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Author: docwon

Joined: 5/3/2012
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, England, Italy, China, Tibet, Mexico, Vietnam, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Tanzania, Fiji, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Antarctica, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and all but 3 of the lower 48 states.

Traveler Since: 2006

May 03, 2012

Unless you book your own flight, you have no idea what air itinerary GCT/ OAT will have for your tour.  I suggest that GCT/OAT use a system similar to Virgin Vacations/Gate 1 which immediately show you the air itinerary and also offer alternate air itineraries - some at the air inclusive price and some showing the exact extra supplement.  They use many different airlines depending on the destination. This gives you the option of flying a preferred airline and/or a preferred schedule.  All done immediately on-line without having to call anyone. 

GCT/OAT please consider this improvement to the reservation system and the information available on the website.

 

Author: njoma2

Joined: 2/2/2011
Posts: 11
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2005

May 03, 2012

I totally agree with you docwon.  On a recent trip to Sicily, our air itinerary was posted online 2 days after I reserved.  I had an apptmt for the air department to call, but they called a week later.  GCT apologized for the error and tried to assure me that as an inner circle member we are so important to them, etc...  At that point, I was told that there were no other air options.  Basically, the improved air choices were "take it or leave it".  I know there are no non-stop flights from NYC to Palermo, but there was no reason to route us through Amsterdam.  Not to whine, but there were people on our tour that had non-stop flights from NYC to Rome.  This was our 10th trip, so we continue to feel that "inner circle status" means nothing.  Last September we traveled to Scandinavia with Gate 1 and we were able to choose our flights online during booking.  We have a Christmas Markets trip booked with Collette Vacations for December, and again, the flight options were available for us online.  I honestly feel that the GCT "improved" air needs much improvement. 

Author: docwon

Joined: 5/3/2012
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, England, Italy, China, Tibet, Mexico, Vietnam, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Tanzania, Fiji, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Antarctica, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, and all but 3 of the lower 48 states.

Traveler Since: 2006

May 05, 2012

I'm booking 2 trips this year with other tour agencies.  I agree that "Inner Circle" and "Edmund Hillary" status seems to get you nothing with GCT/OAT - neither better flights, better rooms, nor better deals.  You do get a pin.

Come on do better for frequent travelers.

Author: surath

Joined: 5/15/2012
Posts: 12
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

May 18, 2012

Hello Doc

My husband and I were very unhappy with the air situation - that all changed today, and we are now very, very pleased with the assistance we received from the GCT air department. Our original flight was from Miami to DeGaulle and on to Moscow. We were given less than one hour to clear French Passport Control and make the flight to Moscow - which we knew would be close to impossible. We also had discussed upgrading our seats.

We called GCT and were hooked up with a very nice young man, who went out of his way to help us. The end result is that he was able to change us from Air France to Delta since they are travel partners. So, we now fly Miami to JFK and direct to Moscow. The upgrade to business is available either one way, or round trip - we opted for just the overnight flight, hoping that this might allow us to sleep. We have a long lay-over at JFK, but the upgrade also gets us into the Delta Lounge, with all its comfort and amenities. Also, Delta upgraded us to first class Miami to JFK at no add on cost. The upgrade to business is not a huge anount on $$, and we are thrilled with what GCT was able to do for us. I also have to mention that he came up with other possibilities that could have made the trip more pleasant - this is the best one for us.

All we had to do was ask!!!!

Author: dwjohnston

Joined: 5/26/2012
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 4
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

May 26, 2012

It's wonderful that you've had a great experience getting your flights improved.  We also had excellent help when we first booked.  Our agent even offered us a choice of flights when we said we'd like to upgrade to economy plus.  We paid the extra fee and thought we had done something good.  Unfortunately, within 4 days of booking our trip, we tried to cancel our booking due to an injury to one of our traveling companions (not in the same cabin).  We were told that the extra cost to upgrade our seats was non-refundable, and that we would lose the $1,480 extra we paid.  No one mentioned that to us when the flight reservations were made.  Hope the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 540
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
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. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

May 26, 2012

Holy smoke! Why did it cost that much for economy plus? I paid $60 or $80 to upgrade from economy on Delta to Shannon and back from Dublin.

I agree, whatever the fee they should have told you it was non-refundable.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

May 26, 2012

Luisa, you must be living right.  My upgrade to premium economy on BA in July for my UK trip is $1,000 for the round trip.  I hope it's worth it.

Author: travelann

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 44
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

May 26, 2012

 I paid the same on DL as Luisa last year. I believe UA has apprx. the same fee......even less on domestic routes. I hope they give you an extra bottle of wine for that amount! And, a BIG,CONFY seat !  

