Flight Chaperone

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2016 Flight Chaperone/Belo Applications will be accepted December 1, 2015 - January 15, 2016

Volunteers may apply for both Flight Chaperone and Belo Tours, but must choose between the two should they be selected for both. Volunteers may not participate in both opportunities.

The Flight Chaperone is a volunteer position whose primary responsibility is the welfare of participants traveling on international and domestic flights. In addition, the Flight Chaperone is an official representative of AFS-USA to airline, airport and government personnel. The Flight Chaperone will accompany participants to their destination and will participate in the Gateway Orientation for flights departing the USA. The Flight Chaperone Manual contains a broad overview of responsibilities. Flight Chaperone Manual


Flight Chaperone Overview

Each year AFS-USA offers volunteers and staff members the opportunity to chaperone departing and returning program participants to and from the USA. Being selected as a Flight Chaperone is an opportunity for AFS-USA volunteers to be honored by their fellow volunteers for their service and dedication to the organization.

The primary responsibility of the Flight Chaperone is the welfare of the participants traveling on international and domestic flights. Acting as a Flight Chaperone can add an even greater benefit to the volunteer - an opportunity to travel abroad at little cost, interaction with participants, and learning about the culture of another country. All departing Flight Chaperones (from the USA) are required to participate in the Gateway Orientation. Flight Chaperones for returning flights from outside the USA are not usually involved with orientations prior to actual flight check-in at the airport. There may be opportunities with other special requirements. Selected Chaperones will remain on the list for all opportunities during the year. Applicants can decline flights due to scheduling or time of year issues. Applicants will be removed from the list of potential Chaperones if two flights are declined due to country offered. At Sponsored Programs orientations departing the USA, Chaperones will act as a Group Leader attending, as well as participating in, sessions from approximately 8:00 am - 11:00 pm each day. A Group Leader's responsibility is with the students ~ we ask that you not try to balance other work responsibilities when acting as a Group Leader. While this requirement may seem unnecessary at first, experience has shown that it is difficult balancing work responsibilities with the attentions required for our students. Students depend and respond more positively to leaders who are fully focused in helping them prepare for their exchange experience.

Chaperone flights vary each year and some may have additional requirements. The chaperone flights may include:

  • Core program flights
  • Sponsored program flights
  • Special flights
  • Flights with additional requirements, including Orientation participation
  • Flights of an emergency nature

Eligibility 2016

  • Be at least 25 years old at the time of applying.
  • Be currently registered as an AFS-USA Volunteer, with a minimum of two (2) consecutive years active volunteering at the time of applying, and in good standing with AFS-USA. (Registered volunteers will be those actively involved with a local Chapter/Team and/or at a national level including, but not limited to orientations, working with students, liaisons, team leadership roles, national leadership roles, or national volunteer roles such as, but not limited to, advisory groups, committees, etc.) NOTE: Host family members are not registered volunteers unless they have a current Volunteer registration and meet all the registered volunteer requirements as listed above.
  • Possess a current and valid passport at the time of applying (Passport not required for Belo Tours).
  • Participate fully in the program, and agree to comply with the requirements as listed in the criteria for this opportunity, including any and all mandatory training session(s).
  • Be available for travel and able to remain in a country for a minimum of seven (7) days.
  • Assist students, as needed, including but not limited to, illness, luggage and able to catch a flight in a hurried situation.
  • Any volunteer who chaperoned a trip in 2013 or later is NOT ELIGIBLE to chaperone a trip in 2016. (i.e. Flight Chaperone in June 2014, next opportunity would be 2018, four full years after June 2014)
  • Have experience as a Chaperone or in a related role.
  • Have skills in problem solving, organizing and flexibility.
  • Have ability to relate to teens.
  • Be open to new experiences.

Additional Chaperone Information to Consider:

  • Chaperone must be in good health, with no health restrictions, to travel on long, overnight flights, and capable of transporting their own luggage.
  • Chaperone is not permitted to bring any family members or friends under 18 years, or anyone needing special assistance, on a Chaperone flight.
  • Chaperone understands that any family member/friend who accompanies them on a flight must be 18 years or older, do so at their own expense, and are capable of carrying their luggage/personal items to catch a flight in a hurried situation.
  • Chaperone is responsible for all costs for any family members/friends traveling with them.
  • The flight itinerary is set by AFS and no routing changes will be allowed. If the awarded flight changes after acceptance with ticketing completed, and a family member/friend chose to accompany the Chaperone at their own expense, AFS-USA will not accommodate, nor be financially responsible, for flight changes to the family member/friend traveling with the Chaperone.
  • Chaperone on return flights are responsible for meeting program participants in the partner country and all costs related to this, such as train/taxi to airport or orientation site, and overnight lodging for day before flight, unless previously noted by AFS-USA.
  • Chaperone is not to consume alcohol while supervising students or while on their Chaperone flight.
  • Only one volunteer, per household, may apply.
  • Chaperone is financially responsible for any required vaccinations, visa fees, passport fees, extra luggage fees, as well as all personal incidentals and costs
  • If a Chaperone withdraws after issuing a ticket, the Chaperone may be responsible for any airline fees incurred by AFS-USA. Once your ticket is issued it is non-transferrable and non-refundable. Therefore if you cannot travel for personal reasons after accepting a chaperone flight, AFS- USA would have to purchase a new ticket for a replacement chaperone. Please keep this in mind prior to finalizing your travel plans.
  • If a Chaperone becomes unavailable after accepting a flight, or become unavailable to Chaperone for personal reasons, the Flight Chaperone Award will be forfeited and the volunteer will need to reapply the following year.
  • Recipients will agree to assist the Volunteer Recognition Committee in the selection process of the Flight Chaperone Awards the year following their award.
  • Cannot be a member of the Volunteer Recognition Committee.

Flights Available to Volunteers in 2016

Chaperone flights are determined based on the needs of AFS-USA and are not predictable each year.

Countries could include but are not limited to: China, Egypt, France, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey. Flights occur during the summer months, June through September.

How to Apply

Complete the full Flight Chaperone Application and submit two references. One reference is required to be an AFS volunteer; the second reference can be from a non-AFS individual familiar with your qualifications as a Flight Chaperone for AFS-USA. References must not be related to the applicant. It is the applicant's sole responsibility to ensure two or more references are obtained when submitting to the designated email. The Volunteer Recognition Committee and the Flight Chaperone Sub-Committee are not responsible for following-up on missing information. Please list applicant name on the subject line for applications and references.

Due to the large number of applications received each year, it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure their application is complete and all references are obtained before submitting. Incomplete applications or missing references will deem the applicant ineligible and automatically disqualified.

Submit applications, references and questions to: FlightChaperone@afsusa.org by January 15, 2016.


December 1, 2015: Application Opens

January 15, 2016: Application Deadline (including two references)

March 1, 2016: Flight & Belo Chaperones Notified

How Flights are Determined

  • Paula McGrath, Director of Travel and Logistics, determines which groups need Flight Chaperones based on participant numbers.
  • The Chaperone flights are divided between volunteers and staff.
  • The Human Resources Department of AFS-USA coordinates the staff opportunities. Qualified staff applicants are selected by a combination of seniority and time since their last international opportunity.
  • The National Council, through the Volunteer Recognition Committee's Flight Chaperone / Belo Sub-Committee, evaluates and ranks anonymous volunteer applications for flights.

Best Practices

  • Contact former AFS students in the country and arrange to visit with them and their families during your stay. Review U.S. State Dept. guidelines on international travel to specific countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Flight Chaperone FAQs

Contact Us

Email to: FlightChaperone@afsusa.org

Award Winners

See also

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