What is HBL? In military lingo the letters HBL stand for Holiday Block Leave. This is the time that's given off to all of the soldiers on base for the holiday. Right now, I want you to understand what that means. Every single soldier on base has the option to fly home to their family if they're being offered HBL.
Why's that such important information? The second those dates are announced, the price for airline tickets is going to sky rocket. This is because all of those soldiers, and all of their families are going to start looking up rates for tickets. The airline industry uses dynamic pricing, so very quickly their algorithm's will realize a greater demand than supply, and up will go the prices.
- Time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
What to expect as your loved ones make plans to come home for the holidays
Holiday Block Leave begins with the waiting game. Soldiers must wait for their SGT’s to announce the HBL dates and times for the year. Once they’re announced, they’ll be the same for the entire base.
Soldiers will be told what time they’ll arrive at the airport, or the earliest flight they’re allowed to reserve.
Soldiers or their families will need to pay for their airplane ticket or other transportation back home.
Any soldiers that choose to stay on base during Holiday Block Leave will be sent into a barrack with other soldiers that are staying on base over the holiday.
Holiday Block Leave – the Process
Before departure, Soldier’s lockers and personal Items will be inspected. Personal items will be secured with a metal tab. Once that tab is placed it’s done, anything in the locker stays and it cannot be removed again until the soldiers return.
As soldiers prepare to leave, they’re lined up in a very long line and processed through various checkpoints. Soldiers will fill out paperwork; be debriefed on rules, and undergo a urine analysis (which will be repeated upon their return).
Finally the soldiers will make their way into a building where they’ll wait their turn to board a bus that will take them to the airport. All soldiers will use the same airport, STL.
Booking Flights for your Soldier
Book the VERY FIRST flight you can get. The longer you wait, the more expensive flights are going to get. They are NOT going to go down. The entire base is flying out, and this alone is driving up the price of tickets, add that with regular holiday tickets, and they’re going to go FAST. My daughter had to hang around the airport, tired, for an extra 12 hours because I hesitated.
There is a USO at the airport where soldiers can grab a free drink, and wave at the webcam. They can also try their best to grab a nap on a vacant cot. I#<3USO