Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Southwest Airlines allows Wi-Fi but not VoIP

Southwest Airlines
Although Southwest Airlines is leading the way for cheap internet access in the air, the company has said that VoIP services will be filtered out.

Offering Wi-Fi at $5 per flight (no matter how long you are in the air), Southwest has a good deal as most competitors charge more - anything up to $13 per flight.

In conjunction with Wi-Fi company Row 44, more than 30 airlines will be equipped with internet access and that number is set to double by the end of the year. Southwest hopes that all 550 aircraft of its fleet will have Wi-Fi by 2013.

Passengers should temper their excitement as currently there is no way to know which Southwest flights have Wi-Fi, unless you can see a small spherical cone on the top of the plane (see pic). And they are not offering any seat plugs for recharging purposes.

Furthermore the company is set against in flight VoIP calling at the moment, although the San Francisco Chronicle believes that VoIP will soon be a regular feature of long and short haul flights in America and across the world.

Jetblue Airways already allows customers to use their smartphones for VoIP calling and other features, while Delta has fleet wide Wi-Fi in partnership with Aircell and Gogo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Southwest Airlines is first to test satellite Wi-Fi technology

Southwest Airlines
However, Southwest will be using different technology than most other U.S. airlines, and that is where the similarity stops.

The Dallas-based company said it will be the first major airline to test satellite technology on commercial aircraft to supply passengers with Wi-Fi Web connectivity. However, cellular services won't work with the system, Southwest warned.

The carrier is teaming up with 'Row 44' and has equipped at least one of its aircraft with the new satellite technology.

Three additional aircraft are scheduled to be equipped next month. The Wi-Fi service will be free to travelers during the test period. As is always the case on commercial aircraft, use of the new technology must be fully approved by the FCC and the FAA.

Overall, Southwest passengers that board a WiFi enabled aircraft will be greeted with placards and instruction sheets. The carrier is also partnering with Yahoo to provide an in-flight homepage with daily programming of local news and various information.

Yahoo's customized homepage will also include a flight tracker where passengers will be able to follow the plane’s path and view points of interest along the travelled route.

Dave Ridley, vice-president of Southwest's marketing division says “as a whole, Internet connectivity has been very high on our list of priorities and for quite some time. We believe the aircraft-to-satellite technology is the most robust solution in the industry, and we look forward to the feedback from our passengers.”

'Row 44' CEO John Guidon added that his company will provide Southwest Airlines with its high-speed WiFi broadband service.

The budget carrier is the first major domestic airline not to sign up with Aircell.

Aircell offers an air-to-ground broadband system that utilizes traditional mobile phone towers. The company owns the spectrum that was previously used by Verizon Wireless’ Airfone division.

American Airlines was the first airline to offer in-flight WiFi Internet access to its customers using Aircell’s Gogo network in August of 2008.

Aircell has since sold new agreements with Virgin America, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Aircell is forecasting that about two-thousand commercial aircraft will be equipped with its Gogo Wi-Fi Internet service by the end of 2009.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Airline sorry for 'mortifying' obese man

Airline sorry for 'mortifying' obese man
When it comes to Spirit Airlines’ strike, there’s bad news — and more bad news. First, the bad news: All of the airline’s flight are canceled through Wednesday as the company tries to hammer out an agreement with its pilots union.

And the other bad news? Despite suggestions that it might refund your money if your flight’s canceled, the airline apparently wants to keep all of it. Even if you don’t fly.

In a new release this morning, the company promised grounded passengers either a refund or “future flight credits for customers for the full amount of their unflown flight purchase” plus $100 in future flight credits.

So far, I’m hearing that it’s just offering credit.

Spirit is absolutely allowed to do that. The only mention of a strike in Spirit’s contract of carriage — its legal agreement between you and the airline — is in section 4.8 under “Refusal to Transport”

Spirit may refuse to transport, or remove from any flight, any customer for the following reasons:

4.8.2. Whenever necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond its control (including, without limitation, acts of God, labor disturbances, strikes, civil commotions, embargoes, wars, hostilities, or disturbances) actual, threatened, or reported.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Aeroflot Decides to Kick Its Bad Habit

Aeroflot Decides to Kick Its Bad Habit
Aeroflot said Monday that smoking will be banned on all flights as of March, a decision that marks an abrupt turnabout for an airline that was just months ago fiercely defending smoking. "This decision is dictated by the wish of passengers to buy tickets for nonsmoking flights and also by global tendencies in service," Aeroflot said in a statement. Aeroflot intends to slap the ban on flights of less than five hours to 93 destinations as of Nov. 15 and make longer flights, such as those to the United States, smoke-free starting March 30.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greece to suspend airport fees until the end of 2011

Greece to suspend airport fees
The land of Homer is struggling with its gravest financial problems for some decades. This crisis-stricken EU country faces a record high unemployment, social unrests and a huge budget deficit.

