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Misrepresentation of trip to South America
Posted by Secret on 08/19/2006
GLENDSIDE, PENNSYLVANIA -- I'm a travel agent who always take the tour prior to taking a group on a tour, namely, The 9 Day Classic South America (Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro) with Gate 1 Travel. I checked Gate 1 Travel references, and Gate 1 Travel is a member of USTOA, as if Gate 1 Travel should be more reputable than other tour operators who aren't members of USTOA.
I'm a very conscientious travel agent because I was a consumer of travel before I was a travel agent, and I have had some bad past experiences with tour operators. Also, I think the U.S. Government should regulate tour operators like the airlines, ete.
I have some questions and suggestions that you should ask your travel agent(s) before they book your travel. You can contact me at jbraxtontravel@yahoo.com; www.jbraxtontravel.joystar.com.
I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to resolve the problem with Gate 1 Travel because one member of the group travelled with me on the 9 Day Classic South America trip. We met up with 9 other American tourists that were also booked on Gate 1 Travel's 9 Day Classic South America tour.
When I returned from the 9 Day Classic South America tour, I wouldn't recommend any of Gate 1 Travel's trips.
As you read my formal complaint to Gate 1 Travel, you will find the nightmare that we endured on the 9 Day Classic South America trip that Gate 1 was unwilling to acknowledged and/or compensate. The following is my formal complaint to Gate 1 Travel:
"I’m still traumatized by what happened to me directly and indirectly while I was on the 9 Day Classic South America tour booked by Gate 1. Also, I’m traumatized by what happened directly and indirectly to the other travelers in the group that were booked also by Gate 1.
I’ve prioritized the incidents that were most traumatic to me and the other Gate 1’s travelers.
(1) Edward Salinas didn’t give Varig Brazil Airlines at the time of booking Jeanette Braxton Secret and Erna Ponder-Highsmith’s United Airlines Mileage Plus. Edward Salinas assured me that he would give Varig Brazil Airlines our United Airlines Mileage Plus at the time of booking. He didn’t provide the service that he promised.
(2) Edward Salinas and I discussed on several occasion the itinerary to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also, Edward Salinas emailed me a tentative itinerary to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his tentative itinerary didn’t show a stop-over in Sao Pablo, Brazil. Also, he never once stated that Varig Brazil Airlines flies to Sao Pablo, Brazil before going to Buenos Aires, Argentina requiring passengers to de-plane in Sao Pablo, Brazil to catch a connecting flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
(3) Mary’s, tour guide, daughter who was waiting for us at the Buenos Aires, Argentina airport didn’t make herself accessible with a sign indicating that she was there to pick us at the airport. Mary’s daughter had a little sign in front of her chest that we couldn’t see. Erna Ponder-Highsmith and myself were wondering around in the Buenos Aires Ariport with our luggage trying to find the person that should have had a large sign with our names on it in the very front row so that we could see it. If it wasn’t for one of the other Gate 1’s travelers who came looking for us, we would have never been picked up at the Buenos Aires Airport.
(4) One of the desk clerks, Ivan, at the Hotel Park Chateau Kempinski, Buenos Aires, Argentina was very rued and had an attitude when he was asked by one of Gate 1 guest about converting money that Mary had to intervened.
(5) There was a lack of continuity between the tour guides in each country. Other tour operators, i.e. America Automobile Association, Tauck Agency, etc. has one tour guide that stays with the group from the beginning to the end of the tour even if the tour is in two or more countries. This is the first tour that I have been on that the travelers were always waiting for the tour guides and/or the transportation was late. There was a lack of service and accountability.
(6) Day 5, Tuesday – Iguassu Falls on the border of Argentina. There was a lot of confusion. The bus was late to the Iguassu Falls. We started out with Ilana May, but she left us with Jorge. Jorge was a nightmare. Ilana May and/or Jorge didn’t tell us that we would need our raincoat and/or umbrella for the tour through Iguassu Falls. After Ilana May left us at the Iguassu Falls with Jorge and when we got inside the Iguassu Falls, Jorge tells us that we can purchase a raincoat because we would get wet. We asked Jorge why didn’t he tell us before we were inside the Iguassu Falls because we all had raincoats and umbrellas in our suitcase on the bus. Notwithstanding, none of us purchased raincoats, and we all got wet at the Iguassu Falls. I and some of Gate 1 guests came down with a severe cold as a result of getting wet at the Iguassu Falls. It is the small things that count when providing first class service. Jorge had to be asked to get us maps of the Iguassu Falls from the information booth, Jorge was on his cell phone most of the time while he was suppose to be escorting us; Jorge chained smoke even none of smoke; Jorge instructed us to sit in the sun to wait for Ilana May when he left us at the Iguassu Falls. We didn’t get third class service from Jorge. Jorge wasn’t professional at all.
