The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) flight program over the holidays will return again this year, albeit with a limited scope.
Every year the CAF offers the Christmas/New Years flight program during the holiday season to reunite members of the CAF with their loved ones, family, and friends.
This year’s program will run flights from Dec. 15 to Jan. 6. However, a recently released CANFORGEN notes that the Christmas Flight Program will be reduced in scope because of operational pressures and the CAF’s new reconstitution efforts.
“This will result in a significant reduction in overall flights. However, the program will maintain necessary capacity to support CAT 1 passengers’ requirements with a limited capacity for CAT [category] 2 passengers,” stated the CANFORGEN.
Travel under this program is not a financial entitlement. Therefore, in the event of a flight delay, cancellation, or reroute, members will be responsible for travel or hotel costs.
The CANFORGEN advises that the program can be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, additional screening and in-flight protocols remain in effect.
“These precautions will serve to provide a measured response to the existing degree of threat to our members, their families and the Canadian community at large,” stated the CANFORGEN.
Revised information pertaining to COVID-19 safety measures will be made available through the SJS Strat J4 TN website.
Categories of Travel
The flight program will choose participants based on categories of travel and will determine booking precedence.
Category One Includes:
- Regular Force, Class B and Class C Reserve Force personnel and military personnel of USA, NATO, and Commonwealth Forces on exchange with the CAF that are separated from their dependant(s) as defined in CBI 208.80 (ref c) due to service reasons and not entitled to duty travel.
- Single Regular Force, Class B and Class C Reserve Force military personnel and military personnel of USA, NATO and Commonwealth Forces on exchange with the CAF travelling to visit their next of kin (NOK) (as listed on MBRs NOK identification form DND 2587) IAW REF D.
- Applications from the above CAT 1 personnel will be considered equally, with priority going to the earliest date and time an application was received at the National Passenger Service Centre (NPSC).
- only military members, travelling alone may qualify for CAT 1.
Category Two Includes:
- All other CAF military personnel and eligible dependants (IAW REF C) who are entitled to leave travel on non-duty basis IAW REF B and who do not already hold a confirmed CAT 01 seat.
- Applications from the above CAT 2 personnel will be considered equally, with priority going to the earliest date and time an application was received at the National Passenger Service Centre (NPSC).
Space Available Travel
- Active members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, not including dependants.
- Class A Reservists with two years of qualifying service.
- Military Personnel of the USA, NATO, and Commonwealth Forces, including accompanying dependants, on exchange with the CAF.
- All other CAF military personnel and eligible dependants (IAW REF C) who are entitled to leave travel on non-duty basis IAW Ref B and who do not already hold a confirmed CAT 01 or CAT 2 seat.
General Application Information
Applications must be submitted using the special Christmas/New Years Leave Travel Program application form available on DWAN on this website..
Detailed Application Procedures for CAT 01
Military members meeting the requirements for CAT 01 may apply for travel under this category by:
Completing a special Christmas/New Year’s leave travel program application form.
Application forms are to be verified and digitally signed by the member’s supervisor (minimum rank of Warrant Officer-Petty Officer 1st Class) to confirm entitlement to travel under Cat 01.
Members must email their completed application form to and email it to this email address here. XMAS(AT SYMBOL)FORCES.GC.CA. The subject of the email to read: applicant name – rank – initials – full-service number.
NPSC will take CAT 01 applications from 1 p.m. EST Oct. 25, 2022, to 1 p.m. EST November 30, 2022, inclusively.
According to the CANFORGEN, starting on Oct. 27, 2022, CAT 01 applicants will begin to receive registration confirmation emails, and on Oct. 31, 2022, CAT 01 applicants will start to get confirmed or unsuccessful booking notification emails.
All unsuccessful booking notifications will stay active and will keep being processed in the event seats become available until the application closing date, November 30, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST, unless otherwise cancelled by the applicant.
Detailed Application Procedures for CAT 02
Military members meeting the requirements for CAT 02 may apply for travel under this category by:
- Completing a Special Christmas/New Years’ Leave Travel Program application form.
- Application forms need to be verified and digitally signed by the member’s supervisors (minimum rank of Warrant Officer-Petty Officer 1st Class) to confirm entitlement to travel under CAT 02 and to confirm any listed dependants on the application form against the member’s personnel record resume (MPRR).
- Members must email the completed application form to this email XMAS(AT SYMBOL)FORCES.GC.CA. The subject of the email to read: applicant name – rank – initials – full – service number.
NPSC is accepting CAT 02 Applications from 1 p.m. EST Nov. 2, 2022, to 1 p.m. EST Nov. 30, 2022, inclusively.
On Nov. 9, 2022, CAT 02 applicants will start to receive their registration confirmation emails. Later, Nov. 16, 2022, applicants will begin receiving confirmed or unsuccessful booking notification emails. All unsuccessful booking notifications will remain active and will continue to be processed in the event seats become available until the program application closing date, November 30, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST, unless otherwise cancelled by the applicant.
Application Procedures for Space-Available Travel
Applications for travel aboard the Special Christmas/New Years Leave Travel Program flights may be applied for on December 1, 2022, at 1 p.m. EST, by contacting NPSC from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, at 1-800-823-3857 between 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. EST.
“Where seats are available, requests will be actioned on a first-come, first-served basis while the member is on the phone. A reservation will immediately be created, and the member will receive a confirmation number,” the CANFORGEN also noted.
Anyone looking to cancel a flight or not wish to have their application remain active can notify NPSC by email.
General Program Information
- One-way travel is permitted for all applications.
- Primary flight departure date may be later than an alternate flight date.
- Stopovers are not permitted. Where an application involves interconnecting flights to complete a one-way journey, these will be considered as one flight.
Flight schedules, terminal locations, and information for the program are available on the following DWAN website: SJS STRAT J4 TN. All flight times and dates may change based on operational pressures. Therefore, passengers should confirm flight schedules before arrival at the airport by communicating with the contact information provided in the 48 hours preflight confirmation email.
For more information, NPSC is available to help and answer questions by phone at 1-800-823-3857 from Monday to Friday between 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST or by email.
According to the CANFORGEN, checked baggage information is as follows:
- One piece, a total weight fifty (50) pounds (23 kilograms) per passenger. Baggage shall not exceed 62 inches (158 cm) in overall dimensions.
- Carry-on baggage is defined as those items that passengers may retain with them in the cabin during the flight. Each passenger is permitted to board with one carry-on bag and one personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop).
- A carry-on bag shall not exceed 22 x 16 x 9 inches (55 x 40 x 22 centimeters), a personal bag shall not exceed 17 x 13 x 6 inches (43 x 33 x 15 centimeters), and the total cabin baggage is not to exceed 22 pounds (10 kilograms).
The following items are not permitted:
- Ski equipment
- Hockey sticks
- Golf clubs
- Oversized hockey bags
- Other oversized items
Strollers and Transport Canada approved child car seats are authorized and not counted as checked baggage. Passengers cannot be in possession of cannabis or cannabis products, including prescribed cannabis.