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Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).  Click on the question, and the answer will appear below it. If your concerns are not addressed here, please feel free to call our office at 773 227-VETS (8387) and your call will be returned within a day or two by one of our dedicated Volunteer Ambassadors. 
Q:  Nothing in life is free. What’s the catch?

There is no catch, we promise. It is our small way of saying thank you for saving the world from tyranny.

Q:  Will health issues prevent a veteran from flying?

Many, if not most, of our veterans will need to use a wheelchair for all or a good portion of the day, and we have enough wheelchairs and support personnel to accommodate every veteran on each flight.  We travel through Washington D.C. in luxury buses that have wheelchair lifts available, if needed.  We also fly veterans who require the use of oxygen. Any veteran requiring oxygen must submit a prescription from the doctor for oxygen use while on the trip.

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.  Even veterans who have never sat in a wheelchair before welcome the chance to take a rest during a portion of the day. We recognize that this day of honor is a very long day.

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 Chicago 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.

You are in good company then since the average age of our WWII is 89.5.  On each trip, we have veterans who can’t see, veterans who can’t hear (most), and veterans who can’t walk.  Yet after the trip, the veterans almost always tell us that their day with Honor Flight Chicago was by far one of the best days of their lives.

Q:  Do I have to live in the Chicagoland area to go with Honor Flight Chicago?

No, we accept applications from veterans in other areas that may not have Honor Flight hubs, or those that prefer to fly from Chicago. All veterans and guardians are responsible for any travel expenses other than the round-trip airfare from Midway to Dulles and back to Midway and ground (charter bus) transportation while in Washington DC.

Q:  I am not a WWII or Korean War hero; those guys paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and are not with us today. 

If you served, 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 part in the war effort.  And to honor those who did not return, we have a short ceremony at the WWII Memorial where we all pay tribute to our fallen heroes, whose dreams and aspirations were cut short by the war.

Q:  How is someone selected to go on a flight?

WWII and Korean War veterans fill out thier appropriate Veteran Application (available here) and either fax or mail the application to the office.  Medical forms are then sent to the veteran to complete in the order that the application was received.  Once we receive the completed Medical Form, our Flight Team works to invite our veterans to fly for their Day of Honor.  Veterans are generally called for a specific flight about 3 to 4 weeks before the flight date.

Q:  Are Korean War veterans and Vietnam veterans allowed to fly now too?

Yes, we are currently serving our WWII and Korean War veteran population.  After we have flown all interested WWII veterans and Korean War veterans, we will begin honoring our Vietnam veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Q:  I’d like to have my spouse accompany me.  Can she/he fly with me?

Unfortunately, we cannot have spouses fly with HFC unless that spouse is also a WWII or Korean War 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 Chicago 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 WWII and Korean War 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 DC, are covered by Honor Flight Chicago.  Guardians each pay $599 each for the honor of escorting a WWII or Korean War Hero to Washington DC. There is a reduced rate for our medical team to fly.  Flights are funded by donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, schools, military organizations, and other fraternal organizations who wish to be an important part of honoring these heroes and who recognize the urgent need to fly our WWII and Korean War veterans to see their memorial. No funding is received from the government.

Q:  Can another family member fly with my mom/dad as an escort or “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 64 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, etc. First priority is given to doctors and nurses who dedicate their time and expertise to help make our trips safe, active duty military personnel and HFC volunteers who have provided long-term consistent volunteer service to HFC and serve as our Flight Crew.   Guardians pay for their own trip and must attend a mandatory training session.

Important Note: Family members of veterans are invited to apply to be part of our Guardian team. However, we are unable to guarantee they will be invited on the flight. When filling out a Guardian Application, it is important that you indicate on the Guardian Application the name of the veteran you wish to fly with. There are a limited number of spots available for family member Guardians on each flight, so unfortunately not all family members who apply to be Guardians will be able to accompany their veteran on a flight. Also, each veteran is only allowed one guardian.

Q:  How do I get an application?

Veteran and Guardian applications can be found on our website, honorflightchicago.org. Click on the “Get Involved” page.  Or, you may call us at 773-227-8387 to request an application be mailed to you.

Q:  Can an individual or an organization sponsor a specific veteran? Can I give the trip as a gift/surprise to a 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.

Occasionally, children of our WWII and Korean War veterans sign up their mother or father for a flight as a surprise.  When a veteran is subsequently mailed medical forms as part of the application 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 Homecoming?

Please check our website and Facebook page periodically for flight updates. The general public is always invited to welcome our returning heroes home the evening of the flight.  We do not recommend that you join us in the AM since you must have a ticket in order to clear security.

 Q:  What do I wear the day of the flight?

As a veteran, you will receive a shirt from us on flight day that we ask you wear during your day. The only exception to this rule is if a veteran would like to wear his or her uniform instead.  Guardians are given a different shirt that they must wear on flight day, during the mandatory guardian training class prior to 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.

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