(7) Rio Othon Palace, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is in the heart of Copacabana Beach.
Gate 1 didn’t fore-warn us that Copacabana Beach has a lot of crime. Conversely, Ipenema Beach doesn’t have as much crime. Also, most of the Americans stay on Ipenema Beach.
a. One of Gate 1’s guest and his daughter was almost mugged outside the front entrance of Rio Othon Palace by some Brazilian’s young men.
b. One of Gate 1’s guest was accosted by a prostitute outside the front entrance of Rio Othon Palace Hotel.
c. Twelve of Gate 1’s guests decided to walk to the flea market across the street from the Rio Othon Palace Hotel approximately after 10:30 pm after removing and leaving all our jewelry and accessories in the hotel safe. While we were waiting for the street light at the cross walk, about 50 Brazilian children between the ages of two and 12 circled us begging for money. Since I had already been mistaken as a Brazilian several times while I was in Rio, I started screaming at the Brazilian children in a couple of words that I knew in Portuguese because these Brazilian children were targeting Gate 1’s white Americans trying to get into their pockets to grab there money and wallets. Also, I noticed 100 feet away that the parents had encouraged their kids to go after the American tourists, and there was approximately another 50 kids standing around with their parents at the fence watching. The children took off, but we’ll were very traumatized by what had just happen. Your blond hair and blue eyed guests stated that they would never return to Brazil, and I don’t blame them if I was blond and blue eyed too.
Gate 1 has an office in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and you know that it isn’t safe on Copacabana Beach. Why didn’t Gate 1 book us in a hotel on Ipenema Beach which is much safer? Why didn’t Gate 1 tell us about the crime on Copacabana Beach?
d. While we were staying at the Rio Othon Palace, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, one of the tourist at the hotel was mugged and robbed on Copacabana Beach while we were there. While the tourist was making a purchase across from Rio Othon Palace on Copacabana Beach when he took his money out to pay for the purchase, a gang of Brazilian men
circled around him. They took over $250 Brazilian money and his hotel safety deposit key.
(e) While guest(s) at the Rio Othon Palace, we had to pay for ice; we were asked to go purchase towels across the street when we used the pool at Rio Othon Palace; we couldn’t get an iron and iron board in our room; we were accused of using water, etc. from the non-locked mini-bar when we didn’t get anything out of their mini-bar; etc. Erna Poner-Highsmith has a medical problem, and she needed ice on a daily basis. It took an act of God to get ice at Rio Othon Palace Hotel. Doesn’t Gate 1 provide service for their clients who has medical needs, i.e. diabetics?
The Rio Othon Palace Hotel’s staff had an attitude toward Americans. It was obvious that the staff at Rio Othon Palace Hotel don’t like Americans. I was told that Rio Othon Palace Hotel is owned by a Brazilian, and isn’t an international hotel. Why would you book Americans in a Brazilian hotel that only want our money, but don’t want to provide us with American standard services?
(f) Gate 1 booked a Hindu couple on this tour that are vegetarians, but didn’t provide vegetarian meals for them. I had ordered my own vegetarian meals on the returned flight to Miami, Florida on Varig Brazil that I gave to them. I think that it is very insensitive to book Hindu clients, and don’t provide them with the service of vegetarian meals.
(g) Day 8, Friday – Illan May left us again at the Brazilian barbecue with another one of Gate 1’s staff. On the way back to Rio Othon Palace Hotel, Gate 1’s guests on the bus asked the driver to drive pass the Xmas tree floating in the lagoon. According, to Gate 1’s staff interpretation of what the driver said, “I don’t have time,” the driver lost about $75.00 - $100.00 U.S. Dollars in tips that evening. Everyone on the bus was upset with the driver because it would have only taken him an additional 5 minutes to drive us to see the Xmas tree’s lights. Again, a lack of service from Gate 1. There were some other incidents that happened while we were on the 9 Day Classic South America, but they were too numerous to mention.
The purpose of my trip along with one of my clients was to do a site visit. There is no way that I would take my clients on the 9 Day Classic South America (Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro). If I were to take any of my clients on this tour, I would no longer have any clients because of the way we were treated. Also, I don’t feel comfortable using Gate 1 as a tour operator for any of my travel.
This 9 Day Classic South America Tour was a nightmare, and I have been traumatized and stressed out about it.
Jeanette Braxton
jbraxtontravel@yahoo.com
www.jbraxtontravel.joystar.com

