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I booked this trip traveling as a single and as such paid a single supplement due to the fact that we were on a boat part of the trip. It was Panama cruise; a continent divided. I discovered that two woman traveling together did not pay a single supplement. They did share the rooms in the three hotels but when it came to the boat they had separate rooms and DID NOT pay extra. I called the company and asked for either a refund or credit to a future trip but was told NO. I have traveled with this company 10 times. I feel I was treated unfairly. I will not travel with them again.
We went to Australia with OAT, my 7th continent and was really excited about going. Very early on in the trip, we discovered (at least 10 of the 12 people) that our tour leader was not up to scratch. In fact she alone spoilt the whole trip due to her lack of leadership and other problems too long to write about. Upon returning home, I filled out the survey and wrote a letter to Harriet Lewis. Someone from her office called and we played telephone tag for a couple of weeks. We finally spoke and she solicited more comments regarding my survey results and letter. She said she was going back to the executives and would call me back in 24/48 hours. Not sure why, but her commitment and she has never called me back despite me leaving her 2 more messages. This tells me all there is to know about their customer service!!!
We signed up to travel with Friends for a Baltic’s Capitols tour in June 2019. We put down a deposit and installment in Feb of 2018. OAT was easy to work with in the beginning. Indeed, they seemed more than willing to accommodate our interest in synching this trip with our plan to see our daughter in Aix en PROVENCE in May. And then it all fell apart!
In late Feb. 2018 I called OAT to ask a few questions. After more 90 minutes on hold, I hung up and emailed their customer assistance address. The return email was an auto-generated reply that said this was a “no-reply” address. Huh? So, I kept calling and calling FOR 6 weeks, after which I tried their Marketing Manager and their Public Relations Office. The Marketing guy apologized profusely and said someone from travel bookings would call me. Or not as it turned out. I waited 3 days and called him back and said I wanted to cancel and to process a full refund. I also explained why, that this was by far the worst customer service I’d ever experienced.
By the way, each time I called I would listen to this pathetic refrain: “We apologize for any delays. We are installing a new phone system and it’s taking a bit longer than anticipated.” Except that, based on customer reviews going back more than 2 years, OAT had been making the longest communications upgrade ever! Bottom line issue seems to be that OAT will bend over backward in booking your trip, but then put you at the end of the response line for all subsequent communications. The single exception is if you are an OAT veteran traveler.
My sister and I made a reservation with OAT in Sept. 2018 leaving for the Middle East at the end of January, 2019. We paid in full for both the tour and airfare in October and were confirmed for both - by OAT and the airline we were traveling on. On December 28, 30 days from our departure, I received a phone call telling me we were being bumped off the tour as they "overbooked."
I have traveled with many tour groups - Tauck, RoadScholar - and have NEVER had this happen. If the tour was full they told you and put you on a waiting list. In all my conversations with OAT it was never mentioned that the tour was full or that there was a possibility that we could be bumped. Travel with OAT (Grand Circle Travel) at your own risk.
Just happened across this site and was very surprised by the negative reviews. We travel extensively but almost never with a company. That said, we've now done 3 OATS trips and I believe they were all exception. A major piece of each of those was their help with flights. Our trip to India we booked, but OATS actually coached us on what to get (ie got 0 for helping us but did). Last year OATS helped us craft a trip to S America, where we added days in Lima before the started the OATS tour and then a full 9 days we spent in Colombia, all booked through OATS who were able to book us cheaper and more efficiently than we were able to. Then this past summer we had a last minute trip we needed to schedule to Europe and I happened to call to see if they had something going on we could use to get us to Europe. They didn't but they had a trip on our list, Africa, that flew through Europe.
They were able to get us our flight to Europe cheaper than we could, albeit very late, AND add 2 weeks so we could do what we needed to in Europe, AND add 10 days on the way home in Atlanta, which allowed us to do a visit with my family on the way home. We got three trips and paid for flights for one. Sorry for these other folks but our experience has been great. BTW, my mom died while we were on the first part of this trip and the OATS folks were responsive. We ended up not changing our flights, other than staying in the south a week longer on the way back, but they were trying to help and gave us great advice. As a primarily independent traveler, I have nothing but respect for OATS. Great company.
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I am a 7 time traveler with OATS and Grand Circle and have never had a bad experience. I love the small groups that OATS provides and have loved all the hotels! The tours have been active and have always met my needs! Fabulous tour company.
I have travelled with many other tour companies. What sold me about OAT was their itinerary for Vietnam. Don't get fooled by great itineraries. Months after booking, I received a letter informing me that there were changes made to the itinerary. They removed a lot of the museums and excursions that were included in the price, without replacing any of these or reducing the price.
