Travel Forum

Our Travel Forum was created to provide you with the opportunity to connect with other travelers who share your passion for travel. Sign into "My Account" and you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. Not yet registered? It’s simple to create an account, membership is free, and it only takes a moment to join. Once you do, you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. If you have a specific customer service or quality assurance question, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814. We value the contributions of our travelers. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for participation before you begin.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 16, 2012

this may be something many of you already know, but it came as a surprise to me. I think it is something that needs more consistent treatment on the GCT web site.

I booked a trip for June 2012 on January 27, 2012. On January 30 the prelimminary air itinerary was posted on My Account on the web site. The next day I got an email alerting me to the fact that the itinerary was posted. I used the Confirmation Number to go to the airline web site and it showed confirmed reservations that matched the posted itinerary. It was a good flight schedule and I was happy.

On February 1 the web site said that the preliminary air itinerary was not yet available. What I had observed before was removed. The next day I received in the mail a paper copy of the air itinerary that was previously posted.

On February 14 My Account still indicated that the air itinerary was not yet available so I called Customer Service to inquire. After some research the representative informed me that GCT procedures say that any "domestic" flights cannot be booked more than 60 days prior to departure and that the itinerary I had previously been given had been cancelled. Such cancellation was confirmed when I went to the airline web site.

My new itinerary, which may or may not be like the first one, will be available on April 16. The Reservation Timeline on My Account still says that the Preliminary Air Itinerary will be available on February 6.

My flights are all domestic -- Washington Dulles to Seattle and return. But the same procedure applies, so I am told, to any domestic leg that gets you to the "gateway" for international air transportation. By gateway they seem to mean Boston or New York.

This is not a complaint, except the part about consistency and lack of notification of clients about a change in policy.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 16, 2012

Since I live in the Boston area and refuse to be sent to JFK for departures to Europe (successfully so far), that doesn't affect me.  However, my sister and niece are booked for the Ireland in Depth departing July 23rd from JFK, but flying there from Boston; and they have not received such notification.  At least, not yet.  Why do you suppose GCT would impose such a restriction?  It's not the airline?

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

February 16, 2012

It may be that GCT is trying to avoid airline caused confusion. We booked The Seine: Paris to Normandy on November 6 for March 25 and received our prliminary air by Noveber 16. Since then, Air France, not GCT has changed the flight number once, the flight schedule twice and the equipment 3 times, necessitating  seat assigment changes each time We have had this problem before on both domestic and international flights. Such changes by the airlines cause a lot of extra work for GCT, when the traveler is watching this and asking GCT why.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 16, 2012

The reason for GCT's change of procedure may very well have been dictated by the airlines, or even the government. That was not made clear to me. However, my main point was that when something already published is changed, some notification of the customer seems in order. And information provided on different pages of the web site should not be contradictory.

Since I am the one affected, it is up to me to stay on top of the situation. That's why I called in the first place. Now I am better prepared to accept whatever comes to pass. Had I not called and just gone on fat, dumb, and happy thinking that I had a confirmed reservation, I could have been significantly disappointed when the change actually came about.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 16, 2012

Do I understand correctly that you have not been notified by GCT of the flight change, except that you asked after checking the website?  GCT has not sent a letter or e-mail announcing this?  That's really unsatisfactory.

Like you, I periodically check what's going on with my reservations.  I'd better do it now for my July trip to the UK.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

February 18, 2012

Pauline,

Are your sister and niece flying Aer Lingus or Delta? If Delta from JFK I strongly advise paying the extra for Premium Economy and regulary checking to see if there have been any changes. The Delta plane is one of the oldest and the economy seats are very tight.

On the Ireland trip, because of problems getting a seat on Aer Lingus with GCT I booked my own flights on Delta and had selected a good seat in Premium Economy. However, while I was away for a few days there was a minor time change and all seat reservations were changed. My seat had changed to far back in economy. The only seat left in Premium Economy was in the emergency row so I took it but there was no seat in front of me so nowhere put my purse on take off or landing except in an overhead bin. It worked out all right, I had plenty of leg room but it was not the seat I'd selected when I'd booked and I would have preferred the other.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 18, 2012

Luisa,

Flying on Aer Lingus.  I have no idea why they're starting in Boston, since they live in CT.  Anyway, I gave them a heads-up on this issue, and their reply was that they can always get to New York easily enough.  Which is true.  My son has just advised me to tell them to check now, and if their first portion has been canceled, tell GCT to let the cancellation stand and they will get themselves to JFK.  