     
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Posted by frannieg on 2008-11-26:
I am sorry that you had a bad time with Gate one to South America, but I just wanted to say that I used them to travel to Egypt (Cairo,Nile cruise and Red Sea) and they were wonderful! I am vegan, had no problems with food. The guides were wonderful, knowledgeable and treated us like family. Our guide, Sam, was an Egyptologist....how great is that? This was my only trip,so far, with Gate1, but I have travelled a lot and they always tell you to be careful of pick pockets(front packs, not back pack's, etc) Don't buy from the vendors (we did anyway), cause the vendors sell you something for $1 and they see where you keep your money and then steal your wallet.
Every trip that I have been on, provide you a bottle of water a day and you are told not to drink the water in most places(in South America, I would think it would be something you as a travel agent would know) but in my SA trips, they have always warned us of the water, don't use ice in drinks and don't eat fresh veggies except in hotels.
I have not tried to get ice, but I think it would be hard to get anywhere.
The smoking would bother me if he smoked on the bus...our guides did not
Posted by frannieg on 2009-06-06:
Hey, me again....Just came back from China with Gate1travel and it was great. We went to Beijing(Great Wall), Xian (Terra Cotta Warriers),Yangtze River Cruise, and Shanghi.
The trip was great, the group was wonderful, Our guide, Maggie, was amazing. I had no trouble eating my vegan food..Maggie took great care of me. Again, I was traveling as a single and everyone was wonderful. One person in our group had mobility issues and rented a wheelchair and driver for the one day that there was lots of walking. I did not even know you could do that, but it worked out great for her. Great trip. I definately will use Gate1travel in the future.
Posted by dreamtoys on 2009-08-12:
We just reserved a trip to Israel and the price is great. We travel around the world every year and this trip is one of my wife's dream trip. I did a search to check Gate1 Travel and to make sure they are legit but my wife used American Express which gave great protection. I then read this negative comment. Like the the other two comments, I have to say that we, the traveler, has to take responsibility on many issues and cannot blame the travel agency on everything. Most of the items she brought up are common sense and being too picky. Hey, we are traveling overseas where things are not as cool as America. Well, people gets rob and even killed here!! I stayed at the same hotel twice, walk around with my expensive large digital camera, visited the flea market, walked around the night market across the hotel, etc. and had no problem and of course, may be because I am a Chinese dressed in American style tourist clothing. My wife and I really enjoyed Rio, Iqazzu Falls, etc. Yes, crimes are high over there I heard. A bus of Chinese from China got robbed at a gas station and took lots or Rolex watches, jewelry, ten and thousands of dollars because these Chinese people like to show off their stuff at the air port. Stupid and make the Chinese the prime target! Americans are poor tourist compare to the wealthy Chinese coming over to visit.