I booked my airfare with their travel department since I wanted to do a layover in Hong Kong. I paid for business class and all segments were booked in business. Then I get a phone call from the travel department (in October - the trip leaves 11/27/18) informing me that they made a mistake on the Hong Kong -Hanoi portion and had to change the flight to get me there earlier and with the other travelers. The travel agent neglected to inform me that I was now flying coach for this segment.
Called the company numerous times and was told that nothing could be done. I emailed corporate three times and have yet to hear back from them. Their customer services is horrible. I am a seasoned traveler and have taken lots of tours with other companies and have never had this type of issue. Most companies are professional and if there is an issue, they return emails/calls and try to resolve it. BUYER BEWARE!!!
I signed up for an OAT trip a year in advance and paid a $350 deposit. Eight months before the trip, I needed to cancel and called them to give maximum notice. I asked if I could apply my deposit to another trip. They said I could not and I was lucky that ‘only’ $300 was non-refundable and it could have been much worse. Seriously...8 months before the trip! I travel with many companies and have never experienced anything like this. At a minimum, any deposit has always been able to be transferred to booking another trip. Based on this experience, I will never book with them again and urge anyone considering a trip with them NOT to book so far in advance and to consider other companies with more logical policies.
Warning on OAT Ultimate Africa trip. I was at the Okavango Delta in June. They opened a new camp within the last month of our group's arrival. This camp was 90+ minutes from the Okavango Delta, the Area we were was almost devoid of life. Not what was sold to me! I believe all in our group sent in complaint letters as this was to have been the APEX of the trip! It was the worst part of the trip.
I received a letter from Alan ** with a $300 credit citing operational problems with the Camp… What? LOL. I sent in another letter stating how irrelevant and inappropriate the letter was. I receive a phone call from an Angelia stating Mr. **’s letter was wrong and he apologized for the location of the camp. One member of our group had been there with OAT years before, he said it was not the Delta he had previously been as the previous location which was filled with life. I believe this was a bait and switch and they moved the camp due to cheaper lease costs.
I have one more upcoming trip with OAT that I had requested to cancel and refund. I got the standard line ”depending on our Cancellation policy” I interrupted Angelia and said that was 100% unacceptable and I wanted a 100% refund. I do not trust this company. I am now looking into legal options and subpoenaing the lease records of the Camps locations for restitution for the worthless “Apex” portion of the trip. I am now considering legal action! Shame on you OAT! Do not trust OAT!
I can't understand the negative reviews I'm reading. My wife and I have gone on 7 OAT trips and find them wonderful - the tour guides have been uniformly excellent, the hotels unusual and well located, the food interesting, but more than that, the trips have been very educational. As for the people who answer the phone to begin with, we've had nothing but excellent service, including making plane reservations. We live near RDU, and flights to other smallish airports, like Vilnius for example, can be hard to get right, but they've done a great job for us, including getting inexpensive upgrades for premium economy on Cathay Pacific for our flights to Asia. I think their trips, their planning, their service is first rate, and on the 7 trips we've taken there are many, many people who've traveled with them over and over, which is the best kind of "review."
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 canceled the trip and have decided to never use them again.
I have just completed my fourth trip with OAT. Over a short period of three years I can see that the value for the dollar has decreased. Unless you are traveling as a single with no additional charge for a private room, you are supplementing the cost of those who are. This pricing scenario has to be covered by cheaper hotels and meals among other ways. I had a very bad experience on my last trip. I usually book my own airfare knowing my transfers to and from the airport are not included.
This was made quite clear when we were not permitted to accompany many of our fellow travelers on the bus to the airport even though there was plenty of extra room, and were told to take a taxi. I told them that Odysseys Unlimited, who we have traveled with many times, welcomes their valued customers to use the airport transportation if there is space available...at no charge! OAT's reply was, “Too bad we don't.” Maybe OAT should look at trying to offer a little more service to couples who are supplementing their "no single supplement" customers.
I had booked a trip and then cancelled for another trip. OAT recently changed their Good Buy plan downward. I was told I would be given the maximum amount but on my invoice, they gave me a step less. The agent I spoke with had told me I would get the max, but subsequent phone calls disallowed it but "would review it." Needless to say I never got a call back except from the agent who asked me to reiterate what he had said! I am still booked for the trip, but very disappointed with OAT that they don't stand by their word. This is my first negative experience after 12 successful trips, so I am not ready to leave the company, but another mix-up may push me over the edge.
You're lucky if they answer the phone in 20 minutes (so sick of their background music!). After several calls about a price issue with promises to call back. NOTHING! Maybe hire more staff??? I see a lot of complaints about customer service here. Guess they don't read their reviews or they just don't care. But it will eventually catch up to them...