Pauline

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 18, 2012

The representative with whom I spoke, Kristina, was very specific that the 60-day lead time applied to ALL domestic flights, even those that were first legs getting you to the gateway airport. I thought Boston was a gateway airport, but only if the flight you take from Boston does not land in another US airport, I suppose.

This is one of those curiosities that has been, as we used to say in the Navy, OBE. That means "Overcome By Events". My preliminary air itinerary was promised (and still is) for February 6 by the on line Reservation Timeline. It was posted on line on January 30 and the paper copy was received about February 1. It was removed from the web site on February 2. I called on February 14 and was told it would now be available on April 16. I just looked in the "Your Important Information Bookelet" that we received within days of booking. It also has a timeline. In it the preliminary air itinerary is promised for March 7. None of this is particularly significant but just points to the problem of contradictory information being promulgated in different locations.

I still believe in Grand Circle Travel as a purveyer of excellant travel opportunities. They do a great job of organizing and executing the trips. Their employees are top-notch and will do anything for the client...except, it seems, communicate with each other. I have, over the years, been involved with trying to maintain multiple data bases that contain duplicate information. It is not easy to insure consistency...I realize that. But good customer service demands a better effort than is seemingly being put forward by GCT.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 887
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

February 18, 2012

I suppose that this reinforces my stand last year when I went to Ireland a day early so I could fly directly from Boston.  I refuse to go through JFK if I'm flying to Europe.  It simply doesn't make sense.  In terms of flying time, Boston is closer.  Logan is an international airport.  Why should I spend extra time changing at JFK with the added aggravation of having to go through customs there?

I checked my flight itinerary for July yesterday, and the only change is that on the return I don't have to change terminals at Heathrow.  I'll be flying down from Aberdeen and will land at Terminal 5 and then take off from Terminal 5 on the flight to Boston.  So that's a positive note.

Author: fleetfoot

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 44
Trips Taken: 9
Traveler Since: 2006

February 19, 2012

Captainlarry,

We have experienced the same domestic air situations as you.  Last year our domestic flight portion was usually listed as cancelled.  This meant that when I went to "My Account" the air itinerary came up as not available.  This was frustrating since I like to make sure that our flights don't change or I have enough time to possibly correct it if it does change.  Our domestic flight was changed to a very short layover.  I noticed on the airline website that our original domestic flight had not been cancelled that only our reservations were cancelled and rebooked on a different flight.  I was never notified of this change.  I called GCT and they changed it back to the original flight.   

GCT said that I could check my air itinerary on "checkmytrip.com", enter my GCT flight reservation number and my last name.  That website did give me the air itinerary for all of our international flights but listed the domestic flights as cancelled.  I still couldn't access any of this information on "My Account".  I'm having the same situation for our up coming trip to South Africa.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 20, 2012

My Continuing Air Itinerary Saga -- February 20, 2012 Chapter

Today I received an email from GCT once again listing the same preliminary air itinerary as before, except different seat numbers and a different Booking Reference Number.

I went to My Account and found that nothing had changed there; the preliminary air itinerary was still promised on Februar 06, but the preliminary air itinerary was not yet available.

As directed by the email received today I went to CheckMyTrip.com and found my reservation listed exactly as on the email. I then went to the United Airlines web site and there also the information was once again available. The only change from before was the Booking Reference number and the seat assignments.

So, once again I am happy with my air itinerary but still confused by the contradictions on the web site.

Stay tuned. There will undoubtedly be additional chapters to follow.

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 259
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

February 20, 2012

Your new reservation information also contradicts the information you were given last week by the representative who said the flights couldn't be booked more than 60 days before departure. It appears that they aren't all on the same page.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 21, 2012

My Continuing Air Itinerary Saga -- February 21, 2012 Chapter

The "New" Preliminary Air Itinerary is back on My Account this morning. It matches what I discovered yesterday.

You are correct, Janice. I don't know what changed from the 60-day lead time I was told by the rep to whom I spoke on the phone. Oh yes, the timeline still lists February 06 for receipt of the Preliminary Air Itinerary.

Stay tuned...

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 217
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

February 21, 2012

Hi guys,

I've been reading all of  your comments about the air scheduling, and was sitting here happy that I didn't think I had to worry.  But, just for the heck of it, I went to my air itinerary for Ireland in May, and sure enough, there was a change in two flights.  The first one is minor, leaving a half hour later for Belfast.  The return was the problem--they originally booked us on a flight that would get us to our final destination in Phoenix at 6:10 pm, in time for us to drive home in daylight since neither of us can drive at night. 

The new schedule now gets us in at 8:33 pm, so it will be dark.  We probably will have to get a room for the night--it's only 50 miles to home from the airport, but it's hard for us to see to drive at that time. 