Bottom line is to watch out for everyone, and use common sense and followup and do not take for granted. Yes, it would be great to have a tour guy to escort you for the entire trip but then that cost money and then we complaint about the cost!

If you are in HK, you can take many trips around the world as great prices. Trip Wing On which is the largest in HK.

Good traveling.

Michael
Posted by tsanglangliu on 2009-12-19:
I can see the angry and frustration on SECRET 8-19-2006'S long comments on Gate 1 Travel.

I had different experiences.

March 2006 was my first time using Gate 1 Travel to Western half of Turkey, realized many returned customer of this travel agency, I was happy with that journey, and paid handsom tips to our humourous English speaking tour guide, a Ph.D. from Ankara University, sad, he makes more in tourism than academic.

November 2006 was my 2nd time using Gate 1 Travel to Southern Spain for 2 weeks, I was happy to visit my favorite part of Europe with excellent service and a good price, I had to pay much more if done by myself.

October 2007 I used Gate 1 Travel to Adriatic cruise, as a veteran world travler, I usually question what a cruise can provide, but I was happy with this excursion to see the other part of Mediterranean I have missed 3 times.

January 2008 I returned to Gate 1 Travel to Morocco, good deal, good service,I bought 6 berber carpets, I saw everything I wanted to see since college years.

Novenber 2008 I used Gate 1 Travel to Egypt Nile river cruise, excellent tour guide, I have learned from the past many years visiting ruins, without a good tour guide, ruins are just dead rubbles, but with a good local tour guide, all the rubbles became alive and told me many informative, knowledgeable histories.

November 2009 I used Gate 1 Travel Thanksgiving in Czech and Hungary, I had been there many years ago, but missed Karlovy Vary, so I signed up, includes Szentendre Nostalgia in Hungary. Most Hungary's museums are closed on Mondays, and I didn't want to miss it on Tuesday, so I had to give up Szentendre, I had asked my hotel to call that local tour operator to cancel it for me, after I have returned to USA, Gate 1 Travel refunded me the tour cost.

December 5, 2009 I used Gate 1 Travel to Dublin for 6 days, Dublin is the paradise for students of literature, I don't think any one can beat Gate 1 Travel's price if you consider the value built in.
Posted by ted on 2013-05-10:
I had a terrible experience with Gate 1 travel. No bathroom on the bus (like promised), didn't use the air conditioning, and no water. Had to travel for long periods without even stopping for lunch. Breakfast was at 7 a.m. and no lunch......dinner at 9 p.m. or later. They tried to squeeze too much into a short time. Didn't work for me. I had an accident and they wouldn't even call a dr. for me. I wasn't impressed at all. Won't be doing their tours ever again.
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Overcharged And Poor Service
Posted by SOWP on 10/03/2009
5851 SAN FELIPE, SUITE 500 HOUSTON, TX 77057, TEXAS -- I used Gate1 services to travel to Egypt and they overcharged me. They hid the fact that they are using a 3rd party service( VACATIONS TO GO) agent in USA who did the booking for me. I came to know later that I have been robbed almost 1500 $ extra compared to other agents. On top of that they have not given me any clear idea on the Visa requirements which led me to postpone the travel date ( as I had to carry a Visa since I am traveling through Germany).

This led to loosing 2 days of my 8 day package. Since I was paying almost 180$/day on the Shepered hotel in Cairo, I called the travel guys and asked them to cancel 1 day stay and refund me the money. They agreed to it but when I reached Cairo, I found that they have not called them and hotel had already charged me the day stay( The hotel would have refunded me the money if they had called)

2.They promised an itinerary for us but they didn't follow the itinerary which forced us to stay in a hotel in a remote place in Cairo without any sight seeing. It was more an ordeal for us as we use to get a morning wake up call for almost 3 days in a row around 5:30 AM..

3. These people r real thieves who not only robbed my money but is very comfortable doing that. I am trying to dispute the charges but these people are very bad... even my credit card agency " The great AMERICAN EXPRESS" is unable to find a solution....but I am determined to fight..

     
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Posted by Diabolical on 2009-10-04:
I'm not surprised they can't find a solution...as it's a vacation you already took...as for the visa, well, if it were me, I would have Googled everything ahead of time because I'm so ridiculously paranoid.
Posted by Ben There on 2009-10-04:
Unfortunately it is your fault for not getting the proper visa information for your journey. There are too many variables that come into play for anyone except the consulate of the individual countries to say if you need a visa or not.

As for AmEx, charge backs are intended for fraud, not buyers remorse. You maybe have a case for the extra night refund, but for the rest of the trip you agreed to the price.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-04:
I used a local travel agency for my Mexico trip. They in turn booked through Applevacations.com. This is how many many many many many local travel agencies book. Was this your first trip? They make a commission on the purchase. Did you not know this either? Your itinerary should have been given to you at the hotel in Cairo, not by the travel agency.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-04:
I think the op has a valid complaint, especially since the travel agency did not inform them of the visa needed and because of their failure to cancel the reservation, as they promised. As for being overcharged, more homework should have been done, but, in light of the exorbitant amount paid for a few minutes of computer work, one of their jobs is to provide you with a detailed itinerary before you leave--not after--with instructions on anything needed before your trip. That is the whole purpose of using a travel agency (and paying extra). People use travel agencies not just to make reservations, but also to be informed of details they may otherwise miss. Not everyone is a seasoned traveler, after all.

Travel agencies have fallen out of favor in recent years because more and more people are taking matters into their own hands. If they cannot provide the full service they are charging the consumer for, there is really no need to use them.

