Holiday Travel Home

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by grumpysenior, May 18, 2016.

  1. grumpysenior

    grumpysenior Member

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    I would like to begin considering the airline ticket for travel home at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I understand how to do the return trip (needing to be back on base by 7pm) but I am unclear about the departure from campus. Can anyone give advice regarding the times to pick flights? I especially need to understand the "day" that a cadet is released. Thanks.
     
  2. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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  3. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Well........deep sigh.........
    The must be back on Post by Sunday no later than 7 is correct. However, you want to leave at least 24 hours before that to give a margin for flight delays, weather delays, bus delays. They don't want to be late, its better to early than late. On the day they leave post travel buses will be available to take them into NY three airport terminals. Round trip tickets may be purchased ahead of time about a week or two in advance. Generally, last classes are at 1:00 pm if they are in good standing. Parents have been surprised if their little snowflake has been falling behind in academics or other infractions and their pass is not granted or more likely delayed. On these holiday leaves no one is on the post or services. There are a few Cadets tuff it out by themselves due to they are foreign Cadets or don't have the funds to travel.

    You must be flexible, very flexible these are peak travel periods and airfare is general higher. It is save to book flights around 6:00 in the evening. Trying to buy tickets four or five months in advance can be dangerous and may be missed.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  4. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I am normally a very advanced planner. For me, this has been a challenging year to plan all of the flights for my Plebe, as things are always changing, even after schedules have been published. After Thanksgiving last year, I've learned to just wait, even though I know I have been forced to pay more for the tickets. I had bought tickets based upon the published schedule and then the Cadets were allowed to leave early. My cadet got stuck in the Transient Barracks for an extra day while most everybody else had left the day before. I would have used Southwest to buy my tickets, knowing that I could change flights, but they never seem to have flights from the West Coast that coincide with the bus scheduled, report times, etc.
     
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  5. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    Plan when more info is pushed out, this kind of thing changes a lot
     
  6. Passerby

    Passerby Member

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    For return flight, the last bus back to West Point will be 4pm. It's absolutely the best option to have wheels on the ground by noon. So much can go wrong with flights. Take the early flight back to West Point.
     
  7. MilitaryMama

    MilitaryMama Daughter, Wife, & Mom of those who have served!

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    If you and your family are new to the military, you will learn to not ever start planning your travel until orders are signed and in your hand. I know it's hard to wait, but I can almost guarantee that things will change before now and then. For those of us who are planners and feel more secure when a plan is in place, this can be one of the more challenging aspects of military life. Hurry up and wait...
    Start looking at options, but I would wait until you know for sure - otherwise you could be out a lot of $$. And it can be a good idea to buy the insurance on the ticket - just in case.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Often "military fares" don't mean a discounted rate, but the ability to change or cancel without additional fees, recognizing the nature of military life.
     
  9. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    While DS was at USAFA, this applies to all the SA's for travel....you really need to wait to see what your schedule is. I know it goes against everyone's grain to not get tickets early, but for SA cadets you have to wait.
    First of all, you need to make sure you make it through the summer -- not wishing anything bad on anyone, but things happen. Unless you purchase a refundable ticket, you will be out $$ if something happens.
    Then there is your schedule matching with departure times, bus schedules, etc before you can plan anything. We had DS do all the planning and just paid for the ticket -- he knew what would and wouldn't work.
    For Thanksgiving it's really tough as you don't have much time off; Christmas is a bit easier as you have more time off -- but even then things can change. For one, you need to find out your finals schedule - at USAFA you could leave after your last final, and often it was earlier than the last days of finals. One year we got a great deal on a ticket back to USAFA after Christmas, only to find out a few weeks before that he needed to be back earlier than the flight got in because he had squadron duties he had to be there for. So, we bit the bullet, paid the $$ and changed his flight, but we had to send him back a day earlier and he stayed with a local COS friend.
    Not knowing where you live, I assume you are not bus distance away from USMA as you mention flights, but here in DC area, the WP Parents charter a bus to bring cadets home for the holidays -- makes things easy for everyone.
     
  10. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    Another thought is to connect with a parent from your state who already has a cadet at USMA. Maybe you can connect via your state's WP parent club. Ask them for advice as sometimes things vary based on the state where you live. I know that West Coast parents have to plan quite differently than others due to the plane schedules being different. And as another poster mentioned, some parent clubs hire buses for their cadets.
     
  11. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    I really disagree. It depends where you live and if you have direct flights. We always plan for wheels on the ground by noon. This is ample time to catch the bus or train. If you live on the eastern half of the US, there's no need to travel 24 hours ahead. Alaska is a different story.
     
  12. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Hummm.....I can understand your point. I was just considering those who live on the west coast. But a margin is needed for these travel periods. Last break during Christmas a number of Cadet were stranded due to flight cancellation. Use your best judgement. Being a member of your Class FB page will help.

    Push Hard, Press Forward

    BTW: Great book "The Mom's Guide" I encourage dads to read it also!!
     
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  13. wyeast

    wyeast Member

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    West coast family here. DS '18 has traveled home for Thanksgiving both years. We booked early with direct flights both times. Direct flights home don't depart until 1800 at the earliest so he has plenty of time to catch the bus and get to the gate. Thanksgiving 2014 the cadets were released a day early due to a pending snow storm. In this case the airline changed him to an earlier flight without any additional cost. For the return DS will take a red-eye Saturday night arriving around 0600 leaving him with a couple hours to catch the first bus back to WP.
     

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