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Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 62
Trips Taken: 18
Traveler Since: 2004

August 27, 2013

We suggest that GCT/OAT send out an email to travellers that have booked a trip, when the detailed itinerary has changed, like some airlines do for flight changes.

On our last trips GCT has made itinerary changes after we had booked, that we only detected by comparing the latest web itinerary with the itinerary when we had booked.

On our Amalfi pre-trip to Sicily in Apr/May 2013, GCT replaced the Pompeii/Naples Museum (a must-see for us) optional with Capri.

Now, on our Sept/Oct 2013 Rhine/Mosel boat trip, GCT's changed its online itinerary from when we booked in Feb 2013:

- Day 5 Liberation Museum optional is not available, if we do not dock at Nijmegen, but Nijmegen city tour is available with extra time there.

- Day 6 Augustusburg optional is not availble Mon & is replaced with Bridge of Remagen Museum, but with no description or price available online or from GCT's call center.

- Day 9 "EU" discussion is back after being replaced with "Switzerland Today", which now replaces "Switzerland & Its Traditions" on Day 15 PM, just before the Lucerne post-trip.

- Day 10 Traben-Trarback Mosel port replaced by Zell with no explanation online, but call center said is due to dock damage.

- Day 13 Alsatian optional now PM, moved from Day 14 AM, replaces Baden-Baden, which is moved to Day 14 AM.

We understand that GCT can change the itinerary after we have booked due to river/port conditions, etc., but would appreciate as much advance notice as possible, including detailed descriptions of new activities, optional prices, etc., so that we can decide how to spend our free time, reschedule our other planned activities like visits with friends or to other sites, whether to take a new optional, or worst case reschedule or cancel the trip and/or extension.

So please respond or make other suggestions, if you think that GCT/OAT should email itinerary changes to its already booked customers. We do not want to be surprised by changes in the final itinerary 2 weeks before departure or worst case in the PD/TL's briefing.

We appeciate GCT/OAT updating its online itineraries, but please give us an email heads-up, so that we don't have to keep cross checking for changes to our booked trips.

 

 

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 27, 2013

Agree.

Author: dgevry

Joined: 9/4/2010
Posts: 53
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

August 27, 2013

We are also taking the "Romance of the Rhine and Mosel" in September, leaving on the 9th for the Lucerne Pre-trip.  Yesterday we received a letter in the mail from GCT stating that the boat was unable to dock in Nijmegen due to damage to the docking pontoons and that we would be bused to Nijmegen. This is understandable and certainly no fault of GCT. I also realize that due to travel time on the bus, there is no time for the Liberation Museum.  I'm a little bit disappointed, but was unsure if we would take that optional or not. I was pleased that GCT notified us. I think an e-mail would be quicker and less costly. Thanks Tomcat for letting me know why the ship was docking in Zell instead of Trabach-Trabach - I noticed that change, but it didn't really matter to me since I plan to take the Luxemburg  optional. Again, GCT has no control over damage to the dock.   However, I understand that this change would be important for those who had other plans, and that they would like to be notified ASAP. As far as the Augustusburg Palace optional, it is stated on the website that the palace is closed on Monday and is replaced by the Remegen Museum, although the price for this substitute is not listed.  As far as changes in the discussions, perhaps the speakers were unable to come as the originally scheduled times.  As travelers we have to expect some changes in the itinerary, and not let it spoil our trip. All tour companies state that they have the right to change it, because no one can predict what will happen a year or more in advance. However, we all like to plan, so GCT just send us an e-mail when changes occur. It will make us all happier.

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 62
Trips Taken: 18
Traveler Since: 2004

August 27, 2013

Thanks for the comments, dgevry, & have a great trip. We do the reverse itinerary leaving 9/25 finishing in Lucerne.

We are glad that GCT mailed you about not being able to dock in Nijmegen, but hope that we can convince them to switch to emails re itinerary changes & normal mail for those who do not have email. Maybe Emmerich or Tiel will have some good discoveries.

