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Learning to Fly: IP Flight FAQs

If you're studying abroad, odds are you're getting on a plane. We've compiled answers to your frequently asked flight questions so you can navigate the skies with ease. Scroll down for bonus tips on flying like a pro!

How will I get to my program?

Let's start with the obvious. When you signed your IP contract, you indicated whether you would like to be part of the group flight or exempt from the group flight. See below for more on what each of these choices entails. Recently, we asked you to confirm your choice by completing the Flight Status Confirmation Form. If you are going abroad this fall, please be sure to complete this form by no later than Friday, July 17. We will email you to follow up and confirm your choice.

students sitting on a bench

I'm on the group flight. What does that mean exactly?

Being on the group flight means that the International Programs Office will purchase a roundtrip ticket to and from your program on your behalf. IP will purchase a ticket that departs from LAX at the beginning of the semester and returns at the end of the semester. $1,220 will be charged to your student account for your flight as part of the IP fee (or $500 if you're going to DC).

For tips on navigating the group flight with ease, keep scrolling!

I decided to be exempt from the group flight. Anything I should know?

If you chose to be exempt from the group flight, that means you agreed to purchase and book your own flight to and from your program. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You will not be charged for the group flight and your IP fee will be discounted by $1,220 (or $500 for DC).
  • When we book the group flights, we will send you the itinerary for your reference.
  • As you know, circumstances are changing frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we strongly recommend that you purchase flight insurance. Tips on selecting a policy are available here. Remember that personal expenses like flights are not eligible for reimbursement by the university if your program is suspended before departure. 
  • You must arrive at your program location on the same day as the rest of the group, between 10am and 5pm. No exceptions! If you arrive in country early, you cannot stay in the house until the rest of the group arrives. After you upload your flight itinerary (see below) you will be assigned a move in time slot. You must arrive at the program location and move in at the time you are assigned. Please note that guests will not be permitted on campus, including on move in day. 
  • You are required (!!!) to provide us with a copy of your flight itinerary. This is so we/the program staff in your location know when you will arrive at your program, and how to find you if you don't show up on time. Here are the flight itinerary deadlines:
        • Fall 2020 Washington, D.C. Program: August 7, 2020 
  • Once you book your flight, submit your itinerary using the IP Document Submission Form by the deadline above. No hard copies or emailed copies will be accepted.
  • You need to book your own flight, but also your own ground transportation to and from the airport to your program location. You can request to join the ground transportation with the rest of the group by contacting the in-country program staff (see your program's page for details on who to contact), but no guarantees.

Other Flight FAQs:

I'm on the group flight, but I want to travel after the program. What should I do?
In almost all situations, you can extend the return date on your group flight. Information on how to do this will be sent to you along with your flight itinerary, after your flight is booked. We recommend making these changes as early as possible in order to ensure you incur the minimum fees. Remember that you can make date changes to your return flight, but not changes to the route.

I'm on the group flight, but I don't want to take one leg of my flight. Now what?
If you do not take the outgoing leg of your flight, your whole ticket will be cancelled by the airline. This means that you are required to take your outgoing group flight. You can choose not to take the return leg of your group flight, but you will then be responsible for purchasing and booking your own return flight. You will also need to inform your program's staff, and email so that the airline knows that they can cancel your ticket. If you don't do this, you might be marked as a "no show," and you might encounter problems with that airline in the future as a result.

I need special accommodations for my group flight, or I want to upgrade.
You can contact our travel agent at to see if they can help, but there are no guarantees they will be able to assist. Since we book group tickets at a discount, we have to follow extra regulations and we can't accommodate all requests. Be sure to let them know your name, and which program/term you are going to.

What if I want to change my flight status?
If you want to change your flight status for fall 2020, you must let us know by completing the Flight Status Confirmation Form by no later than Friday, July 17, 2020. After this date, we can no longer make changes to your flight status. We will follow up in writing to confirm the flight status we have on file for you, and your next steps.

When will I receive my itinerary and dates of travel?
We plan to communicate group flight itineraries to fall 2020 IP students in the coming weeks. We will provide this information to you as soon as possible via email. Check your email for program dates.

How do I get my boarding pass for the group flight?
You will receive your boarding pass when you arrive at the airport for your flight.

I'm an RA - does all of this apply to me?

RAs are sometimes asked to arrive early for training. We will contact you separately regarding your flight details.

man on airplane

Tips on Flying from the Pros

Arrive Early.
Avoid stress by giving yourself plenty of time at the airport. If you're on the group flight, we'll ask you to meet us at LAX four hours prior to your flight (or three hours prior for DC). If you are booking a connecting flight, be sure that your connecting flight arrives at least four hours prior to your next flight. That way if there's a delay or your other flight is cancelled, you'll probably still make your next flight.

Pack Light.
Repacking bags at the check in desk is the WORST. We will send you the baggage information for your flight, but if you have additional questions, email Be sure to specify which program you're attending for which term. The IP Office cannot advise on baggage requirements beyond the email we will send you, but we do provide packing tips on your program's page.

Keep Important Documents Handy.
You are required to create an emergency envelope prior to your departure that contains important documents like a copy of your passport, any necessary immigration documents, extra passport photos, etc. For details see pg.33 of the IP Student Handbook. You might need these documents when you are going through immigration, so keep them in your carry-on luggage.

***Bonus Tips from our IP Ambassadors***

"Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage. Bring small toiletries (contacts, etc) in case your bag gets lost. Pre-download songs, a movie or a podcast before you go. Neck pillows are cheesy, but helpful on long flights!" - Gracie Orr, Lead Ambassador

"Sometimes it's cheaper to buy two round-trip tickets, instead of one round-trip ticket with a connecting flight!" - Mackenzie Winslow, Lausanne Ambassador

"If you know you want to go travel to a specific place, then book the flights early first with your group and everything else (hotels, activities, etc.) can and will fall in place later." - Emily Tran, Shanghai Ambassador

"Keep your valuables (medication, camera, etc) in your carry on baggage. It's nice to have some local currency ahead of time so that you can use it right when you get off the plane." - Ashley Stephens, Florence Ambassador