Now the authorities sees the tourism industry as an particularly important economic driver and a revenue source for the budget.

In an attempt to stimulate the tourism sector the authorities are going to waiver the airport fees (landing, stopover and take-off fees) at all of the country’s airports with the exception of Airport Athens effective as of April. The fee waiver will last until the end of the year.

The country has already seen an increase in tourist numbers with e.g. Britons booking 20% more than before. Another favourable circumstance which helps redirect the flow of tourists to Greece is the precarious situation in several North African countries. Yet for all this economists warn against being too optimistic as all discounts and special offers will inevitably reduce the revenues.

On our part, we encourage to check out which low-cost airlines as well as traditional carriers offer flights to Greece and inject some money into the Greek economy by booking cheaper flights!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Find Dirt Cheap Airline Tickets from the Major Airlines

Check the Airlines
Even though you can find dirt cheap airline tickets from several low-cost carriers each season, there are still some deals to had by the major airlines. Many savvy travelers can find dirt cheap airline tickets to their destination of choice from the major airlines, but tracking down these deals can take some time and patience. You will need to be fairly flexible with your travel dates and may need to fly into an alternative airport to get the cheapest airfare. Still, there are plenty of ways to cut down on those travel expenses and find some dirt cheap airline tickets to any destination.

Use some of these travel tips to find dirt cheap airline tickets from the major airlines:

Check the Airlines’ Travel Site Regularly

Stay up to date on airfare price drops and other travel deals by checking the major airlines’ website regularly. Many airlines will post some great deals on airfare and flight packages at the last minute, as well as during a special promotional period. Just remember to read all of the fine print and review all the travel restrictions and limitations. In some cases, dirt cheap airline tickets will have blackout dates and may expire in the very near future.

Check with a Travel Agent

Your travel agent may be able to tell you about the latest airline ticket price drops and rates of dirt cheap airline tickets from the major airlines. You won’t have to pay a fee for their services because the travel agent makes a commission on every ticket or travel package sold. Even if you’re searching online for dirt cheap airline tickets, you can find some great deals from a travel agent and end up saving more than you expected.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spirit Airlines strike update: Bad news … and more bad news

Spirit Airlines strike update
When it comes to Spirit Airlines’ strike, there’s bad news — and more bad news. First, the bad news: All of the airline’s flight are canceled through Wednesday as the company tries to hammer out an agreement with its pilots union.

And the other bad news? Despite suggestions that it might refund your money if your flight’s canceled, the airline apparently wants to keep all of it. Even if you don’t fly.

In a new release this morning, the company promised grounded passengers either a refund or “future flight credits for customers for the full amount of their unflown flight purchase” plus $100 in future flight credits.

So far, I’m hearing that it’s just offering credit.

Spirit is absolutely allowed to do that. The only mention of a strike in Spirit’s contract of carriage — its legal agreement between you and the airline — is in section 4.8 under “Refusal to Transport”

Spirit may refuse to transport, or remove from any flight, any customer for the following reasons:

4.8.2. Whenever necessary or advisable by reason of weather or other conditions beyond its control (including, without limitation, acts of God, labor disturbances, strikes, civil commotions, embargoes, wars, hostilities, or disturbances) actual, threatened, or reported.

In other words, as I mentioned in a previous post, Spirit has no obligation to do anything for you. Period.

(Section 9.2, which addresses involuntary refunds, suggests the airline may owe passengers a refund for canceling the flight, but Spirit seems to be arguing that the rule doesn’t apply during a strike.)

While Spirit’s decision is completely legal, it is morally wrong. If I order a meal at a restaurant, and the kitchen staff goes on strike, I don’t have to pay for the food I never was served. Why should this be any different?

Given all that, reader Sam Wyrick wants to know what his options are. His weekend flight from New York to Myrtle Beach, S.C., was canceled at the last minute, and he had to buy a new ticket on US Airways. Total cost: $1,220.

Visit: Auditing and Assurance Services (13th Edition) by Arens, Elder

Friday, March 18, 2011

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs
Earlier this year, Delta Airlines lost a dog who was supposed to be flown from Mexico City to Detroit. Then they made headlines for mixing up a couple of kids and sending them to the wrong city. And then they managed to send a puppy from Atlanta to California, instead of Maine. As if three strikes weren't enough, last week they once again created travel chaos, with the end result of one dog forced to fly several unplanned flights and another dog dead.

