Humanitarian Travel Services: Providing Relief to Service Staff and Volunteers

When people picture the typical traveler, they often think of someone on vacation or traveling for business. However, travel management companies (TMCs) provide services for another type of travel – humanitarian travel.

What is Humanitarian Travel?

Humanitarian organizations provide aide and epidemic relief to communities across the world. Typically, humanitarian organizations are non-profit groups that receive funding to carry out their work.

Whenever and wherever aid is required, these individuals give up their time to support those in need. No matter the cause for travel, it is the job of the TMC to get staff members and volunteers to their destination.

Primary Needs of Humanitarian Travel

Humanitarian travelers need to arrive at their destinations, on short notice, and for the lowest cost.

Frequently, staff members and volunteers travel to remote areas of the world. These locations often lack the infrastructure needed to alleviate certain problems on their own. Because of this, outside resources need to be transported into the region when a crisis strikes.

The lack of infrastructure can create increased travel difficulties. For example, finding a direct flight into the area where relief is needed is rare. As a result, humanitarian travel specialists are experts on splitting tickets between multiple modes of transport. Oftentimes, a single trip may require air, rail, land, and/or ferry transportation.

Humanitarian travel specialists also must be able to arrange transport on short or emergency notice. An epidemic could happen at any given moment; the sooner support arrives, the better.

Also, while corporations may focus on overall traveler experience, humanitarian travel is done under a tight budget. As a result, these organizations prioritize lowest fare over traveler amenities. TMCs that book humanitarian travel must balance cost while still guaranteeing traveler safety. Thankfully, humanitarian travel specialists can access humanitarian fares: a special cost tier created for humanitarian travel. These lower fare rates provide discounted transportation specifically for humanitarian services.

Policy and Reporting Obligations

In addition to extra travel considerations, there are policies humanitarian travel must adhere to, and that TMCs must acknowledge.

One such policy is the Fly America Act. This order requires that air transport funded by the U.S government must be through U.S air carriers. This adds an extra layer to the already complex practice of splitting tickets.

The U.S government grants exceptions to this policy when it reaches an agreement with the foreign government involved. Known as Open Skies Agreements, four such exemptions currently exist with the European Union, Australia, Switzerland, and Japan. If the U.S Department of Transportation rules that a non-U.S air service meets Fly America Act requirements, then it may be utilized. However, the traveler must fly on a U.S carrier first before connecting with a different carrier.

Humanitarian organizations must provide detailed trip reporting as verification that they adhered to required policies. Without proof funds were used properly, humanitarian organizations risk losing individual and federal support. When these organizations utilize TMCs, it becomes the responsibility of the TMC to oversee reporting requirements.

Atlas Travel’s History with Humanitarian Travel

Atlas Travel, provider of Global Travel Management, has a special team of humanitarian travel specialists. Our “Team H” receives continuous training to guarantee that our services meet the unique requirements of this type of travel. From Specialist Humanitarian Fare offerings to the Fly American Act, our agents know all the ins and outs.

In addition, Atlas Travel’s technological resources allows for reporting customization. As a result, we are able to deliver the specific information requested by our client’s funders.

Booking humanitarian travel is a demanding but rewarding process. There is no greater feeling than knowing that our services made it easier for our clients to change the world.

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