Thanks for the post, sowp. This may help deter someone else from paying more and getting less.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-05:
Kia, you are right...but I guess it depends where you travel. Our TA informed us about the need for ID and birth certificates (before the passport change came). However, our itinerary was given to us at our resort at check in.
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Israel Tour - Quality Of Guide
Posted by Traceybee on 04/18/2009
PENNSYLVANIA -- I recently took a Gate1 Travel tour to Israel. It was a one-week tour, with a local guide assigned to us for the week. This guide was rude, disrespectful and obnoxious, to us in the group as well to people we encountered on the trip. He would SCOLD us for reading guidebooks while he was talking; would rush us through sites, "promising" to let us take photos, then herding us like cattle as soon as he was done talking; he admonished other, older members of the group, for lagging behind; he was dismissive about questions we asked, particularly if he didn't like them. He made bigoted, even racist remarks about other tourists; it was an awful experience. I had found Gate1 on the internet and have now learned the hard way to check consumer reports before signing up blind.

I complained to Gate1 Travel to at least alert them to changing the tour operator and for a refund for the costs of the guide, I never even received an apology. I strongly recommend against anyone using this tour company.
     
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Gate1 Travel Is A Joke
Posted by Larry1010 on 04/22/2009
My wife and I are very experienced travelers, having toured all over the world with several tour companies, and never had any significant problems.

However on a recent tour of Morocco with GATE1 TRAVEL, it did not take us long to realize that the quality of their service was well below par:

1- Four days before the trip, they completely changed the itinerary of the tour, which rendered the airline reservations we had independently made totally unusable.

If it weren't for the actions of our personal travel agent, we would have been in an impossible situation.

Needless to say, we were very stressed when the trip started.

2- When we arrived at the airport in Casablanca, we could not find the person responsible for our hotel transfer.

After looking for him all over the arrivals area, we decided to change enough money to buy a phone card, in order to call the local GATE1 TRAVEL office for instructions.

It took three phone calls, and we were told by their incompetent office manager to take a taxi to the hotel.

The whole fiasco wasted about three hours of our time, and when we arrived at the hotel, the tour of the city that was included in the package had just left.
The hotel in Casablanca was very dirty and dreary.

3- At the end of the tour, we were supposed to return with the group to Casablanca.

Instead, the tour guide told us that we would be dropped in Marakesh, where we could take a train to Casablanca on our own.

We had bought an all inclusive tour from Casablanca to Casablanca, and warned him during the tour that his paperwork was incorrect. This cost us several days of arguments with the tour guide, and many calls to their incompetent office manager. In the end, we had to wake up at 2:30 in the morning to be able to catch our early morning flight in Casablanca.

Obviously, we were wrong in assuming that we would be well cared for when we bought an all inclusive tour. Not with GATE1 TRAVEL: they drop the ball and the customers are left holding the bag big time.

Belatedly, we heard from other people that these fiascoes are commonplace with GATE1 TRAVEL.

Once they collect your money, you are completely at their mercy.
There are many good tour companies around, but GATE1 TRAVEL is NOT one of them.
     
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Posted by dan gordon on 2009-04-22:
many tour companies include the transfers when you buy airfare from them. They coordinate arrivals with transfers. When you buy airfare independently many tour operators leave the transfers to you to arrange. This may of what happened to you.
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"11 Day Athenian With 3-day Cruise" Package Vastly Overrated
Posted by Bantengputih on 07/07/2008
I booked this package with Gate 1 Travel only because all of the Eastern Mediterranean cruises in which I was interested were sold out during the window we had available for the trip (June 20-30). My overall impression is that this is a "budget" tour at a "deluxe" price. Everything is vastly overrated.

Gate1's contract hotels are not anywhere close to 5 or 4 stars, as advertised. The best, the Royal Olympic in Athens, which is billed as 5 stars, had a single restaurant, not two as advertised, and that restaurant was closed for dinner on 2 of the 3 nights we stayed there; so we had to have dinner "poolside," which, because of the temperature, was definitely not my choice. Dinner selections were extremely limited, to essentially one entree per type (chicken, beef, veal, fish, etc.), hardly the mark of a 5-star hotel, and the prices were, in a word, outrageous ... Dinner with house wine for two came in at over 100 Euros in one case and nearly that amount in the other! The remaining hotels are worth perhaps 1 star for the Europa in Olympia and 2 for the Amalia in Delphi, and a bare 3 for the Divani in Kalambaka.

