BOSTON, MA -- I booked to travel to Morocco on 12/19/2009. I got stuck in Denver because of the storm in New York. I called, called and called their offices to get some help in rebooking my trip on Royal Air Moroc (the portion of the trip I purchased from OAT). I could have gotten there on Sunday, 12/20 but was lied to by OAT - they told me that Royal Air Moroc didn't fly on Sunday. I got there on Monday after spending 1 1/2 days at my expense in a hotel in Denver.
This was my 6th trip with this company, and I have never been treated so poorly. When I called to rebook, I was told too bad you lost your trip because you didn't purchase the travel insurance. It was only because I got really ugly that they helped me.
OAT does a wonderful job on the trip, but they certainly are no help when you have a problem with flights getting to the destination. They lied, gave me false information, and generally poor treatment. The Chicago office was the worst. My advice to anyone traveling with OAT - don't miss your connection even if there is a record snow storm!
We returned from a trip with OAT yesterday; the organization of the trip through Egypt, the cruise on the Suez Canal and Red Sea were fine, but when we arrived at the hotels in Jordan, they were a disaster and nobody changed anything to make it better. The hotel in Petra, the Petra Inn, (Our schedule stated that we would stay at the Petra Palace) was a dump! It was dirty, unkempt and nothing worked. When my husband used the commode, it fell to the side. We have pictures to prove this. The food was disgusting too.
The next hotel in Amman was better, but not much! When there was running water, it was cold. It was not kept well either. One of the couples got so fed up with the quality of the hotels, that they left early. The rack rate for the hotel in Petra was 55 JD per night and the one in Amman was 100 JD per night. Tour operators pay a lot less... When you consider that your trip costs $ 800 per day per couple, you wonder how the rest of the money is spent. A guide and a bus certainly do not cost $ 650 per day!
Another complaint is that, when you arrange your own flights, they do not pick you up from the airport. You arrive in a totally strange country, without local cash and you have to find your way to the hotel... this way, they save $ 30 - 50 on your back! Not very consumer friendly, esp. since they are at the airport anyway to pick up other clients.
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS -- Attention Travelers. Thinking about booking a trip with Overseas Adventure Travel or Grand Circle? Warning!!! Think twice and check them out on the Better Business Bureau. There record is filled with complaints including action taken by the office of Mass Attorney General.
My wife and I and two friends have recently returned from a 19 day trip to Kenya and Tazania. The trip was a disaster. The problems arose long before departure. Despite booking a year in advance the seating could very well have been the worst on the plane. At one point my wife and I were in different rows. All the seats were in the very back of the planes near the toilets with constant traffic and very cramped.
We tried in vain to change our travel bookings to things offered in the brochure (Upgrade to business and overnight stay in Amsterdam) We were told they were not available. They have since told us that these were the only seats available and seating was not there responsibility. This did not bode well for the remainder of the trip. After our extremely uncomfortable trip we arrived in Kenya with half our duffel bags missing. We got them a day later.
Then the real problems started. We were to spend 7 of the next 15 days traveling in cramped uncomfortable and aging vehicles. This was bad but not as bad as one disruptive individual who had us all believing that we somehow had mistakenly been booked on her private Safari. Without going to all the disturbing details I will say That this disruptive and most disagreeable member of our tour made for countless hours of frustration and anger preventing the four members of our group from enjoying a quite expensive trip. We were told at the outset that members of the two vehicles would be rotated daily so as to allow all to meet and become friends.
This never happened. We were always inn the same vehicle as the disruptor. On two occasions My wife and our friend left the group in tears because stress and tension. The women rooming with the disruptor was often in tears and did not even want to go to her room and at one point shared our room. We constantly complained to our group supervisor and requested he do something to ease the situation, which could have been made tolerable by moving people in vehicles.
When asked why this was not done we were told the other individuals did not want the disruptor in their vehicle and would not switch. We were stuck. Even the driver requested she not be allowed to sit behind him and was moved to the back of the vehicle were she cold yell her communications to the rest of the group.
Another disturbing point occurred that showed just how ill equipped or guide, an employee of OAT / Greand Circle, was in handling group problems. There were tented camps were one is not allowed to leave tents. We had an occasion when my wife and another group member were very ill perhaps food poisoning, and had been forced to stay in there tents during a group meeting at which we were first informed that leaving the tents after dark was not allowed due to the danger of animal encounter.
We would need a guard to travel to and from tent and lodge. The ill members knew nothing and darkness had already fallen. Our guide went on and on in his talk and despite my expressed concern did nothing to inform the other members in the tent. I became very angry with his lack of concern (danger real or not) I left the meeting and got a lodge guard and went to inform my wife and the other member. I could go on and on but the bottom line is the trip was long and uncomfortable, physically and mentally. It could all been easier had our guide been better equipped to handle group dynamics. He did nothing.
Believe me the details of this trip are far more expansive and could fill pages. When we returned home we tried to get some satisfaction from OAT / Grand Circle Co. And have been informed that the take no responsibility for our experience and were told they were oh so sorry that what happened put a damper on our trip. DAMPER!! Ruined a very expensive Vacation. Essentially, Customer Satisfaction is not in their business hand book. We are pursuing this complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- OAT, the Tour Guide ** and the tour was excellent. There was nothing that could be improved upon. Well organized, educational & ** was the best tour guide any of us had ever had. I would highly recommended this tour, this tour guide & OAT.