Like I suspected it is an airline scheduling problem--they eliminated the earlier flight.  There are several flights numbered United (we're flying Continental), operated by US Airways, but after talking with GCT Air Dept this afternoon, United and Continental are insisting on their own carrier schedules, even though they are one airline now.  So, we are stuck, too with the later flight and also longer connection time . If we did find a flight we would want to change to, we would have to pay for the flight.  This would mean we would forfeit part of the funds we paid for business class and incur additional cost for 2 more suitable flights.  We decided to just keep the schedule they have now.  

This is our last International trip, we've seen all of Europe we wanted to see, including living in Europe and Asia over 23 years and traveling since we retired in 2000 every year to Europe.   Our travels will be this side of the Atlantic.  But, still, we always dread the air portion the most--we always enjoy in between; and we still don't want to travel with any other company--we'll stick with GCT. 

 

Author: rwhansen

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 53
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

February 23, 2012

Given the uncertainty and trama expressed in the above discussion, what could go wrong if one waited until 60 days prior to departure before booking airline reservations through GCT?

To begin, you know what GCT's airline price will be by working their online pricing with and without airline reservations.  This becomes the price for comparison with a price you can obtain independently. 

If you can find a lower price independently, book it.  If not, book it through GCT 60 days prior to departure.

Of course, there could be risk that GCT's airline price might change (probably upwards but not down).  And, one would need to arrange their own transfers if booked independently.  I received a letter two days ago, however, saying that transfers can now be purchased from GCT for certain trips up to 30 days prior to departure at the outrageous price of $100 per person per transfer.

If you purchase travel insurance through GCT, it's price is reduced when the you purchase airline tickets independently.  That can offset the price of travel insurance for the airline portion purchased through the airline or some other source.  If your flight is delayed enroute, whether purchased through GCT or independently, I believe it is your responsibility to make alternate arrangements.

What is wrong with this strategy?

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

February 23, 2012

"...transfers can now be purchased from GCT for certain trips up to 30 days prior to departure at the outrageous price of $100 per person per transfer."

Wow. I wonder what the certain trips are. One hundred dollars pp seems outrageous, but there might be some long drives from the airport that would cost close to that for an independent traveler. Maybe Russia? I'm not sure. Some European cities might be high too, depending on time from the airport and traffic.

 I made my own flight arrangements for Ireland, arrived a day early and stayed on in Dublin and I think both transfers cost less than $100 (30 euros to the Dublin airport, Bus and taxi from Shannon to Galway, about 40 euros.)

If a couple took a taxi, they would pay what's on the meter, not per person, so fom hotel in Dublin to airport would be 15 euros pp, about $21 each.

 

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 259
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

February 23, 2012

Essence of the Elbe is one of the trips for which transfers can be purchased. I am booked for the trip which departs April 4 and made my own flight reservations. The trip begins in Hamburg and ends in Prague. Because I plan to stay an extra day in Prague, I am not eligible to purchase the transfers. $100 seems high to me but I haven't yet researched how I will get between the airports and hotels so I don't know what my transfer costs will be.

Author: rwhansen

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 53
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

February 23, 2012

Janice,

For Prague, go to the following web site to arrange your transfer: www.prague-airport-shuttle.com.  We have used them and found them to be very reliable.  For up to four passengers, there is a fixed price of $30 for a transfer to or from anywhere in Prague.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 23, 2012

RWH, you've misinterpreted my rantings, I fear. I have no concern about the 60 day limit...as long as it is clearly communicated and consistently applied. What I was whining about was the fact that different pages of the web site present conflicting information. That plus the fact that the air itinerary was first presented to me, thee withdrawn without explanation until I called and asked, and then reinstated without regard to the lead-time policy that had been quoted to me. As long as it's in time for me to get to the airport comfortably, I don't give a rat's patutie when the air itinerary is posted or finalized. All I ask is consistency in communication.

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 259
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

many

Traveler Since: 1999

February 23, 2012

To rwhansen, thank you for the Prague shuttle info.

You cannot Post or Reply, please sign in

Rules of Use:
Be Relevant

Please stick to the topic of travel when posting in our Forum. Stay on the relevant topic and do not disrupt a discussion in progress. If you have a specific customer service question or issue, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814.

Be Respectful

Use of any inappropriate language, personal attacks, and hate speech are not permitted. Respect others’ opinions and suggestions.

Be Mindful of Privacy Issues

Please do not post the personal information of other members (full names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc).

Help us help you

Please click on the ‘Report Abuse’ button if you see an inappropriate posting.