The Athens city tour was brief and rushed, included entirely too much "lecturing" by the tour guide in the hot Athens sun and the ferocious wind atop the Acropolis, while not allowing enough time for unhurried photographs, did not include a visit to the fabled National Archeological Museum, and the afternoon of the second day in Athens was basically wasted, because there would have been ample "at leisure" opportunities to explore the city on the previous (arrival) day, if our flight had arrived as scheduled (see below). However, the first really serious turn-off came when, on June 23, we had to wait in the hot sun for 30 minutes after being dropped off by the hotel pick-up bus at a so-called bus "transfer point" waiting for the tour bus to Olympia ... No seats, no shade, only standing room in the direct sun ... Unacceptable!!!

The overland bus trips of up to 8 hours were incredibly long and boring, with few stops for sightseeing, and some of those included disguised "shopping" opportunities. Once at a major sightseeing destination, visits often seemed too short and hurried, and were scheduled during the midday heat, rather than early mornings or late afternoons. In the case of Olympia and Delphi, visits to air-conditioned museums were scheduled in the morning, while the heat was still bearable, and before the visits to the outdoor archeological sites, which were scheduled in the full midday heat. It would seem intelligent, considerate, and feasible to reverse the sequence in both cases.

The cruise ship, Louis Hellenic Cruises' M/V Aquamarine, was yet another story. It was billed as 3 stars, yet it was far inferior to ships on which I had taken multi-day river cruises on the Yang Tse in China and the Nile in Egypt. Although I paid for a cabin upgrade and thought I was getting a "superior" outside cabin, I have never been forced to live in anything so small, so sparse, so cheap-looking, and so inconvenient. The tiny portholes were partially painted over! The worst part was the bathroom ... the shower stall was almost too small to turn around in (and I am a quite "normal" 5'10", 172 lbs) ... flimsy, shabby, without even any bath soap or other amenities. The in-cabin safe didn't work, or at least it didn't work for me. For the first two nights on the ship, there were diesel fumes in the cabin. After I complained to the tour director, they seemed no longer to be present on the 3d night. The restaurants were also not satisfactory to me. The main restaurant, while attractively decorated and featuring white linens and formal place settings, served lukewarm food, and it was almost impossible to get the wine steward's attention.

The "Bistro/Pub" looked like a cheap version of a McDonald's, the food on the serving line was habitually cold, one orange juice dispenser did not work, and the only reason we used that facility rather than the main restaurant for breakfast was the ease and speed of self-service versus the incredibly slow service and directed seating in the main restaurant. Then came the shore excursions sold through the cruise ship! First, they were vastly overpriced, even though the tour guides were generally competent and knowledgeable. But up to 59.95 Euros per person for a less than a half-day tour is simply too much for the experience, especially when that experience includes more disguised solicitations/opportunities to shop. In general, the escorted portions of the shore excursions were also limited and brief, with passengers left to "explore" on their own afterward. This was especially true on Rhodes, where we were literally rushed through the old city/citadel in about one hour. At least another hour should have been allotted for a guided tour of this World Heritage site.

Finally, our experience with Gate1's contract airline, Olympic Airlines! Our outbound flight (OA 412) was originally scheduled to leave JFK at 4:30 PM, on June 20. It finally took to the air at about 1:00 AM, on June 21 ... 8-1/2 hours late, causing us to miss at least a full afternoon of "at leisure" activities in Athens! Similarly, our return flight (OA 411) was scheduled to leave Athens at 11:25 AM, on June 30. It took off over 2 hours late, at about 1:35 PM, almost causing us to miss our connecting flight at JFK. In fairness to the airline, I will note that we were provided a room at the JFK Holiday Inn and two meals on June 20. A word about our connecting flight at JFK (Delta 5619): The plane's air conditioning did not work, and we sat on the tarmac at JFK sweating for over 1 hour because the flight also was late taking off. To add insult to injury, the stewardess served lukewarm water; on request, she added some ice cubes!

My advice: Avoid Gate1, if there are any other options!
     
