Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Does British Airways Have to Offer Missionaries?

Today, an airline is an airline. Gone are the days of airlines trying to impress passengers with excellent meals, great service and perks to keep you flying! While this is true in general, each airline has held onto a few of their "perks" and British Airways has retained a few which we think our Missionary families might be interested.
Delayed Ticketing:
British Airways understands that missionaries have to "raise" support from individuals and other sources and they realize that this can often be a long process. They also understand that you need to book/reserve your ticket when prices are cheap. So, British Airways allows a few travel agents, like World Missions Travel, to reserve special "Missionary Contract Fares" for missionaries and we can hold them for several weeks while you organize the funds to pay for the tickets.

FREE Checked Baggage:
If traveling on a British Airways Missionary Contract from a gateway city in the USA (Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, New York, Miami, Houston, etc.), then each missionary is entitled to 3 FREE checked pieces of luggage at no additional cost!

FREE Date Change:
Often missionaries find themselves needing to change dates. Whether it was that terrible food you ate on the mission field which caused you to get so sick that you needed to go home early or whether those orphans just stole your heart and you want to stay a little longer, British Airways wants to help make those ticket changes possible! BA will allow one free date change as long as the same class of service is available. If the same class of service is available (and no we do not mean any economy seat, we mean the same price structure seat) then your ticket can be changed for free!

Household Mileage Accounts:
Frequent flier mileage accounts are great ways to earn you and your family free travel. However, let's face it...if the average missionary travels once a year (or less), it will take forever for you to earn enough mileage for that free ticket. British Airways is a little different. While each member of your family (including the kids) has their own mileage account, the head of household can invite everyone living at the same address to join the "Household Account." This pooling of miles allows you to pull miles from any family members individual account and add to another account in order to reach a free ticket faster! Unlike other airlines, British Airways does NOT charge for the mileage transfer if it is from within the household account. Check out the BA Household Account Website for more details.

On Business - Corporate Account for Non-Profit Organizations:
For missionaries who have started their own non-profit organizations, this will be of significant interest to you. When you, your family or short term mission team members travel, they can all earn miles for the ministry! British Airways has a program called On Business which allows small businesses and non-profits to earn "corporate points" towards free travel. Each individual is still allowed to earn their own personal mileage, but then based on the distance they travel, they earn the organization points. These points, added together create the On Business account and allows the organization to get free tickets from the travel of its staff and volunteers.

So, consider using British Airways next time you travel to Europe or Africa on a mission trip!

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Get ALL that Stuff Back to the Mission Field...

As a missionary, one of the things we do, each time we are on furlough, is to head to Wal-Mart, Target and other places to stock up on all the "essentials" which we cannot find on the mission field. This is a cumbersome challenge, but one that is necessary, especially if you have children.

When we pack to return to the mission field, our excess luggage includes clothing for the kids for the next X months or years. It also includes things like brown sugar, vanilla, crisco and more!

The usual question is "How do we pack all this?" and "What do we pack it in?"

Over the years, we have discovered that suitcases are expensive and take up space in our small home. Duffle bags are cheap, but they are also flimsy and can't be used over and over. Boxes create lots of questions in customs. So, what does one use?

FOOT LOCKERS! Yes, the plastic foot lockers which can be found at stores like Wal-Mart and Academy Sporting Goods are perfect for luggage. They are lockable (with locks or zip ties), fit within the airline dimensions and stack easily on luggage carts! Not to mention, once home, you have perfectly good storage containers for things that does have a home elsewhere.

So, next time you are traveling and trying to pack it all up...consider grabing a foot locker or two!