What are the differences between OAT’s air programs, and what customization options are available to me?
It is OAT’s goal to provide you with the air option that best suits your needs. For this reason, we offer different air programs. When you book your trip with air through OAT, we automatically send you a preliminary flight itinerary as soon as flights are available. You may also view this itinerary in your My Account. Depending on when you are departing and what flight options you may have already selected with our air department, it may still be possible to personalize and/or upgrade your flights. Here is a summary of the options available to you:
|Land Only||Standard Air||Personalized Air|
|Overview||Your trip price does not include U.S. domestic air, international air, or airport transfers; you’ll make your own arrangements.||Your trip price includes U.S. domestic/international air on the airline and routing of OAT’s choice.||Your trip price includes U.S. domestic/international air on any airline and routing of your choice. Options within this program include:
|Benefit||The only option that allows use of miles, points, etc. for your international airfare.||The best value and the most flexibility if you need to change or cancel your trip.||The widest choice and the ability to personalize your trip based on your individual travel preferences.|
|Fee/costs||No fee||No fee||No fee. However, depending on the flights you select, there may be additional costs as determined by the airline(s).|
|Can I make changes later?||Subject to the airline. You must work directly with the airline.||Yes, within OAT’s policy; see our Terms & Conditions or speak with a Adventure Specialist for details.||Maybe. Certain options will allow limited changes for additional fees. New flights or new requests are also subject to airline availability. Published Air options cannot be changed and are nonrefundable.|
|Other points to know||Airport transfers are not included, but may be purchased separately from us.||Your preliminary air itinerary may change more than once prior to your departure.||Payment of the airfare cost for Published Air is due in full once the request is confirmed. Requests must be received within 71 days prior to departure. An exception: Breakaways can be requested up to 46 days prior.|
For more details on each of our air programs, please visit our Terms & Conditions or call 1-800-221-0814 to speak with our dedicated team of Air Travel Consultants.
My name is misspelled on my invoice/air itinerary. Will this affect my airline tickets?
Yes—you need to request a change more than 46 days prior to your departure date. It’s very important that you double check the spelling of your name when making your reservation, providing us your name as it appears on your passport (minus your middle name), and checking the spelling shortly after you receive your invoice and air itinerary. If there are misspellings that aren’t corrected, your airline tickets won’t be usable. To avoid having to reissue tickets or buying completely new tickets, be proactive. And remember: You will not be able to request changes within 45 days of departure.
Please note: You will be responsible for any applicable charges imposed by our vendors. Name changes are considered traveler substitutions, which are subject to cancellation charges.
Can I request seats in advance?
Yes, but note that the airline will not always give you a seat assignment in advance. OAT will forward to the airline your request for preferred seating, and you can check for confirmation of your seat requests on the Air Itinerary page within your personalized My Account (look for Special Flight Requests at the bottom of the page). It is important to note that you DO have a confirmed reservation, even if you don’t see a seat assignment on your air itinerary.
- If the airline is able to pre-assign seats, your seat will be indicated on your final air itinerary
- If the airline does not pre-assign seats, we recommend that you check in early at the airport and request your preferred seat.
- On select OAT adventures, you may be able to request a seat via My Account. Look for a “Modify” button in the upper right corner of the Air Itinerary page—clicking it will give you the opportunity to request a seat assignment. This feature is available at the discretion of the airline—if the airline allows requests for your flight, you’ll be able to select your seat assignment from a chart. If the airline does not allow requests for that particular flight, an error message will appear.
Please note: Bulkhead seating and emergency exit seating cannot be pre-assigned, as airlines need to qualify passengers for those seats at check-in. If you prefer these seats, we strongly recommend that you check in early.
What should I do if my flight is delayed or cancelled?
Work with your airline to rebook your flight, then call us right away. OAT is available 24 hours a day to assist you with your travel needs, including those caused by flight delays or cancellations. After you rebook your flight with your airline, call us with your updated flight information.
- Monday-Friday 9am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-7pm (EST): Call our Customer Service department at 1-800-221-0814 (toll free)
- All other times: Call our Flight Watch staff at 1-800-866-2034 (toll-free) or 1-617-346-6090 (collect calls accepted)
Please note: OAT is not responsible for flights delayed or cancelled, portions of trips missed due to such issues, or additional expenses incurred prior to joining your trip.
What should I keep in mind if OAT makes my air arrangements?
