Beware of Overseas Adventure Travel

Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:27 PM
  #1  
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Beware of Overseas Adventure Travel

This group tour is a branch of Grand Circle.
Today I was told that my trip leaving next week, for which I have been sent airline tickets and reserved back in April, was cancelled due to overbooking. In addition to being dropped by the better business bureau, the following is a claim which was settled by Grand Circle:
On 12/22/06 the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office announced a settlement with Grand Circle LLC. The company has agreed to pay cash and travel voucher refunds to more than 730 travelers resolving allegations that the company did not give it's travelers adequate notice of cancellation of the cruise portion of their trip.

Buyer beware!!! JKR
jkr2006 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #2  
 
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This happened to me in 2004 with a trip I had scheduled to the Amazon.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34546783
SusieQQ is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:40 PM
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This happened to me in 2004 with a trip I had scheduled to the Amazon.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34546783

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...=SusieQQ&fid=6
SusieQQ is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 02:08 PM
  #4  
 
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I guess it's GCT-bashing time again. Sigh.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Thanks for the info. jkr. A lot of people consider OAT for lower-cost travel to Asia-so your feedback is valuable in that regard-I would not use them, nor recommend a company that conducted their travel business that way-sounds like bad news.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 03:09 PM
  #6  
 
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jkr. It seems like you are continually badmouthing GCT and OAT - on many different threads. I would definitely like to hear OAT's side of the story, since our experience has been that GCT and OAT offer compensation even for the smallest changes in an itinerary - without being asked!

Our experience with GCT and OAT on the four tours that we have taken, and on a 5th that we recently booked, has been fantastic. We won't even consider going with another tour company, since the Tour Directors for GCT and OAT are always better than excellent.
sandys is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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What people do if a tour is cancelled? Will insurance reimburse for both: tour and air? What if no insurance? Scramble for something else in a hurry?
FainaAgain is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 05:05 PM
  #8  
 
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Many people, including myself, have had problems with Grand Circle. Check this out:

http://reports.bosbbb.org/Boston/Pub...aspx?firm=3848
SusieQQ is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:53 PM
  #9  
 
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sandys - When the state attorney general files against them it's a lot more than just one person complaining. The BBB didn't delist them for nothing. There is a time frame for notifying customers about cancellations and GCT/OAT ignores it. You would think after the AG getting a settlement, they would cease this practice, but obviously they haven't.
kybourbon is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:59 PM
  #10  
 
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The MA AG's settlement involved 730 travelers; I imagine that many times that number travel every year without complaint. So why the ongoing posts about how bad it all is?
Underhill is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 08:21 PM
  #11  
 
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I assume it's good if you take a tour and it works out beautifully. I assume it's bad if you sign up for a tour, buy airfare, and then get cancelled at the last minute. If you are in the second category, you'll probably be very upset, and the good experiences of people whose tours worked out probably don't mean anything.
WillTravel is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 10:37 AM
  #12  
 
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Most tour packages include airfare, and anyone who frequents this forum should know to buy trip insurance. So with luck, no one should be out $--just a vanished dream, which I'll admit is bad.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:00 AM
  #13  
 
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Underhill, sorry, but it's not correct. Most tours give you an option to buy air through them, but it's not mandatory to do so.

I was on about 10 tours: Elderhostel, Cosmos, Globus, Trafalgar, RCCL (cruise) - each one offered air as an option, both within the US or overseas.

Of the above, each offered insurance. With the exception of Elderhostel, the travel insurance is optional. With Elderhostel, it's included in the price of the program.
FainaAgain is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:38 AM
  #14  
 
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JKR--You did everyone a service by posting--and I don't care how many forums you put this on.

I am not a dissatisfied customer of OAT/Grand Circle. I feel as though I've become one, though. For the past two weeks I've been combing the internet for pros/cons on my list of 25 or so Egypt tour operators. I'm having a hard time deciding who I'll travel with, but Grand Circle/OAT came OFF the list pretty fast.

It's rather plain what their "business plan" is--they are determined to keep their prices low (and thus give the people who actually GO on their trips a good value) by overbooking without notification and also by demanding payment in full 90 days out for underbooked trips that aren't likely to run. Some have also complained of a subsequent "slow pay" for reimbursement.

I thought for sure the Massachusetts case would have changed their practices and am floored by their audacity in continuing to operate this way.

Underhill, you acknowledged that trip insurance doesn't pay for the vanished dream. It also that doesn't pay for all the time and effort one has put in to take off work, have someone watch kids or elderly parents, put the dog in the kennel, stop the newspapers and mail, etc.

A company can be quite frugal and still be honest. Two companies with whom I've dealt in the past have said to me after I've reserved/deposited, "We need seven (whatever number) people for this trip to run--and we only have six (whatever number) right now. Please check back next week (whenever) for an update." Their upfront communication is rewarded--I've known people to talk friends into going to make the trip happen.

It's too bad JKR was never given the opportunity to find a roommate!
Again, I don't view this as a whine--it's a good "buyer beware."
josephina is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 12:07 PM
  #15  
 
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Oh, boy, not again. I remember SusieQQ's case, and it seems nothing has changed.

-- the company still doesn't reveal when someone has in effect been 'waitlisted' rather than confirmed

-- the company still hasn't instituted a 'call for volunteers to be bumped first' policy like the airlines do when overbooking occurs

-- the definition of 'substitute tour' is too loose: I agree that a tour of Egypt in March is significantly different from one in Novemeber - travel is sensitive to season.

When booking with any tour company, not just this one: find some way of indicating, on one's deposit cheque if necessary, "for confirmed status only; deposit for waitlist status, especially if not advised to this effect within a week of cheque date, will be taken as breach of contract." Dunno if it will help, but it's worth a shot.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Nov 10th, 2007, 09:59 AM
  #16  
 
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One thing to do would be pay by credit card rather than check. Then you could get the c/c company to issue a refund.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 16th, 2007, 04:13 AM
  #17  
 
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Trip Overbooked post by jkr2006 has been resolved apparently to their satisfaction in approx. 2 weeks. Link: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35087243

Jack and Ann
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