Please note: Miles4Migrants does not take direct flight requests. Rather, we work through our network of approved nonprofit partners who identify individuals who are legally approved to travel but in need of financial support to cover airfare costs. We are only able to book flights for Afghans who were approved to travel by one of our nonprofit partners.
Miles4Migrants slowly resumes flights out of Kabul
We are thrilled to share that we have just successfully flown our first Afghan passengers directly out of Kabul! Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15th, 2021, Miles4Migrants has been able to fly almost 20,000 Afghans evacuees living on U.S. military bases to their final destinations. However, due to commercial flight restrictions at the Kabul airport, all of our flights directly out of Afghanistan had been canceled or repeatedly rebooked since that time.
Thankfully, after months of persistent work, our Flight Booking Team was recently able to book our first successful flights out of Kabul. Why did it take so long? Here’s an inside look at all the work that can go into one successful flight to safety:
September 29th, 2021:
Miles4Migrants receives a flight request from our nonprofit partner, Caritas Belgium, for a mother and 6 daughters to fly from Kabul to Belgium to reunite with their son/brother. Devastatingly, we learn that the father of the daughters, as well as one of their brothers, have been killed by the Taliban.
October 5th, 2021:
Miles4Migrants books the mother and daughters on a Turkish Airlines flight from Kabul to Istanbul on November 2nd.
October 19th, 2021:
Turkish Airlines cancels the flight.
November 8th, 2021:
Caritas Belgium explores Pakistan (where many Afghans were fleeing to at the time) as another relocation option for the family. However, they find that the family is unable to relocate there because the border was intensely crowded, and there was difficulty in obtaining a Pakistani visa. Caritas Belgium asks that we book them from Kabul to Brussels, via Tehran. Unfortunately, this was not possible, as no commercial flights were operating out of Kabul at the time.
January 15th, 2022:
Our Flight Booking Team is finally able to book the family on a KamAir flight on January 26th, 2022 to Istanbul and then on a separate itinerary from Istanbul to Brussels. The problem? Without a Turkish visa, the family would not be able to leave the transit area of the Istanbul airport to recheck their bags. This means the family would only be allowed one carry-on bag per person. As you can imagine, uprooting your entire life in just one carry-on is extremely heart-wrenching.
January 25th, 2022:
- We are notified that, due to new travel restrictions imposed by Turkey, the flight will only allow Turkish residents and students to board the flight from Kabul to Istanbul. All others would be denied boarding, including the Afghan family we had booked.
- Our Flight Booking Team finds another KamAir flight that they can book to Dubai instead. Using donated cash, we book the mother and her daughters on this new itinerary. The flight departs the next day, January 26th. Additionally, they’re all booked on a separate itinerary from Dubai to Brussels with United MileagePlus miles.
January 27th, 2022:
- Everyone successfully makes it onto the flight from Kabul to Dubai! However, the whole party is delayed at the Dubai airport because an airport employee reportedly demanded a photo with one of the Afghan daughters. They very nearly miss their connecting flight due to the airline employee’s disrespectful and inappropriate request. We are extremely angered by this report and are reminded that while a flight may help open doors to new opportunities, it does not stop difficulties ahead.
- All passengers land safely in Belgium! The women and the brother who had previously made it to Belgium are at last reunited, but it is just the beginning of the rebuilding of their new lives. We are honored that we could be a small part of their new beginning.
It takes a network of people to help fulfill one flight request, but one of the most crucial parts of the chain is a donor who boldly steps up to support a plane ticket. If you’d like to help another family start their new beginning, you can support their flight with cash, frequent flyer miles, credit card points, or cryptocurrency.