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Overseas Adventure Travel / Don't use them

1 United States Review updated:

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.

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  • Na
      22nd of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes
    Overseas Adventure Travel - Irresponsible slip up
    Overseas Adventure Travel
    United States

    Overseas Adventure Travel disappointed us. We had paid for our Morocco holiday, and had paid OAT to arrange for our air travel from Sacramento CA so that if there is any delay in flight, a representative would still meet us in Casablanca upon arrival. Our flight from USA got delayed; in Paris we had to take the next flight to Casablanca as we missed our original connection. I had phoned OAT before we left USA that we would miss the connection in Paris due to delayed departure and have to take the next connecting flight from Paris. Could not contact OAT from Paris because of long hold time on the telephone (40 mts.). Lo and behold, there were none at the Casablanca airport upon our arrival late in the evening. Had to buy a phone card to call OAT in USA and had to endure a wait time of 38 minutes. After a lot of shouting, they agreed to transport me by a taxi to Rabat (100 miles away) at their expense.

    Most complaints on tour operators stem from missed connections, and OAT, in spite of their boasting about repeat customers, failed us. Further, I had asked that their office call me to explain why there was this slip up. They have not cared to call us yet. This is what they care about customers. Do not trust them.

  • St
      21st of Oct, 2011
    0 Votes

    I'll second that. If you have a problem with an airline their answer is to take it up with the airline even though they take the money and make the flight arrangements themselves.
    How about their advertising a major tourist attraction for the day that it is closed. Yet, they continue to promote it as the most important place in that city.
    Or... make connecting flights 1 hour apart even though we need to use a wheel chair and move from one terminal to another.
    I have to admit they have the best travel guides in the world but their customer service is awful and it starts with 30 minute plus wait times.

  • Qu
      27th of Nov, 2011
    0 Votes

    I just looked through my photo album for my trip to Morocco with OAT 15 years ago. It was an incredible, life-altering trip. Life-altering because there isn't a week that goes by when I'm busy in my modern kitchen that I don't think about the Berber mother out on the desert that showed me her kitchen: a few pots and plastic dishes secured to a big bush, a pit in the ground for the cooking fire, and a dried mud oven for baking the daily bread. I also think of the young girls that daily walk miles, leading their donkeys to the nearest water hole so they can fill their jugs. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say it was an amazing, unforgettable trip.

    I, too, had to deal with a missed connection in NYC and arrived a day late for the Moroccan trip. But that is insignificant, certainly not worth complaining about, when reminiscing about the incredible trip and fantastic guide (Aziz). OAT trips are fantastic.

  • Ja
      13th of Jan, 2016
    0 Votes

    I think the internet is a wonderful communications tool for daily living, BUT, to have 4 year old complaint about something hanging around year after year shouldn't happen. Wife and I have done five trips with OAT (and have two more scheduled for this year), and considering the complexity of travel these days, we've had nothing but good experiences. Even when our original 3 hour layover/plane change in Atlanta on way to Johannesburg SA became 10 minuets due to delay in departing Seattle.. we ran to the next plane and made it, but our bags didn't. Delta's next flight was 24 hours later, which by then we were in a small lodge near Kruger NP (a flight and 2 hour ride from J-burg). OAT had someone get our bags, and air expressed them to the Lodge by the second night. Since that trip, our second, we have OAT book our travel into the trip's take-off point (like Paris or Amsterdam) a week ahead of main trip, and we do our own 'Pre-trip". We've found their booking people extremely helpful, and their trip leaders beyond great, delivering fantastic value.

  • Ja
      10th of Oct, 2018
    0 Votes

    Overseas Adventure Travel/Grand Circle Travel used to be a good company, but they got too large. After taking 12 tours with them, they treated us terribly. We booked a river cruise, including airfare, and documented every detail. Soon we discovered they had changed our cabin without notifying us and that one of the flights had disappeared, while the total price remained the same. In contacting the Travel Relations Manager, we were asked basically to take care of it ourselves! Upon pressing her, she agreed to handle it, but she evidently did no follow up. In finding the problem hadn’t been solved, I left messages for her, but she never called back.

    Therefore, we contacted the home office management and received a call back in which the flights were rectified, with the promise they’d call back to verify. They never called back, and the records remained wrong. After another email to a different home office address, outlining a complete log of everything that had transpired, we received no response. We cancelled the trip and have decided to never use them again.

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