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

May 27, 2012

Our concerns go to the actual itinerary, which includes direct vs. transfers, and if transfers are necessary, the layover time.  Now, Grand Circle/OAT will costomize your air itinerary for you to give you the routing you would want.  We generally have taken their air, with some small tweaks on occassion, but they have been very good at changing a flight from one with a connection to one which has a direct routing.  Their new policy will do much towards customizing the air itinerary for you.  We have, however, discovered that if you take their air, you  may not be able to upgrade with your frequent flyer miles, because of the purchase code. 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

May 27, 2012

There is also the fact that you can't always use your miles to upgrade on some international airlines.  If I want to, say, fly Qantas to Sydney I can't purchase a coach seat and then use my American miles to upgrade.  Or British Air to London, doing the same.  I can use the miles to purchase a Business class ticket, but it has to be the whole thing and round trip.  For years, I accumulated United miles and then used them to fly to Auckland.  But I sometimes had to fly coach.  And I can understand that.  Why should Air New Zealand let me have Business class seats for miles when they could sell them for cash?

I'm now trying to find out why I had to pay $1,000 to fly Premium Economy on British Air, when Delta is offering that service for so much less.

Author: travelann

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 44
GCT Trips Taken: 8
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

May 28, 2012

 I believe BA has separate economy class between business and regular economy. It is not the same as DL and UA comfort economy seats in the same economy class. BA has what they call World premier economy class. In other words, BA has two separate economy classes. This is probably what you have reserved. You can check on their web site just what you can expect.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 972
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

May 28, 2012

You're right.  The configuration front to back of the plane is:  a few First Class seats that can lie flat; World Traveler Plus (premium economy), about 6 rows 2-4-2; Club World (business Class), seats that can lie flat, about 10 rows 2-4-2; and the rest of the plane World Traveler (economy) 3-4-3.  That's all the main level.

Pricing for premium economy when you reserve ahead is 85% of the economy seat price.  If you wait until closer to departure, it can be 35% or as low as 10%.  That's British Air.

So it comes to a matter of how important is the increased comfort and do I want to take the chance of finding that all those seats are already taken when I get closer to the departure date?  People talk about being tall and not having enough leg room in standard economy seats.  But I'm only a little over 5 feet, and I don't find that I have enough leg room.  My late husband was only 5 feet six inches, and he never found enough leg room in economy; and that was before they crowded in all these extra seats. 

Author: njoma2

Joined: 2/2/2011
Posts: 11
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2005

May 28, 2012

Some of these premium economy prices seem really high.  We paid $80 each way for Delta Economy Comfort from Newark to Amsterdam in March.  I upgraded to Economy Comfort online about 45 days prior to departure.  We felt that the $80 was well worth the few extra comforts.  I wonder if it costs more to book premium economy through GCT/OAT vs booking direct with the airline? 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 540
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 2
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. Ireland

Traveler Since: 2006

May 29, 2012

Although BA costs quite a bit more than Delta, it sounds like a larger, and better plane. My JFK-SNN flight was on an old tub that I've read is the most uncomfortable for international flights. The economy plus seats were a few rows just after busines class. The seats are wider and have more leg room, which was my reason for booking and I'm glad that I did. The economy seats were awful. I think I would have paid even more to avoid them.

The flight back from Dublin to Atlanta was on a newer, better plane, but we still had overhead screens and ear phones for entertainment, which was a couple of movies. I couldn't hear anything because the conversation of a couple of women across the aisle drowned out the dialogue so if you have seat-back entertainment, that's a plus, if you care.

Free alcoholic drinks were available, but I think we got the same snacks and meals as economy.

I think you'll be more comfortable in BA's economy plus and I hope you'll let us know when you return if you found it worthwhile.

 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 242
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1995

April 21, 2013

This is long overdue.  I was going to wait until my next two trips (back-to-back) were over before I wrote this, but I think now is a good time. 

Elena in the Air Dept mostly works on back-to-back trips and has been just a wonderful person to work with for our air connections.  We started to take back-to-back trips in 2007 or 2008, and she has handled most of them.  She works with me to get what weI want in flight schedule, airlines and advice on the hotels  and makes hotel reservations in between the trip for us.

Amanda started to work with my flight schedules on the back-to-back trips just this past winter for our upcoming River Seine Paris to Normandy, and Hidden Gems of the Dalmatian Coast trips.

.  It was the first time I had talked with her and she also did an outstanding job.  She kept me informed, and most of all, answered my questions, even if they sounded stupid.  She booked our in-between hotel and as far as I know, we're supposed to get a room with a view!. 

 

These two counselors are the best.  It's a pleasure having them on our side for the best possible flights.  Thanks so much from my husband and I. 

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