Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers that may help you in the application and flight process.
Please know that if you are applying as a Veteran, Guardian or to be a Volunteer at an Honor Flight event, we are requiring that you have received the COVID -19 vaccinations. As the cases rise across the country, we feel the need to protect all those involved with a mission. Thank you for understanding.
Q: Nothing in life is free. What’s the catch?
There is no catch, we promise. As a nation, it took the country almost 60 years to build a WWII memorial to honor the Veterans’ service and sacrifice during WWII. All our Veterans including Korean, Vietnam, and Veterans of other conflicts should have the opportunity to visit our Nation’s Capital to reflect at memorials dedicated to our heroes. All Veteran expenses for this day trip to Washington, D.C. are covered by donations from our generous community.
Q: Will health issues prevent a Veteran from flying?
The Honor Flight crew and your guardian will make every effort to help our Veterans in any way necessary to ensure their trip is memorable. The Veteran’s safety is our number one priority. Although the plane cannot accommodate walkers or motorized wheelchairs, canes can be easily stored near the veteran in the overhead compartment. The HCWCF flight crew has basic first aid supplies to handle minor cuts and bruises and the 911 system in the D.C. area is excellent and prompt should the need arise. Special dietary needs or refrigeration for medications such as insulin can be provided with prior notice. It is suggested that veterans bring two days of medications as a precaution should the rare event of an overnight stay become necessary due to weather or mechanical issues.
Q: What if I require a wheelchair or oxygen?
WHEELCHAIR – Every Veteran who flies with us will have a wheelchair available and most of our Veterans will use this chair for some or all of the day. Unfortunately, HFWCF is not able to take motorized wheelchairs or walkers on the flight. We travel through Washington D.C. in luxury buses that have wheelchair lifts available, if needed.
OXYGEN – If a Veteran requires oxygen, their health care provider must supply a prescription for it which identifies the delivery method (mask or nasal cannula), frequency (as needed or continuously), and the rate of delivery (liters per minute). Honor Flight of West Central Florida will provide the Veteran with the oxygen concentrator for the flight as well as the bottled oxygen for the day.
Q: I really wanted to go but now I am just too old.
No, you are never too old! Many of our Veterans are 90+ years young! On each trip, we have Veterans who are visually impaired, have difficulty hearing, and have difficulty walking. Yet after the trip, the Veterans almost always tell us that their day with Honor Flight of West Central Florida was by far one of the best days of their lives.
Q: Do I have to live in the West Central Florida area to go with Honor Flight of West Central Florida?
No, we accept applications from Veterans in other areas that may not have Honor Flight hubs, or those that prefer to fly from Tampa Bay area. All Veterans and guardians are responsible for any travel expenses to the Tampa area. Round-trip airfare from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) to BWI in Baltimore and back to PIE is paid for by HFWCF along with the luxury Charter bus transportation while in Washington, D.C. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks are provided for all.
Q: Do I need money during the day trip?
No, not unless you would like to buy a souvenir at one of the kiosks located at the Memorials. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided to you by HFWCF.
Q: I am not a WWII hero; those guys paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and are not with us today.
If you served in WWII, Korea Vietnam or other conflict, you answered your country’s call to duty. Whether you were a mail clerk, an airplane mechanic, or a front line soldier, all jobs were important to the overall war effort. We ask you to fly with us in recognition of your service to our country.
Q: How is someone selected to go on a flight?
Veterans are required to fill out a Veteran Application available at www.honorflightwcf.org/veteran-application and mail the application to the address listed. Once we receive your application, your name will be added to the Veterans’ data base. Please know that we have a first in, first on policy so the sooner you apply the sooner you will be able to fly on a mission. You will receive your invitation to fly approximately six (6) weeks before a flight. Any Veteran who is 95 years young moves to the top of the fly list along with any Veteran who may be terminally ill.
Q: Are Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans allowed to fly now too?
As you can imagine, we are concentrating on our WWII Veterans as time is of the essence for these Veterans. However as that WWII list grows shorter, we have started to fly our Korean Veterans, and will continue on with our Vietnam and Veterans from other conflicts.
Q: I’d like to have my spouse or significant other accompany me. Can she/he fly with me?
Unfortunately, we cannot have spouses or significant others fly with HFWCF unless that person is also a Veteran. Our priority is to honor those who served our country in its time of need.
Q: My mom was recently widowed. She did not serve in the military, but my dad did. Can she fly with Honor Flight West Central Florida to honor him?
Again, unfortunately, we cannot accommodate these requests. Our mission is to serve our Veterans, and our resources are devoted solely to this mission.
Q: Will my dad/mom have to pay for anything?
There is no cost to the Veteran for him/her to fly with us. Flights are fully funded through private donations.
Q: How much does it cost? Who pays for the trip?
Our Veterans have already given so much through their service to our country. All costs associated with the Veteran’s trip, including airfare to and from Washington, D.C. are covered by HFWCF thru donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, schools, military organizations, and other fraternal organizations who wish to be an important part of honoring our Veterans. Guardians donate $500.00 to cover the cost of their trip. No funding is received from the government.
Q: Can another family member fly with my mom/dad as a “Guardian”?
Guardians are picked by our Flight Selection Team based on a number of factors. The number of guardians varies depending on the needs of the Veterans on that particular flight. Guardians must be at least 18 and no more than 70 years of age and be able to easily lift 100 pounds, since they will be assisting Veterans into or out of wheelchairs, up and down stairs, and to assist the Veteran in any way necessary.
Q: Can a family member or friend meet a Veteran in Washington, D.C.?
Yes, we ask that this person meet the Veteran at the WWII Memorial. Unfortunately, there are no extra seats on our buses for guests to join the Veterans. Guests will need to find their own transportation around Washington, D.C.
Q: How do I get an application?
Veteran and Guardian applications can be found on our website: www.honorflightwcf.org and click on the Applications tab.
Or you may call us at 727-498-6079 to request an application be mailed to you.
Q: Can an individual or an organization sponsor a specific Veteran?
No. Veteran applications are filled on a first come, first served basis. Donations are always accepted but cannot be earmarked for a specific Veteran.
Q: Can an individual or an organization sponsor a specific Guardian?
Yes, an organization can help raise the $500.00 guardian fee for a specific individual.
Q: Can I give the trip as a gift/surprise to a Veteran?
Not every Veteran likes a surprise. Occasionally, children of our Veterans sign their mother or father up for a flight as a surprise. When a Veteran is subsequently mailed forms as part of the registration process, he/she is unaware of the “surprise” and the forms are disregarded. In this event, the Veteran never has a chance to share in his/her day of honor so it is imperative that the veteran be involved in the application process from the beginning.
Q: How can I find out information on upcoming flights and the Welcome Home?
Please check our website and Facebook page periodically for flight updates. The general public is always invited to welcome our returning Veterans home the evening of the flight. We do not recommend that you join us during the morning departure as you must have a ticket in order to clear security.
Q: What do I wear the day of the flight?
At orientation, you will receive a hat and shirt with the HFWCF logo that we ask you to wear during your day of honor. The only exception to this rule is if a Veteran would like to wear his or her uniform instead. At the pre-flight orientation Veterans and guardians will be given shirts, hats and totes with the HFWCF logo that they must wear on flight day.
Q: What if I need to bring medication on the flight?
Medications DO NOT need to be in their original containers. Please bring a two-day supply just to be safe. Please let HFWCF know if you have any special needs that will need to be addressed.
Q: If you still have questions that we have not answered here, please contact us at 727-498-6079 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org