Michelle Reid and her kids recently returned to the states from nearly two years in Germany, where her husband is working with the U.S. army. Last week, the family's two dogs — Guinness, an English bulldog, and Lola, a shih tzu — were supposed to join them. Having flown overseas when the family first moved, the dogs were veterans and, after all the necessary health checks, and following Delta's "happy, healthy, jet-set pets" guidelines, the dogs were loaded up for the first leg of their trip.

When the dogs landed in Atlanta from Stuttgart, Guinness was found unresponsive. The family is awaiting necropsy results to understand what killed their healthy, 6-year-old dog. Lola was held over in Atlanta as a precaution, her flight to Seattle re-booked for the next morning.

But instead of flying to Seattle, Lola was put on a plane to Dallas. Then she was supposed to be flown to Spokane, via Salt Lake City. Yet, when she stopped in Utah, she ended up on the wrong flight to Seattle.

This isn't Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?; this is a real family who had no idea where their dog would end up next, or when she would make it home, after just learning of the death of their other dog. After her original international flight, it took Lola four more flights in one day to make it home. I don't know any human whose patience could withstand that; I can't imagine what it would be like for a dog being shuffled from cargo hold to cargo hold.

"All four airports were aware of the loss of Guinness," said Michelle. "You would think all four would take the time to make sure everything would go without complication for Lola."

Like the other people who have been victims of Delta's disorganization, it's been difficult for Michelle to get any answers. Nearly a week later, she's still getting the run-around, with no new information about what went wrong with her dogs. "Even following the rules to the best you can," Michelle said, "you never know exactly how your furry family is going to actually be treated during travel."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Navy Assists Ethiopian Airlines Search, Rcue Effort

Ethiopian Airlines Search
The U.S. military has dispatched a guided missile destroyer and a patrol aircraft to assist the search-and-rescue effort after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea earlier today.

USS Ramage, a 505-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, has been dispatched to the area, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.

Ramage and its crew of more than 200 sailors left Norfolk, Va., Jan. 5 for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment conducting maritime security operations in the Mediterranean. The ship made a port call last week in Naples, Italy, Navy Lt. Patrick Foughty of the U.S. 6th Fleet reported.

A P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft based in Italy also has joined the search-and-rescue effort, Foughty said. The aircraft is assigned to Task Force 67 in Sigonella, Sicily, and was conducting operations in the area when the crash occurred, he said.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET409 crashed shortly after takeoff from Beirut. The Boeing 737-800 was headed to a Addis Abab, and reportedly had 90 people aboard.

Lebanese officials reportedly are discounting terrorism as the cause, attributing the crash to a severe thunderstorm.

Visit: Accounting Information Systems (6th Edition) by James Hall

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yokota Community Assists Diverted Passengers

Yokota Community Assists Diverted Passengers
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, March 11, 2011 – Airmen and volunteers are helping more than 500 commercial airline passengers whose flights were diverted here after a magnitude 8.9 earthquake struck today off the Japanese coast.

Several commercial aircraft were diverted here after Narita International Airport in Tokyo closed.

Some 11 aircraft landed at the base, and more than 500 passengers were transported to the base recreation center where food, water and cots were available. Volunteers from base organizations, including the Red Cross and Boy Scouts, are helping to get the passengers settled, officials said.

A Red Cross website called "Self and Well" is available for people who register to let family and friends know they are safe.

"The 374th Airlift Wing is prepared and ready to assist during this time of crisis," said Air Force Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commander.
For More Information On Text Books Please Visit: Accounting Information Systems (2nd Edition) by Robert L. Hurt

Monday, March 14, 2011

Defense Department, Airlines Sign Alternative Fuels Pact

Airlines Sign Alternative Fuels Pact
A new agreement between the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Energy Support Center and the Air Transport Association of America will help to promote widespread commercialization of environmentally friendly aviation fuels with less reliance on fossil fuels.

Representatives of the Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Energy Support Center and the Air Transport Association of America signed a strategic alliance agreement in Washington, D.C., March 19.

The agreement highlights the shared goals of the Defense Department and the principal U.S. airlines to advance the development and deployment of commercially viable and environmentally friendly alternative aviation fuels, officials said.

“This is a significant step forward in the alternative fuels arena, and further shows commitment by the Department of Defense and the commercial aviation industry in our mutual goal of promoting energy security and safeguarding the health of our environment,” said Navy Rear Adm. Kurt L. Kunkel, Defense Energy Support Center commander.

The strategic alliance, officials said, is designed to establish a collaborative forum focused on spurring growth in the alternative aviation fuels market.

