Overseas Adventure Travel / Grand Circle Co Complaint - Kenya Tanzannia Safari Disaster
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 Tazannia. 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 there 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.