Travel Questions


Who do I ask if I have questions that aren’t answered on the website?

Questions should be referred directly to Lane Hensley at St. Margaret’s. Please note that our travel agency deals only with issues surrounding the flights, and not with anything that happens on the ground in the Holy Land.


Do I need to call the travel agent to arrange my air transportation?

If you intend to travel on the group Economy air fare with no changes, no you do not.  For any other air travel exceptions, see below.


How do I upgrade to United Economy Plus (more leg room)?

United Airlines does not offer traditional Premium Economy.  They offer Economy Plus seats, which can only be assigned after tickets are actually issued., at an additional fee per segment.  We will advise you once the tickets are issued, and will refer you to our travel agent so you can purchase the Economy Plus seats directly. On the 787, there are 66 Economy Plus seats. As of February 23, 2017, 61 are available on our outbound flight and 63 on our return.


How do I upgrade to business class or first class?

First of all, you cannot upgrade using mileage or points of any kind using the group Economy fare as a basis for doing so (this is a United and general airline industry regulation concerning group fares).

To upgrade, using mileage or points, to Business Class on our United flights, you would need to purchase an eligible published Economy fare and then use miles to upgrade, if mileage upgrade seats are available.  You may also elect to purchase a paid Business Class ticket on our United flights without using mileage or points.   The round trip group airfare cost to us is $1,165 per person. So to travel Business Class or First Class, you’d need to ticket and pay for the full amount yourself (less any airline mileage discounts or other promotions you may have), and we’d deduct $1,165 from the final payment for the pilgrimage. Please notify us if you do this, because we need to know whether or not to purchase a group Economy fare ticket for you.  If you don’t notify us and we purchase a group ticket for you, we can’t give you the $1,165 credit on your final payment.  If you elect to buy an upgraded ticket on the United group itinerary, United offers Polaris Business Class only, with flat bed seats (no First Class).

You may also elect to upgrade or purchase Business or First Class tickets that may be available on other carriers, but see the note below about planned arrival and departures into/out of Tel Aviv.  Again, you would need to pay entirely for these tickets, and we would apply the group airfare credit to your final pilgrimage payment.

There are two ways for you to accomplish upgrading to or purchasing Business Class or First Class tickets:

  1. You can call Pinnacle Travel Services LLC at (888) 896-3636 or send email to at any time, and they will be happy to assist you. Identify yourself as part of the Hope Lutheran / St. Margaret’s Holy Land Pilgrimage, Oct. 8-19, 2017. 
  2. You can make your own travel arrangements, and do not have to go through our travel agent if you don’t want to.

Two important considerations here:

  1. To ensure that you get the $1,165 airfare credit on your final pilgrimage payment, please notify us ahead of time if you purchase a different ticket, whether it’s through our travel agent of not.
  2. Although you can book the same flights as the rest of the group, for fare purposes, you won’t be traveling as part of the group. Therefore, you are not constrained to take the same flights. However, if you do not arrive in Tel Aviv with the group, you will be completely responsible for arranging transportation to reconnect with the group in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

On the 787, there are 36 Polaris Business seats. As of February 23, 2017, all are available on both our transatlantic flights.


How do I pay my baggage fees?

Passengers traveling in United Economy or Economy Plus are entitled to one (1) checked bag weighing up to 50 pounds free of charge.  Passengers in United Polaris Business Class are entitled to two (2) checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each free of charge.  Most other international airlines have similar policies.  However, due to coach travel and luggage handling logistics, everyone is encouraged to bring only 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on bag (plus a purse, computer bag, etc).  Any fees in excess of the free allowances should be paid at airport check-in.


How do I avoid the group transportation entirely and meet the group in Israel?

The answer is exactly the same as if you were booking a business class or first class seat. See the answer to that question above.


How do I purchase trip insurance?

Trip insurance is available through our travel agent, Pinnacle Travel Services LLC. To purchase trip insurance, call (888) 896-3636 or send email to They use the Allianz “Classic” package as the base plan. Identify yourself as part of the Hope Lutheran / St. Margaret’s Holy Land Pilgrimage, Oct. 8-19, 2017. The cost of the insurance depends on the options you select and your age. Please be prepared to provide your date of birth, home address, and the amount you’re paying for the trip.

Important: If you need a preexisting medical condition covered, you need to purchase the insurance within 14 days of putting down your first deposit or payment.


Last updated: August 22, 2017 at 13:32 pm