Service members learn how to handle crises but few expect one to occur during their leave. However, military personnel may use discount airline tickets to visit a country that becomes embroiled in crisis. If this occurs, they should be prepared to handle the situation. Part of this involves being aware of Department of State responsibilities.
An overseas crisis does not always result in the State Department evacuating U.S. citizens. The nature of the situation determines the action taken. The Department may provide advice like warnings regarding areas of unrest and where to go to seek assistance. In the most serious situations, a recommendation may be made for U.S. citizens to leave the affected country. Departure assistance may be provided if commercial transport is not possible or available.
If the local transportation and communication systems are operating normally, the best option is to use the military discount airline ticket to board the regularly scheduled commercial flight. If these infrastructures are severely compromised or are damaged, the Department works with the local government, other U.S. government agencies, and other countries to arrange non-commercial or charted transportation via land, sea, or air. Military options are a last resort, even for service members.
Departure assistance is offered on a reimbursable basis so the cost is the responsibility of affected U.S. citizens. If commercial transport is not viable, the U.S. government provides transportation and charges the equivalent of full coach airfare on a commercial flight. Travelers are taken to a safe location nearby and must make travel arrangements home.
After purchasing a discount airline ticket for leave travel overseas, the State Department recommends registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Travelers should monitor the State Department website for updates during a crisis. Click here to find overseas airfare deals for military personnel and then take the recommended precautionary measures.