 10 Aug. 2004.

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Fast Facts:
Founded: 1974
Alliance: OneWorld
Frequent Flyer: Executive Club
Lounge: British Airways Lounge

Did you know?
British Airways carries 40 million passengers annually and serves those travelers 35 million cups of tea each year.

Our Contract:
You can save an additional 3.5% on British Airways humanitarian rates by paying with DPA instead of credit card. Ask our support staff for details on how you can set up DPA today!

References:
“British Airways Facts.” British Airways Facts. Web. 25 June 2015.
“British Airways.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 10 Aug. 2004.

**Facts pertaining to CX contract are current as of date posted. Always check with a representative for latest fare rules and for specifics regarding change and cancellation fees.

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Fast Facts:
Founded: 1946
Alliance: OneWorld
Frequent Flyer: Asia Miles/The Marco Polo Club
Lounge: The Bridge
Did you know?
Cathay serves Häagen-Dazs ice cream for the dessert after meals. Don’t be afraid to let Cathay know about your dietary preferences. Cathay is prepared to accommodate a host of dietary restrictions, as long as you give them sufficient notice!
Our Contract:
The Cathay Pacific contract offers great, low change and cancellation fees as well as reduced child fares.
Drescher, Cynthia. “15 Economy Class Meals You Actually Want To Eat.” CN Traveler. 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 June 2015.
Wald Henderson, Janice. “Foreign Airlines with the Best Food – World’s Best Foreign Airlines for Food Lovers | Epicurious.com.” Epicurious. Web. 25 June 2015.
“Cathay Pacific.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 10 Aug. 2004.
**Facts pertaining to CX contract are current as of date posted. Always check with a representative for latest fare rules and for specifics regarding change and cancellation fees.

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