March 1st. Oh my goodness, it is already March 1st! Today is the deadline for all of the early birds who signed up to go to Honduras this summer. I have received dozens of applications and deposits and to all of you I want to say "Thank you!" I have also received dozens of emails begging me to hold their spots because "the check is in the mail." To those I say, "the grace period is in effect." I want to discuss the parable of the 10 virgins and the oil for their lamps, but I am going to pass on it. The final mission team roster will be complete in about a week.
I am excited! Just about every night I am having a phone conversation to a group leader discussing the trip. Nate and I have been talking a lot and making tentative plans about the dividing of the team. Plans are in the works to have meetings with several of the "segundos" to discuss the projects and plans for the summer. Healing Hands has a container scheduled for us to ship out in less than 6 weeks, groups are collecting supplies, and storage buildings are starting to fill up. It is hard not to get fired up about all of the stuff going on right now!
But today I am posting flight information. Some have already bought tickets and are just waiting to pack their suitcases and go! But for the rest of us, the numbers game has begun. Watching websites, checking prices, and comparing fares will become a daily routine until we lock in on that great deal on a flight. So, with that in mind, let me share with you your flight options and some websites of interest. Good luck and may the hunt begin!
The first thing to remember is to book your flight on the correct dates!!! We will depart on Thursday, July 1 and will return on Sunday, July 11. The second thing to remember is that we are flying into Tegucigalpa, Honduras! The third thing to remember is to double check the first two things before you buy your ticket. Now that we have that straight, let's proceed to the booking station.
You have 4 carriers to choose from to fly into Tegucigalpa on July 1. They are: American Airlines; Delta airlines; Continental Airlines; and TACA. All have multiple departure cities, except TACA, which is limited to just a few places. Depending on where you want to leave from greatly determines your flight options and ticket cost. Almost all American Airlines flights will connect in Miami, Florida, where you will change planes. Nearly all Continental Airlines flights will connect in Houston, Texas, where you will change flights. Delta flights normally route though Atlanta. TACA typically leaves from Miami.
All 4 carriers have websites that you can go to check flight availability and price. You can book your ticket on these sites using a credit or debit card. Here are the websites:
American Airlines: http://www.aa.com/
Delta Airlines: http://www.delta.com/
Continental Airlines: http://www.continental.com/
TACA Airlines: http://www.taca.com/
You can also search for tickets on several different discounted websites. these sites are used by lots of people and sometimes you can find cheaper fares on them than the actual airline sites. Here are a few sites that you can search:
You can even do it the old fashioned way and use a travel agent. However you book your ticket, keep a few things in mind:
1. Ticket prices right now are pretty high. Depending on where your departure city is located, ticket prices can run between $400 - $800 right now. Prices should drop and most likely will start dropping soon. Checking websites on a regular basis will help you see the market price as it goes up and down.
2. There is no "best time" to buy your ticket. I have been told that the cheapest rates are posted late, late at night when most people are in bed. I do not know if that is true or not, I can only tell you the prices will vary from week to week. you just have to be patient and be ready to pounce when the moment is right.
3. Do not wait too long to buy your ticket. There is over 180 people ON OUR TRIP ALONE looking to buy tickets! This does not include the other mission groups out there that will be traveling at the same time we will be going to Honduras. Buying early guarantees you a seat. Waiting for that great deal could cost you if the flight sells out. If a ticket price falls in your budget / price range, buy it!
4. Once you have purchased your airline ticket, email me your flight itinerary so I can know when you are coming in and on which flight. Once the entire team is booked I will be able to generate a flight list that can be sent out by email so that you can see who is on your flight and how many team members you will be traveling with on the flight.
Here are key airport codes you will need to know when you are searching for flight information (this is just a short list, if you want to fly from another location, simply look up the airport code on the airline website when you are looking at flight information):
Washington, DC: IAD
If you are flying on American Airlines, you will most likely connect in Miami. The flight information from Miami to Tegucigalpa is as follows: MIA to TGU on AA flight #953 departing at 10:15 am and arriving at 10:35 am.
If you are flying on Delta, you will connect in Atlanta. The flight information from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa is as follows: ATL to TGU on Delta flight #551 departing at 10:10 am and arriving at 11:45 am
If you are flying on Continental Airlines you will connect in Houston. The flight information from Houston to Tegucigalpa is as follows: IAH to TGU on CO756 departing at 9:10 am and arriving at 11:14 am.
If you are flying on TACA Airlines from Miami your flight information is as follows: ATL to TGU on TA375 departing at 3:00 pm and arriving at 4:30 pm with one stop.
So, when booking your flight, choose your departure city and Tegucigalpa as your destination. Make sure your flight information is accurate with the correct dates going down and returning. Make sure to check all flight options to make sure you have enough time in between connections to make your flights and that you do not have any overnight lay overs (sometimes the cheapest flights will have you traveling at odd hours with overnight connections.... you do not want to do that so make sure you have your connections selected accurately!!!) Double and even triple check all information before you purchase.
You are allowed 2 pieces of luggage to check onto the plane. Here is the most recent policies on baggage:
1 carry on and 1 personal item.
No charge for up to 2 bags as long as they weigh LESS than 50 pounds. 51-70 pounds a charge of $55 will apply per overweight bag. Over 70 pounds is $125 and will be considered "Standby" (AKA That Ain't Coming Amigo"... the bag will be late coming down)
1 carry on and 1 personal item
2 bags (under 50 pounds) free. If over 51 pounds: $50 per bag. Over 70 pounds will not be allowed on board!
1 carry on and 1 personal item
1st bag is free (up to 50 pounds) 2nd bag will cost $30. Bags over 50 pounds will be charged $50 per bag. Any bag over 70 pounds will not be allowed to board the plane.
1 carry on and 1 personal item
2 bags (under 50 pounds) free. Bags over 50 pounds will be charged $50 per bag. Bags over 70 pounds will not be allowed to board the plane.
I know that was a lot of information. But hopefully this will get you off and running in the right direction. there are 1-800 help numbers on all of the websites if you have specific questions about booking your ticket. Good luck finding your right ticket and the right price. It might be March 1st, but time is ticking and tickets will go fast. There are only so many seats on a flight so make sure you are get one! Let me know if you have any questions, I will be glad to help any way that I can. We will have people traveling from all over the U.S. but we will all have the same destination. RUE2B?