We will create your preliminary air itinerary approximately 72 hours after you make your reservation, and send it to you via both mail and email. You can also view your itinerary within My Account. Please note that this itinerary is subject to change. You’ll need to contact us immediately if your first and last names do not appear exactly as they do on your passport.
Based on our routing guidelines, we’ll offer you non-stop flights whenever possible, as well as acceptable connection times of no less than two hours and no greater than four hours. If you are dissatisfied with your preliminary air itinerary for any reason, please contact us at 1-800-221-0814 to speak to an Air Service Counselor. We’ll give you additional options around your routing and airlines, and work with you to create an itinerary that suits your needs.
In general, we strive to offer you the best value possible, and we negotiate special airline contracts—which may contain certain restrictions that affect availability, choice of seats, flights, routes, and/or specific arrival times. While we charge no administration fee to customize your air itinerary, you may be subject to increases in airline costs.
You will receive a final documents package that includes your final air itinerary approximately 15 days prior to your departure date.
Can I make my own arrangements for air travel?
Absolutely—with our Personalize Your Trip options, you can make your own flight arrangements. If you choose to do so, please note that you are responsible for all flight arrangements before and after your trip’s itinerary.
If your itinerary is altered unexpectedly, it’s important to note that you will be responsible for flight changes and costs—and you do not automatically have the benefits or travel protection otherwise offered by OAT. You can, however, enjoy third-party airfare travel protection when you purchase our land-only Travel Protection Plan coverage and extend it to cover your airfare.
If you arrange your own airfare, you are also responsible for all airport transfers to and from the first and last stop on your itinerary. You can arrange those independently or purchase optional transfers through OAT. The cost of transfers will vary based on your trip, but starts at $25 per person each way—note that you must make your transfer request at least 45 days prior to your departure. Click here to learn more about this option.
Can I upgrade to Business Class, Premium Economy, or Economy Plus?
Yes, on participating airlines. Business Class upgrades are available on most OAT trips, at a significant discount from airlines’ retail fares. Premium Economy and Economy Plus are offered by select airlines on a more limited basis, but we’ll submit your request when available.
- If you haven’t yet made your reservation, you may purchase a seating upgrade when you reserve.
- If you have already reserved your trip, you can request an upgrade by calling Traveler Support toll-free at 1-800-221-0814.
Please note: Seating upgrades are subject to availability.
Can OAT arrange my airfare to accommodate independent travel either before or after my scheduled trip?
Yes. We encourage travelers to make their most of their international airfare and maximize their discoveries. Subject to flight availability, you’ll have the option to arrange “break away” airfare at the beginning or end of your adventure—giving you the chance to travel on your own to wherever you choose.
It is important to note that you are responsible for confirming your flights, arranging your airport transports, and arriving at the proper airports for your flights. Additional air charges may also apply. You must request to “break away” no later than 46 days prior to departure—confirmation information will become available about 45 days before your departure date.
Please note: OAT can only arrange airfare for a “break away” and will not assist in making any other travel arrangements during that time. For more details, please visit our Terms & Conditions. “Break away” opportunities are not available on Grand Circle Foundation’s Cuba People-to-People program.
Do you have any tips to help ensure a smooth check-in?
Plan for the unexpected—just in case. We want and hope for you to enjoy smooth travel throughout your journey, but it’s always best to be prepared for surprises.
- Arrive early: Giving yourself plenty of time for traffic, check-in, security, and other unanticipated delays will help keep you feeling less stressed. Also note that many airports now have websites that provide real-time information on airport security delays.
- Check your check-in times: Whether you contact your airline by telephone or visit its website, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have the latest information.
- Know your “Operating Carrier”: You may be traveling on an airline other than the one listed on your ticket. If your itinerary identifies an Operating Carrier, be sure to check in with that airline for your flight.
Can I view my air routing online?
Visit your My Account. If an air itinerary has been created for you, you can view the current routing on your personalized My Account. Keep in mind that air itineraries are subject to change until your tickets are issued:
- If your air itinerary changes within 120 days of departure, we will contact you by mail.
- If your air itinerary changes within 45 days of departure, we will contact you by phone.
I want to take two trips in a row without flying home. Will you arrange my air travel between the two trips?
Yes. If you purchase OAT’s airfare for both trips, we will arrange your air travel between the two trips. You will be responsible for any additional costs, if applicable, for the flights connecting your trips. In addition, you will be responsible for transfers, accommodations, and any other expenses incurred during the period between your two trips.
Please note: This service is not available with the following trips: Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under, Pure New Zealand, Ultimate Australia, Australia & New Zealand, and Cuba: A Bridge Between Cultures.
