But "What If?" Welcome Team FAQs

This section will provide answers to many frequently asked questions asked by Welcome Teams. Be sure to reference it.

There is inclement weather?

  • See “What if flight is delayed” and “What if if the flight is canceled” sections. If you are uncomfortable driving to the airport, but the plane is still scheduled to land, network with someone that has four-wheel drive!

The flight is delayed?

  • If the flight is delayed, the GNT Leader or the Welcome Team Leader needs to notify others who are going to the airport. Continue to check FlightAware.com, and be prepared to pick up the refugees, no matter what time they arrive, as stated in your signed commitment form. Remember that delays are common.

  • If the flight is delayed more than one hour, please text the WRD staff member on call with a brief update.

The flight is canceled?

  • If WRD hears from IOM that the flight has been cancelled, then we will notify you immediately.

  • You may be the first person to find out that the flight has been canceled. Keep checking FlightAware.com and also call the airline or speak to an airline representative at the airport to double check that the flight is definitely cancelled. Once certain that the flight is cancelled, call the WRD staff member on call. Each situation is different, so the WRD staff member on call will best advise you on how to address the situation.

  • Know that we don’t get an immediate response from IOM, and oftentimes have to wait several hours before finding out when the refugee(s) rescheduled flight is arriving. It could arrive within a few hours, or could be the following day.

  • If the flight is canceled, WRD staff can work to complete the arrival if you cannot.

The refugees do not come through the exit?

  • Keep waiting and watching for the refugee(s) for at least one hour since the plane has landed. Refugees are often the last to exist and sometimes very slow in coming through the gate.

  • If an hour has passed and you still have not seen the refugee:

    • Search the terminal area, checking both floors and the outdoors.

    • If you do not see them around the terminal, find someone who works for the airline with which the refugee is flying. Ask the airline employee to to go back to the gate area and look for the refugees who you are expecting. Keep in mind they may not know what a refugee is, and be prepared to explain that refugees may not know how to get out of the gate.

    • If you cannot find someone from the airlines (or the airlines office is closed) someone at the airport from the airline they traveled on, find a security person. Ask this security person to go back behind the gate and find the refugees.

    • If you cannot find anyone, or people refuse to assist you, call the WRD staff member on call.

I can’t find the interpreter?

  • Call the interpreter. Ask if they are in the airport. If so, locate them.

  • If the interpreter is running late, stay at the airport to continue waiting for the arriving refugee(s). If the refugee(s) arrive prior to the interpreter, call the interpreter and ask him or her to interpret over the phone. The interpreter can explain that the refugee(s) should wait with your team until he or she arrives.

  • If the interpreter does not answer, wait until the time that the flight is scheduled to arrive. If the interpreter has still not arrived by this time, then call the WRD staff member on call to receive advice on how to proceed.

There is an extreme emergency and I can’t make it to the airport?

  • Emergencies happen. That is why we require at least two people to be committed to attending an arrival. The commitment your team made in taking on this responsibility of this arrival means that you must identify an appropriate back-up plan in the event of an emergency.

  • Contact the WRD staff member on call to receive advice about how to best proceed.

My car breaks down on the way to the arrival?

  • Interpreter can do it if they are driving separately.. but this an extreme case. Absolutely not preferred.

The refugees’ luggage is lost?

  • Locate the service desk of the refugees’ airline (Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, etc.) on the bottom floor of RDU, the same level where the checked luggage is being dispersed.

  • Explain the situation to the representative, and find out when the luggage will be arriving to the airport. Also find out if the luggage needs to be picked up or if the airline will deliver it to the refugees’ new home.

  • If the luggage needs to be picked up, give the airline representative the phone number of the refugees’ U.S. tie.

    • If there is no U.S. tie then give the representative the phone number of the WRD staff member on call and inform him/her that the luggage will need to be picked up at a future point.