“By collaborating, we reinforce our commitment to fostering the widespread commercialization of alternative jet fuel,” said James C. May, Air Transport Association president and CEO. “In the evolving landscape of alternative energy, it is in our collective interest to see aviation at the forefront.

“The airline industry and [the Defense Department] collectively require more than 1.5 million barrels of jet fuel per day,” he continued. “By combining our talents and experience, we are better positioned to explore cooperative market engagement for fuel, improve the financial prospects for alternative fuels infrastructure, accelerate fuel certification efforts and refine our methodology for determining environmental impacts.”

Kunkel noted that energy security affects all Defense Department readiness, operations and business decisions.

“Doing what is right for our armed forces is an ingrained piece of our mission at the Defense Logistics Agency and [the Defense Energy Support Center], Kunkel said. “It drives us forward. Doing what is right also means doing what is efficient and in the best interest of our environment, while continuing to move forward with technology and energy advancements. The strategic alliance represents this commitment.”

The alliance directs the formation of three collaborative teams, with each team focused on specific developmental and marketing models of the alternative fuels goals.

The environment team will identify common methodologies for life-cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions for alternative aviation fuels, May said. The deployment and logistics team will identify locations or regions suitable for alternative fuels production and deployment, as well as means of distribution to and from those locations. The contracting and finance team will jointly publicize supply opportunities, explore opportunities for complementary fuel-supply agreements and develop compatible pricing and finance mechanisms.

The alliance teams are scheduled to participate in a special aviation session at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference April 27-29. They also will conduct an industry forum at the Defense Energy Support Center’s worldwide energy conference in May, where they will meet jointly with alternative fuel suppliers to discuss an array of projects across the country to deploy alternative aviation fuels.

Working together in the area of alternative fuels is not new for the Defense Energy Support Center and the Air Transport Association, May noted.

“[Signing the strategic alliance] is a key step forward in a long-standing relationship of collaboration between our nation’s airlines and the military, and this alliance will generate tangible, long-lasting benefits for the entire country,” he said.

Through the combined efforts of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiatives -- a joint Defense Energy Support Center and Air Transport Association working group -- fuels produced using the Fischer-Tropsch process were approved for use in commercial aviation in September. The Fischer-Tropsch process uses certain chemical reactions to produce synthetic oils and fuels from coal, natural gas and biomass.

Additionally, approval of a new class of hydrotreated renewable jet fuels is expected in the second half of 2010. Various plant-derived oils can be treated with water as part of a chemical reaction to produce jet fuel.

“Development of alternative fuels as an energy solution to our customers and the commercial aviation industry is still in the initial stages, but actions such as this alliance will make those potential solutions a reality as we work together and leverage our capabilities,” Kunkel said. “We have outstanding, committed goals for alternative fuel and renewable energy in the future, but reaching our goals is a team and collaborative effort – no one can do it alone. This strategic alliance is creating one of those teams, and we are happy to be part of it.”

For More Information On Text Books Please Visit: world-news-updates-archives

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gov laments ‘insensitivity’ of airlines

Gov laments ‘insensitivity’ of airlines
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda expressed dismay over the inaction of the country’s airlines in offering their services for the thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) caught in the armed conflict in Libya.

Salceda said Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines were neither seen nor heard assisting in the government’s effort to rescue and bring back the OFWs from the North African nation.

“One week now into the commotions of Libyan repatriation effort, PAL, Cebu Pacific or Air Philippines are still invisible or inaudible. Not a stir. Not even for show,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday.

He urged authorities to look into the airlines’ inaction, pointing out that they had been “making so much profit out of lucrative international long routes with OFW market at their core.”

“They earn so much from OFWs. Now that the OFWs are suffering, they offer no help. It’s called insensitivity. They better have a good explanation, we demand it and Congress must investigate the behavior of Philippine carriers during the Libyan crisis,” Salceda said.

The Albay Assistance Program for OFWs in Libya has been closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) concerning the plight of Bicolano OFWs.
For More Information On Text Books Please Visit: Accounting for Decision Making and Control (7th Edition)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Airline news org: Orlando tops nation in new routes

Orlando tops nation in new routes
Still glowing from celebrity British billionaire-airline exec Richard Branson’s visit to promote his Virgin America’s new flights to California earlier this week, Orlando International Airport was honored for having added the most new destinations – 14 – in the past year.

Airline Network News and Analysis, an organization that runs a website providing information to aviation insiders and others, awarded Orlando it’s “U.S. Annie” awardtoday for having added the most new routes in the nation. Miami International Airport finished second with 13, followed by Chicago-O’Hare International Airport with 11.

