Holiday Travel

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by WI USNA Mom, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. WI USNA Mom

    WI USNA Mom Member

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    Our DS is a plebe and I was wondering when is a safe time to fly him in and out of Baltimore for the holidays. Do they have classes the day before Thanksgiving or does their day end early? Also when do they have to be back on campus the following Sunday? Prices are going up and I want to be sure to book his tickets. Thanks!:biggrin:
     
  2. Soylent

    Soylent Candidate

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  3. Rondo

    Rondo New Member

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    Our son is a First Class at the Academy and spent a year @ NAPS. It is always difficult to sch. travel far in advance. We would try to get a Military discount. This is not always cheaper, but can be easier to change. This is especially true with most airlines. S/W airlines however has been relative easy to change a flight, and if there is a fee to change, it is pretty nominal. That has been our experience with any of S/W's fares. We are enrolled in multiple airlines frequent flyer programs. But really the only one that has done us much good is S/W. We have rental cars and hotels tied to it. They have recently changed their program and we have not dealt with the changes yet.
    Good luck!
     
  4. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    I second the motion about SWA. The only change fee they charge is the difference (if any) in fare price. If you have to cancel even their cheapest, most restricted fares, you can use the funds towards another ticket (for the same person) for up to a year from the original purchase date. I had one ticket that got changed three times within the year!

    The day before Thanksgiving, they should be on a shortened schedule:
    http://www.usna.edu/acdean/schedules/durations.html. As always, your Mid's availability to leave depends on the time of his/her last class or other military obligation. For return on Sunday, it is safest to assume 1800 as the required report time. Remember, Mids are required to have a flight with a scheduled return time 2 hours before their report time, unless they have gotten approval in advance for a later flight.
     
  5. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I wouldn't make any assumptions!
    I thought the flights had to land four hours prior to liberty/leave expiration...has that changed? I can't imagine that USNA would only make a two hour buffer from landing until formation (in uniform) at USNA....definitely makes it very close.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    It's still four hours, last I heard. I've made it back with a flight landing ~2 hours before end of liberty, but it's not always worth it. A bunch of people in my company got fried last year trying to game it...and then their flights got delayed and our SEL had no sympathy since they didn't abide by the four hour guideline.
     
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Southwest is the best if they service your area. They have many direct flights into BWI and there is a great USO waiting area near their bagage claim. You can cancel or change the flight without penalty or a nominal fee for flight change. Get In Early!!! Super Shuttle is a best bet for travel to Main Gate.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    A note of caution.

    The return time on Sunday night of the Thanksgiving holiday, since 1996 (years we have lived in Annapolis, sponsored mids, etc.), has varied from 6 PM to 10 PM. The four-hour rule is still around, as far as I know, but MidRegs usually get reviewed over the summer and any changes made.

    What typically happens is that USNA leadership might change, and the return time slips to 10, as a morale measure for the Brigade. If a goat rope occurs, when it comes to getting an accurate headcount of over 4200 mids, extending into the early hours of Monday morning which makes no one happy, especially profs with sleepy heads in class that day, stand by for corrective measures. In classic military style, it will be knee-jerked back to 6 for the next major holiday.

    The various USNA online calendars should start showing official times soon. Look for an entry such as "Thanksgiving leave expires." This is an item of interest to each member of the Brigade, so your plebe will find out very quickly what the leave windows are. Wednesday is fairly reliable, with classes collapsed into the morning. I think flights at 3 PM are a reasonable bet. Returning by 2 on Sunday would also be reasonable.
     
  9. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Mea culpa. I usually check the actual reg or USNA web site before posting. Didn't this time on the time req'd. Thanks to those who fixed it
     
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Also, the watchbill has not been promulgated at this point. Those assigned to watches must report back to USNA earlier than those not.

    It is standard practice that leave periods are published via notices, normally found on the Commandant of Midshipmen page. This normally dictates "official" policy.
     
  11. USNA DAD 2014

    USNA DAD 2014 Member

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    DO NOT PURCHASE any airline tickets in advance until your PLEBE TELLS YOU THEIR LEAVE DATE or your purchasing refundable tickets.
    Other than Thanksgiving, Mids/Plebes leave on different days and times for all other Breaks.
    West Coast parents, pay the extra $$$ for the nonstop flights or make sure that the layover is in a "non snow state" (Arizona, Nevada, California) when your Plebe come home during the winter.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    USNADAD2014 gives some good advice. I'd recommend getting a non-stop flight; while a layover in a non-snow state makes sense, sometimes the aircraft originates in those troubled areas -- thus, causing the same problems.
     
  13. Rondo

    Rondo New Member

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    USNA dad is exactly right, do not connect in Salt Lake, Chicago, Minneapolis, or Denver for Thanksgiving and Christmas leaves. Las Vegas, Phoenix work well if you can manage to connect there instead. Also you
    May notice that it is about impossible to leave the West coast and arrive at BWI before 1500 or 1600 hrs. Do what you need to do, but plan well!
     
  14. USNA DAD 2014

    USNA DAD 2014 Member

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    PLEBE PARENTS again:
    DO NOT PURCHASE any airline tickets in advance until your PLEBE TELLS YOU THEIR LEAVE DATE.
    And then asked them several times after that if they are POSITIVE those are their leave dates.
    My son gave me several different leave times for winter break (did'nt know his finals schedule the 1st time) before he finally knew for sure.
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    If it's too hard for your mid to come to you...

    Just a thought for those families struggling with the challenge of abbreviated Thanksgiving leave periods and difficult connections and arrival times on Sunday, think about visiting those East Coast relatives you've been meaning to see, or picking a fun city to visit. Over the years, our sponsor sons and daughters from California, Washington and hard-to-reach-without-multiple-connections hometowns have met at various places, such as:

    - Disneyworld, mid and family met at airport, easy non-stop BWI connections for mid
    - family fly into BWI, pick up mid, drive to Williamsburg or other interesting place to spend holiday
    - mid took train to NYC, met up with family, had a blast in the City

    Sometimes breaking the pattern can relieve the stress and give everyone a good memory!
     
  16. NorthernCalMother

    NorthernCalMother Member

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    Excellent suggestions from Capt MJ. Another thought for West Coast Mids: Apply for Op Info.

    When my son was a Mid, he was selected for Op Info in his 3/C, 2/C, and 1/C years. This is a wonderful Thanksgiving opportunity for Mids! Son flew to the W Coast the Friday BEFORE Thanksgiving in order to work w/ local BGOs to make presentations re: USNA to area high school students. Having him home for more than a week @ Thanksgiving was wonderful, and it made securing a flight to the W. Coast a breeze. He had to work w/ his USNA instructors to leave early, and submit assignments ahead of schedule, but was glad to do this.

    Op Info is a competitive program, not available to plebes, and seems to be most available in regions where USNA applications are low. In his 1/C year, my Mid was denied, he thinks because the program has been reduced. He submitted a message to the decision makers pointing out the level of applications from our MOC district, his experience w/ the program, and was accepted.

    For all four years @ USNA, I encouraged our Mid to purchase his return flights as soon as he knew when he had to be back. Though it's usually cheaper to purchase flights as round trip, buying the return flight ASAP is a good idea, since that's the tough leg to secure.
     

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