Will I be on the same flights as my traveling companion?
We will absolutely do our best to make that happen. If you begin and end your trip on the same date—and at the same airport—as a companion, even one who is under a separate reservation, let us know if you’d like to travel together. We will make every effort to make those arrangements for you within 120 days of your departure date. Your request will be reflected in your final package.
Please note: Please do not call for confirmation outside of 120 days from your departure date. If you and your companion are starting or ending your trip at different airports, we cannot book you together on international flights—to provide each of you the best value and accessibility, we must arrange your air itineraries separately.
How can I be sure that I have enough connection time between flights?
We arrange your flights so that you have a minimum of two hours and a maximum of four hours between connecting domestic and international flights, however, your connecting time varies based on flight schedules. If you prefer more or less time than what we’ve provided you, please contact us at 1-800-221-0814 to speak to an Air Service Counselor.
Can I earn Frequent Flyer miles on my OAT flights?
Mileage accrual for Frequent Flyer programs is at the discretion of the airlines. We've contracted special rates to provide you with the best value, and in many cases this may prohibit mileage accrual.
Will an OAT representative meet me at the airport when I arrive?
- U.S. Departure: If you are among a group of ten or more OAT travelers who depart the U.S from your international gateway city, an OAT Airport Representative will assist you at the U.S. airport with the check-in of your flight.
If you are arriving at your international gateway city via a connecting domestic flight, the OAT Representative will be stationed at the check-in counter for your departing international flight, not at the domestic arrival gate.
- International Arrival: An OAT Representative will meet you at the airport after you exit customs and escort you to a private motor coach for your transfer to the boat pier or hotel.
- U.S. Arrival: At the end of your trip, you'll be transferred to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. If you are among a group of ten or more OAT travelers who return to the same U.S. gateway city, an OAT Airport Representative will meet you as you exit customs and help you find taxis, buses, hotel accommodations, or connecting flights.
I’m traveling as part of a group. Will the whole group be on the same flights?
If your group consists of ten or more passengers traveling from the same city on the same day, we will do our best to accommodate you all on the same flights—but we can’t guarantee it. Please note: Your preliminary air itinerary and seat assignments are subject to change. Your Group Leader will be made aware of your group’s flight itinerary.
How many pieces of luggage can I bring?
Luggage restrictions vary from trip to trip, so we suggest checking your Travel Handbook for specifics. However, standard luggage specifications include: One piece of checked luggage, weighing up to 50 pounds and not exceeding 62 inches in total of height + width + depth. And one smaller carry-on bag of up to 15 pounds, not exceeding 45 inches in total of height + width + depth.
Will I receive a complimentary meal on my flight? If so, will the airline accommodate special dietary requests?
Most flights within the U.S. and to destinations in North America or Central America no longer provide complimentary meals. However, meals may be available for purchase on board. Complimentary meals continue to be provided on most international flights. Please inform us when you make your reservation with any special meal requirements (salt-free, low-calorie, kosher, etc.).
Can I bring an oxygen canister with me on my flights?
Please contact your airline regarding oxygen canister restrictions. Most airlines require advance documentation from your doctor and will not allow passengers to carry their own oxygen on board.
Do I need to reconfirm my flights before I depart?
We recommend that you call your scheduled airline or visit their website within 24 hours of departure to reconfirm that your flight times have not changed.
How can I get in touch with my airline?
Aer Lingus 800-223-6537
Air Canada 800-247-2262
Air China 800-882-8122
Air France 800-237-2747
Air India 800-223-7776
Air New Zealand 800-262-1234
Alaska Airlines 800-426-0333
American Airlines 800-433-7300
Austrian Airlines 800-843-0002
British Airways 800-247-9297
Cathay Pacific Airways 800-233-2742
China Airlines 800-227-5118
Copa Airlines 800-359-2672
Delta Airlines 800-221-1212
Iberia Airlines 800-772-4642
Japan Airlines 800-525-3663
Jet Airways 877-835-9538
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 800-225-2525
Korean Airlines 800-438-5000
LAN 866-435 9526
Lufthansa German Airlines 800-645-3880
Qantas Airways 800-227-4500
South African Airways 800-722-9675
Swiss Air 877-359-7947
Taca International Airlines 800-400-TACA
TAP-Air Portugal 800-221-7370
Thai Airways 800-426-5204
Turkish Airlines 800-874-8875
United Airlines 800-241-6522
US Airway 800-428-4322
Virgin Atlantic 800-862-8621