While this email is predominately focused on Europe, we have included students who may need to transit through Europe from Africa or the Middle East.
International Safety and Security is working with study abroad offices to track when students have returned or plan on returning. We note that you plan to depart Europe on March 20 or later OR we do not have information related to your plans. (If this information is incorrect and you have already returned or are returning today or tomorrow, please let us know.) However, given developments in Europe, we again strongly encourage you to depart as soon as possible.
While flights are occurring now, the U.S. Embassies in France, Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands released messages suggesting that future access to flights may become uncertain after the next few days. They also note that national governments may impose additional restrictions on borders and movements within a country with little or no notice. Given these conditions, you should depart Europe as soon as possible.
We encourage you to work with your travel agent or airline to move your departure forward if possible. You should consider flying to any U.S. airport instead of delaying for a direct flight to your nearest U.S. airport. If you do not have a ticket, you can work with Corporate Travel Planners or Direct Travel to make arrangements. Instructions for making arrangements are below my signature block.
The local U.S. embassies are unsure how much longer international flights will continue throughout Europe as flights depend on host nation restrictions and airline demand. If you fail to depart before international flights cease, you should be prepared to stay in place until they resume. The timeframe is unknown, but may last a month or longer. The University will be unable to provide further travel or accommodation assistance to you.
Regardless of when you are departing, it is important to stay informed. You should monitor the local U.S. Embassy website for information, as well as the U.S. Embassy of any layover destination. If you have not done so, you should also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which allows U.S. Embassies to send updates directly to you.
For assistance booking a flight:
First, we encourage students to contact the airline carrier or travel agent who booked your ticket and request a change. Most major airlines are waiving change fees but be sure to ask.
If you cannot rebook your ticket from your original ticketing party or if you do not have a return ticket, you can contact Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 210-524-3317 during business hours from Monday to Friday. After 7pm CST, contact 1-303-801-2331 and select the business option. Reference “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Study Abroad Evacuation” when calling. Outside of office hours, email is the best method to contact CTP.
Another option is Direct Travel, a local travel agency also working with the University. Email is best for making contact: email@example.com. You will need to supply the following info to start the process:
- Full Name
- Passport #
- Where you are right now
- Nearest Airport
- Where do you need to fly into
Once you supply that information, they will find a flight and send the ticket/itinerary info. If you cannot email, the phone contact for them is: 1-888-677-8728. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm central.
If unable to book a flight through CTP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance.
Tickets and rebooking completed through university assistance will be billed directly to the University. If you pay yourself you may submit a request for reimbursement within 30 days from your departure from your host country. Any request must include receipts and supporting documentation. The reimbursement form can be found here: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/6651617.