We were surpised that GCT's call center had no description about a week ago of the Bridge of Remagen Museum replacement optional on Mondays or its price. Maybe we will get some info here. Some reviewers went there as a add on by their PD, not as a formal optional.

The EU discussion disappeared in early Aug & was replaced by a Switzerland Today discussion on Day 9 & another on Day 16, but now we are back to our booked Feb 2013 itinerary with both EU & Switzerland discussions. Probably a mistake, that they corrected. 

Author: captainlarry

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

August 27, 2013

- Day 6 Augustusburg optional is not availble Mon & is replaced with Bridge of Remagen Museum, but with no description or price available online or from GCT's call center

Not really much "on point" but an observatiuon: The Augustusburg Palace was mildly amusing but hardly worth the cost. As an amateur military historian I would very much have preferred the Bridge at Remagen Museum.

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 246
Trips Taken: 0

August 28, 2013

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for your comments. 

In general, if there are trip changes within 19 days of departure, we will call you.  If a change is made prior to 19 days to departure, we would normally send a letter.  Due to traveler feedback, we have begun tests where we sending emails around these types of changes instead of letters.  At this point, we are trying to discern if the emails are being received & read; if people feel confident about being contacted through this channel; etc.. 

This thread has been forwarded to this particular Project Team so they know that email is one of your preferred channels for contact. 

As always, thank you for your feedback.

Kind Regards,
Michelle
GCCL/GCT Forum Moderato
 

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 62
Trips Taken: 18
Traveler Since: 2004

August 28, 2013

Thanks Michelle for your quick response. We really appreciate your feedback, and forwarding this forum's suggestions to the appopriate GCT parties.

However, we did not receive any letters from GCT when the itinerary changes we listed in our original post above were made to our 4/2013 Amalfi pre-trip to Sicily, or to our 9/2013 Rhine Mosel trip; so letters are not being sent to us. We only found out about the changes by comparing (line by line) the hardcopy of the itinerary when we booked with the revised GCT online itinerary.

We would appreciate email notifications of itinerary changes with a short description of the change & day, so that we can easily read more in the revised online itinerary & adjust our plans.

We know that you cannot know if people will read your itinerary change emails, but at least you know if the email went through or was rejected as an invalid address, etc. Then you can send those without a valid email a normal letter of the itinerary change or even call them, if it is a major itinerary change.

Author: travelgirl1

Joined: 4/15/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 6
Countries Visited:

After visiting a few places (on 5 out of 7 continents) I thought myself a "world traveller and globe trotter" - but looking at the big picture, I have so many, many more adventures to look forward to. Adventures taken with OAT: Affordable Costa Rica, Ultimate Galapagos & Ecuador, Discover Thailand, Route of the Maya. Next OAT adventure is Morocco in Dec 2012. Have done two fantastic nature adventures with Natural Habitat - The Polar Bear Expedition and The Seal Watch. Have travelled extensively through Western Europe and the Caribbean islands.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 28, 2013

I am booked for OAT's Inside Vietnam leaving in December.  In June I received a revised itinerary by snail mail.  Nothing was dropped - just 3 days and activities rearranged.  I greatly appreciated the heads up.  Fortunately, there haven't been any major changes to my past 5 OAT trips - maybe a "school visit" was switched with a "1/2 day on your own." 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 246
Trips Taken: 0

August 28, 2013

Hello Tomnat -

We are concerned to hear that you may not be receiving notifications from us about your upcoming trips. Somebody will be contacting you offline to verify that we have the correct contact details on file for you as well as go over your upcoming trips.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

Author: singsling

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

August 29, 2013

In the past trips, we only received changes to airline itineraries.  That was quite a few years ago, and by letter.  In the last several years, if there were trip itinerary changes, we did not receive any notification.  I don't think there were changes. 

But, just from January to now, there were two air itinerary changes made by the AIRLINES.  I didn't know how long the changes had been in effect, but I did not get an email from GCT Air Back to Back POC's for these changes.  I found them myself while on the airline's "existing reservation" site. 

When I found the time changes, I immediately emailed my POC at GCT Air Dept and they said they just got the email from the airline.  Whether they would have emailed me, I don't know.

