Message From National Honor Flight CEO Meredith Rosenbach
The national HFN Board of Directors met last evening and discussed the remainder of the season and implications of COVID-19 on such future trips (this was pushed up from the original date of July 8). Updates on Honor Flight travel and events are as follows:
· 2020 Trip Suspension. The national Board has extended the suspension of all Honor Flight travel through the remainder of calendar year 2020. Please note that this mandate includes trips of all sizes, destination and duration. Failure to abide by the trip suspension mandate will result in immediate and irrevocable discharge of the Hub from the Honor Flight Network.
· Local Events/Fundraisers. As has been previously communicated, as of June 1, 2020, Hubs may have local events and fundraisers as long as such events/fundraisers comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations in place at the time of the event. If you do not know what the current mandates are at the time of your planned event, please reach out to an attorney in your state to assist you in determining whether your event will fall within the legal criteria of the mandates as of that time. Hubs are encouraged to use extreme caution in hosting events and ensure that all event participants are complying at all times with the applicable regulations in your area (i.e. social distancing, masks, etc.).
· Southwest Group Reservations. If you have a group reservation with Southwest Airlines that is impacted by the extended suspension and you have not already received a refund for that flight, please send me your flight date(s), confirmation number(s), and POC contact info and I will prepare one last round of refund requests for SWA. This is for flights that were scheduled between September 1 – December 31, 2020, for which you have already paid a deposit. Please DO NOT send me your flight information if you have already received a refund in any form for a flight during this final time period.
On behalf of the staff at the national office, as well as the Board of Directors, I can say that this decision was incredibly difficult (as many of the Hubs that have made this decision earlier in the year can attest). This is probably the most difficult email I have had to write in the nearly two years I have been on the staff here at HFN. That being said, the safety of our veterans has always been and will continue to be the number one priority of the Honor Flight Network. Our veterans are among the most vulnerable of the population as it relates to serious complications and death from COVID-19 and, as a result of this, it is just not prudent for Honor Flight to risk the health and safety of those we seek to honor at this juncture.
The national staff will continue to be available to assist Hubs in any way we can or answer any questions you may have. We look forward to resuming flights with you all again in 2021.
Meredith Rosenbeck, CEO
Honor Flight Network
4601 North Fairfax Drive Suite 1200
Arlington, Virginia 22203