“Nothing it seems is more likely to generate new routes than the promise of sunshine and the two leading airports when it came to the biggest net gain in destinations served this year were both in Florida,” the organization stated.

Virgin America’s flights — to Los Angeles and San Francisco — wouldn’t even count in the Annie competition because Orlando already has flights to those two cities.

For More Information On Text Books Please Visit: Accounting for Decision Making and Control (6th Ed) Zimmerman

Friday, March 4, 2011

Crash-land pilot plans second bid to recover plane from beach

Carmanah Point Light Station
The owner of a small plane that crash-landed on the beach at Carmanah Point Light Station, prompting two search-and-rescue missions, plans to return to the remote area shortly to make repairs to the craft in the hope he will be able to fly it home.

Oban Gilbert-Stone, 25, crashlanded on the beach last Friday when the landing gear broke on the kit-made plane.

A military helicopter picked up Gilbert-Stone and a friend from the lightstation, which is south of Bamfield in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the Island's west coast.

However, on Sunday, he and his two brothers tried to hike to Carmanah Point, carrying a propeller and tools to mend the plane -the area is not accessible by road.

A girlfriend reported them overdue and, on Monday morning, a search was launched shortly before the three Saltspring Island men turned up at the lighthouse. That time they were lifted out by a coast guard helicopter.

"Parks [Canada] has turned the recovery mission over to me," said Gilbert-Stone, adding he hopes Transport Canada will give permission for a one-time flight once he has fixed the plane.

Transport Canada spokesman Rod Nelson said that, after an accident, it is recommended an aircraft maintenance engineer assess the damage.

The accident must be reported to the Transportation Safety Board.

Damage and any repairs are to be reported to Transport Canada, he said.

Before a ferry permit is issued for an amateur-built aircraft, either the owner/pilot or an aircraft engineer must attest the plane is fit to fly, Nelson said.

The plane will need work whether it is flown out or has to be slung under a helicopter, Gilbert-Stone said. If he has to hike there again, he will use a better map, he said.

Landing in a national park is not allowed without a permit and Parks Canada is reviewing what happened, said Dave McVetty, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve superintendent.

Gilbert-Stone said he was not aware of that rule. He said he grew up near Carmanah Point and wanted to show the area to his girlfriend.

"It was such a nice day I decided to land on the beach for a picnic. Landings are made on beaches all the time. It's not a dangerous manoeuvre," he said.

It was a soft touchdown, but a small gust of wind took the plane up again and on the second touchdown the landing gear gave way, Gilbert-Stone said.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tips for Traveling Abroad

Tips for Traveling Abroad
# Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.

# Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

# Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.

# Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.

# Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.

# Contact us in an emergency: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

‘Hero Miles’ Program Supports Families of Fallen, Wounded

Airline Tickets
A popular program that turns donated frequent-flyer miles into free airline tickets for wounded warriors receiving medical care as well as their families will expand this year so families of the fallen and combat wounded can participate in two upcoming events.

The Fisher House Foundation, which administers the “Hero Miles” program, plans to offer airline tickets so grieving families needing assistance can fly to Washington, D.C., this Memorial Day weekend to participate in the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors seminar, foundation President Dave Coker told American Forces Press Service.

The annual conference, to run May 27 to 30, offers a camp for children, a workshop for adults and comfort for families whose military member died in service to the nation, regardless of the cause.

“We will use Hero Miles to bring in any families that need assistance, and eliminate the cost of getting to [Washington,] D.C. as a barrier,” Coker said.

In addition, the Hero Miles program will help families to attend the second annual Warrior Games held in the spring in Colorado Springs, Colo., Coker said.

Some 200 disabled active-duty servicemembers and military veterans will compete in the second annual Warrior Games, scheduled for May 16 to 21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Participants will put their long recuperations and months of training to the test as they go for the gold in events to include shooting, swimming, archery, track and field, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball, officials said.

Coker called it fitting that the Hero Miles program helps families who might otherwise not get the opportunity to participate in these events.

“Our goal is to eliminate the barriers to participation, and make sure that families who wish to attend these events can do so,” he said.

The Fisher House Foundation has been underwriting all administrative costs and ticketing charges for the Hero Miles program since 2005. The Hero Miles program provides a way for passengers of participating airlines to donate their unused frequent-flier miles to reunite military men and women undergoing treatment at a military or Veterans Affairs medical center with their families.

The program provides free round-trip airline tickets to two categories of passengers. Servicemembers on at least five days of approved leave from their medical center who don’t qualify for government-funded airfare can receive tickets home and back. In addition, qualified servicemembers may receive tickets to enable their family or close friends to visit them while they’re treated at the medical center.