Missionary Airfare and Humanitarian Flights
A missionary travel agency have pre-negotiated fares with dozens of airlines, to be used specifically for travelers doing mission work and humanitarian aid. These are called Humanitarian and Missionary Airfare contracts, and they divide thousands of airports across the world into various zones, and lay out pricing for each particular market and season.
Missionary airfare are to be sold on a private basis by dedicated missions travel agencies, only to those passengers who are traveling to serve abroad. Humanitarian and missionary airfare can provide lower prices and other improved terms over many standard airfare tickets.
Here are some things you may have access to* when you purchase a mission or humanitarian ticket:
- Refundable tickets. Many humanitarian and missionary tickets are refundable (with a penalty), unlike most tickets bought online or directly from the airlines.
- Changing plans. When it comes to missions work, plans can change! Many humanitarian contract fares allow date (and sometimes even routing) changes for a flat fee, based on availability, without having to cancel your ticket and start from scratch.
- Extra luggage. Some missionary tickets allow waived baggage fees or requests for extra bags outbound travel, so that you can carry supplies in-country to the people you are serving. If you need it, this is always something worth requesting from your travel agent when you purchase tickets.
- Longer stays. Most humanitarian and mission fares allow stays of up to one year, as well as one-way and open return options. As always, please check the requirements of your visa to make sure your ticket complies with the allowed time to stay in-country.
- Origination Abroad. For missionaries serving long-term overseas, access to mission fares that do not restrict your departure point can be very helpful. When it’s time to do a visa run, or a sabbath weekend away in your region, or even return stateside for a longer furlough – a mission ticket can allow you to depart travel from abroad at the same contracted price as it would be from the US.
- Delayed Ticketing. Many mission fares have a built-in window for fundraising, ranging anywhere from a few weeks, to a few days before travel. During this time, your space is on hold at the contracted rate, but you may wait until the deadline to purchase the ticket. Taxes and fuel surcharges are always subject to change, and occasionally schedules and contracts can release new updates to, so we always recommend purchasing and having your tickets issued as soon as you have the funds to do so.
In almost all cases, contracted mission and humanitarian fares will require you to travel with clergy ID, or documentation on church or ministry letterhead, verifying the purpose of your trip. This not anything for your immigration point or visa application, but only for the airlines, who reserve the right to ask for it at check in. Having this documentation on you is something to consider when traveling to more sensitive destinations. In some cases, this information can be noted in your electronic record instead, so if you have concerns about this, please ask your missionary travel agent.
*Please note that contracts vary by airline, season, and sale type. In some cases, a marketed sale fare might be even less expensive than a contracted humanitarian ticket. Missions agents have access to those fares too! In those cases, a dedicated missions travel agent can present you with all the options and help you decide which ticket would be best for your team’s needs.
Please contact us for a no-obligation quote, or to see which type of exclusive missionary airfare could work best for your team!