Overseas Adventure Travel / Don't use them
This past month (November 2010), my mother treated my husband and I to a 3-week African safari. She booked the $25, 000 trip through Overseas Adventure Travel, a subsidiary of Grand Circle Travel LLC. The trip included international airfare for each of us, however, since she lives in a different U.S. state than we, OAT booked her onto a different flight than us. Since our trips were all booked and paid for at the same time as travelers on the same trip, I thought it was extremely cheap for OAT to put my 78-year-old mother on an international flight all alone. They obviously did it because the cost was less. Then to make matters worse, the layover in London for my mother's flight from the United States was only 1 hour. Nowadays with the additional security checkpoints, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to make a connecting flight for international travel in 1 hour. So, as you would imagine, my mother did not make the connecting flight to Nairobi. The next flight out of London was 7 hours later, so my mother sat in the Heathrow Airport by herself for 7 hours, and by the time she arrived in Nairobi the next morning to begin our safari tour (which was leaving Nairobi at 9am), she was exhausted. Would you want your 78-year-old mother to begin an expensive excursion halfway across the world in a physical state like this? My husband and I were really upset about it. Upon her return to the United States, my mother called OAT to complain about their huge error in booking her outbound flights. To truly show their indifference to the magnitude of the situation and their obvious lack of professional customer service, Overseas Adventure Travel responded to my mother by telling her that there was nothing they could do for her since that was the only airline flight available at that time. You and I know that is totally bullshi_. If it were true, ALL of the U.S. travelers on our trip would have been on the same flight that she was on - but we weren't. I'm appalled at OAT for taking this stand, especially since the majority of their tour clients are over the age of 60. Do yourself a huge favor when booking your travel plans to foreign and exotic locations: do not use Overseas Adventure Travel / Grand Circle. You'd be better off spending your hard-earned money with a tour company who is much more attentive to your travelling comfort and safety needs.