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Dangerous Company to do Business With
Posted by BrandiArico on 04/17/2011
My boyfriend and I booked a land tour of Egypt before the political problems, giving Gate 1 a deposit of $400 each. After the violence erupted, we sent Gate 1 numerous requests to apply our deposits to a different tour or to give us a credit towards a future vacation, but Gate 1 will not make any accommodations whatsoever. With new riots nearly every day in Cairo, including right in front of the hotel we were supposed to stay at, Gate 1 plans to run the tour in two weeks as scheduled. We had to walk away from our deposits. I had been on two prior Gate 1 tours and, while they are fairly expensive relative to other tour operators, they are mostly well run. After my experience wit the Cairo trip, though, I will no longer be a Gate 1 customer.

     
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Posted by Alain on 2011-04-17:
Gate 1 could legitimately say that you knew, or should have known, the risks of booking any tour in the Middle East. However, check your contract with them and see what disclaimers it may contain concerning travel disruptions (weather, political upheavals, etc.). If there is a clause there saying that those problems are the travelers responsibility, then there is little you can do. If not, you may be able to get them to give you some sort of accommodation if you are persistent.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-17:
I wouldn't buy the hype being sold through US media. Cairo is the area of greatest unrest in Eygpt and its fine... nothing a bit more baksheesh can't solve. In a tour group - very safe. I was there a couple of weeks ago - with tourism down 90% you get unobstructed (by hordes of tourists) views of the pyramids and the Mena house is 50% off.
Posted by Gate 1 Travel on 2011-04-18:
Hello. Please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department, as we will be more than pleased to review your concerns immediately. 1-800-682-3333.
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Gate 1 Travel Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Paris - Don't go unless you're white or can speak French
Posted by on 11/10/2011
Customer service is awful. Tour guide treated Asians differently from whites on the trip. Also left many of us to starve instead of taking us to a restaurant since some of us had no idea where to go to eat in some cities. Had problems with one hotel and tour guide gave me an attitude rather than apologizing, demanding the hotel to apologize or attempting to solve the problem. My daughter bought me this trip as a present and I felt like it was a waste of thousands of dollars. I left the trip unsatisfied and angry. Don't go on this particular trip unless you are white or can speak the local languages. You will be treated like an outsider.
     
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Posted by bob93 on 2011-11-10:
What exactly happened?
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Possible Discrimination Against Mobility Impaired Persons
Posted by Wheelchair lady on 12/18/2008
CALIFORNIA -- My family wants to take my 76 year old dad on a GATE 1 TRAVEL Company trip to Italy. He has severe emphysema. We have asked to bring his wheelchair on the sight seeing bus, but they have refused on grounds that it is their company policy. We have been on the same tour before and understand the difficulties of wheelchairs in Europe. But he only needs it to relieve occasional stress and help him, not to hold up the tour group. We have offered compromises to space and other traveler courtesies, and have still been refused. Can they do this?

Also, my contact will not give me names of upper company administrators, President Director, Board members, etc. to appeal to. I think Gate 1 Travel is an American company... can they discriminate / deny him a device needed for his health and welfare?

SHOULD THE VICE PRESIDENT OF A COMPANY REFUSE SEVERAL TIMES TO GIVE THE NAMES OF HIGHER ADMINISTRATORS?
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-18:
I believe Gate 1 is an American company. That does not mean that they can extend U.S. law to other countries.

Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2008-12-18:
Here is some information from the ADA on Disability Rights Laws:
http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm

There are also a few phone numbers on the page. Hopefully this information can help you.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-12-18:
S.C. I was unaware that the ADA would apply in foreign countries.

Posted by Ben There on 2008-12-18:
Gate 1 can not enforce US laws on Italian bus charter companies. My grandmother has a small chair on wheels that folds up small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane, and it has really helped her keep up her passion for travel even though her 80 something year old legs don't move like they used to. Unlike regular wheelchairs that have two big wheels and two small wheels, this is more like a folding lawn chair on 4 small wheels. It is not self propelled, so someone has to push her but that is never a problem as we always make sure a family member is with her. It is light enough that she can carry it by herself, but strong enough to carry 250 pounds. I wish I remembered where we ordered it, but I am sure with enough googling you can find one.
Posted by Starlord on 2008-12-19:
Sadly, waving anything about the ADA in the faces of people in other countries will get you precisely nowhere. They may or may not have an equivalent law, but they have no obligation to meet the requirements of the ADA. Too often we forget that when we travel in other countries, the laws of the United States and the rights of American citizens mean less htan nothing. When you are in a foreign land, you are subject to their laws, not ours.
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