 

They immediately had to scramble to find us  business class seats.  There were none leaving from the East Coast from airports we would travel from.  All were already booked from several different airports.  Since we are in Phoenix, the ONLY flights available to Paris (excluding LAX) were from San Francisco.  A little back-tracking to go forward, but it will be a better flight. 

 

Not sure if I had not found those flight changes if I would have been contacted.  Elena and Amanda are very good about that but when they have so many travelers to serve, it could have been awhile before they notified me.  . 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 888
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

August 29, 2013

Captain Larry posted several months ago about changes in his flight itineraries he discovered for himself while checking the airlines' websites.  So I started doing that just to be sure.  They continued to stay the same, but it was reassuring to see that for myself.  I did it about once a week.

BTW, when I checked in at CDG on my return last month I couldn't use the automated kiosk.  I had to go to a person at the desk.  The machine didn't recognize my reservation number.

Author: singsling

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

August 30, 2013

Pauline, I was so much looking forward to seeing your review since we are  headed soon on the same cruise.  Do you think your GOES card didn't work because France didn't have the set-up as we, Canada, Australia, etc has?  Just asking.

 

This is for Capt Larry and others on itinerary change notifications.  And it also reflects back on the GCT survey on Internet technology.

I would hate to just rely on Internet/email notifications on such important informtion.  My computer has been on the fritz since the last of J une and after 2 in person (kept my computer 1 week), and 4 telephone and online help, I still can't get my wireless to stay--I now think it is in the computer hardware because the wireless router is working well.  So, if GCT ONLY contacted us by web or email, I'd be out of luck.  I never know if it will work from one hour to the next; sometimes just shutting down will bring the web back up, but not all the time. 

So, please GCT, make changes by phone and/or snail mail if there is enough time; otherwise, please do by phone.  We are down to 3 weeks before departure, so I hope I don't get a phone call (on any changes!). 

 

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 888
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

August 30, 2013

Singsling.  Grammyflo's review just came back up, but mine is still missing.  Michelle says it will be back in a few days. 

What didn't work in the kiosk at CDG was my return ticket.  Because I was the only person in the van to the airport from the Novotel in Roissy, the driver parked and helped me inside.  Then he found me a seat and took my passport and suitcase to be checked in.  Theoretically, the passport should scan at the kiosk and then my ticket would appear.  Didn't happen.  So he came back and got me and we went to the kiosk and it still didn't work.  An AF person tried to help and keyed in the reservation number, and it was still zilch!  So I was directed to the counter and checked in very easily.

When we landed and I went to the Global Entry kiosk, I told the person standing there about my fingerprints not taking.  And he had me wipe my forehead to get oil on my fingers from my skin a couple of times, but that didn't work either.  So I answered a few questions on the screen and got my print-out with the X.  He put me in the front of a line, and from there to baggage claim.  Which took forever.  By the time I got outside, my limo driver was ready to come in after me, he was so concerned.

BTW, they let people park right outside the terminal for 10 minutes at CDG.  And nobody, absolutely nobody, had to take off their shoes.

Author: fleetfoot

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

August 30, 2013

We leave for Israel in eleven days and was notified today by phone and by email of an itinerary change due to Yom Kippur.  We were notified by mail and email of an itinerary change to our Ancient Kingdoms trip we took in January, 2013

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 62
Trips Taken: 18
Traveler Since: 2004

September 02, 2013

Per Michelle's request, we did get a phone call from GCT 8/30  re "not receiving Detailed Itinerary Changes" (not Air Itineraries). The GCT person like Michelle seemed surprised that we were not receiving US mail notifications of  Itinerary Changes for our booked trips, and said that she would check into it. It sounds like from the comments here some of you have received mail notifications & some like us not.

So please keep posting on whether you are receiving notifications by mail, email or phone or not!!

Hopefully, it will encourage GCT/OAT to fix their Itinerary Change Notification process, so that we all get notified promptly by email or US mail or phone, and can adjust our trip plans, if necessary.

Thanks to fellow posters & Michelle.

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