My husband and I have traveled with OAT 11 times. We love their tours- especially the small size and the superb guides. Their air service, however, is mediocre at best. We have just had a most unpleasant experience with them on our travel home from Australia. This trip, I think, is the first time we have used their service and I would hesitate before ever using their air service again. Below I highlight just two of our problems as a warning about OAT air service. Our poor opinion of OAT air service started months ago. I didn’t keep the details because I did not anticipate future problems. For some reason I called OAT air services and found out that the time had changed between our arrival in The United States and making a very tight departure home. The OAT person told me that if I wanted to keep abreast of these changes I needed to be in contact with the airline directly.
Our most serious complaint occurred when we were in Australia. A little over a week before our return flight, we received an email from our superb Australian guide saying there were issues with our flight. The message she sent on to us said the only flight available for us to get home on our booked date was an ECONOMY flight back that night even though we had booked BUSINESS class tickets. The Bangkok office which handled bookings was closed for the weekend and an extra day for a national holiday. Our guide then decided not to wait three days for making a change but worked with the home office in Australia and then a special contact in New York to rebook us on another BUSINESS flight home with a stop in Melbourne on the day we originally requested.
When I got home I wrote and talked to OAT. I learned most disturbing information. SEATS MAY BE AVAILABLE ON THE FLIGHT YOU WANT BUT OAT DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THESE SEATS. The carrier determines what access OAT has depending on OAT’s arrangement with the carrier. This also means that you can not get on the phone and deal directly with the airline; you must go thru OAT. There is more to this story; bottom line - Beware of unpleasant consequences if you book air travel with OAT.
Save your time & money! This travel company has ZERO customer service. They are quick to pick up the phones for purchasing a trip but, they do not pick up if you have questions or need to cancel a trip, for whatever reason. This is not a reputable or service oriented company. After calling several times & not being able to reach a live person, I emailed them to cancel a trip. No record of email cancellation. When I called their 'sales' number, they picked up immediately. Their answer to me for delaying answering the phones was "they are in the process of hiring & training new people." NOT MY PROBLEM!
Perhaps at one time this company was good, but not anymore. Would not recommend traveling with this company. If they can't service you before you leave on a trip, how are they going to service you while on the trip? Last time I checked, the travel business is a service related organization. Their prices may be reasonable, but the old saying is true: You get what you pay for! Would NOT recommend this travel company!
I am booked for a trip to Egypt in December 2018. For the past few weeks I have been unable to access my account for information on flight confirmations which are booked through OAT. Yesterday I called and was told that my flights had automatically been cancelled for no reason and was given an apology. Today I again tried to access my account and could not do so. I wanted a confirmation of the flights and seats. The rep emailed me the confirmation, tried to be helpful and told me that other Mac users have consistently had trouble with the site and that he would notify the IT dept. Up to me to keep trying!! No message would be sent to me either way. Told him unacceptable and that I will cancel the trip if I don't get access to the site in a reasonable amount of time. All Mac users please weigh in and contact the company if you are having problems.
The ten trips we have taken with OAT/GCT have all been excellent. Our trips have earned us travel credits toward future trips, however, they do expire. Some of our credits are expiring due to trip inactivity. We have not taken any trips since our home was flooded (Hurricane Harvey) and we are just getting back into our home (April 2018). Travel counselors with OAT/GCT have informed us they do not waive the expiration date. It is unfortunate this policy is inflexible given our circumstances.
The group leader in Peru, Freddy, was difficult to understand. My experience of him is that he was rude, arrogant and condescending and unhappy to be doing his job. I found his people skills extremely lacking. I have been on several OAT trips and have never had a bad experience. I continue to be in contact with the group leaders from Africa and Vietnam. The airline portion of this trip was exhausting - not only due to the length of the flights and layovers, but because of the seat assignments - last row is NOT acceptable when OAT has had 6 months to make flight arrangements. I requested a change of seat for my return flight - I waited for several days and when I hadn't heard from them, I purchased a different seat...then, OAT contacted me to confirm that I had the seat I had purchased. This is the LAST time I will take a trip with OAT.
When I asked OAT to make my wife and my flights, the cross Atlantic legs, ie outward and return, I got invoice that says Economy Plus. When I receive flight information, only return journey shows Economy Plus. Repeated call got standard answer that they will listen to the recording and get back to me within 5 business days. 5 business days passed by three times with my follow up. Adventure staff and flight staff repeats the same and would not do anything to rectify but that we can do it on our own.
My husband and I and two friends used OAT for an amazing trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. We were so satisfied with the experience that we are taking their Ultimate Africa tour in March of this year. Our tour guides both in Peru and Ecuador were educated, well informed, gracious hosts. They took care of our group of seniors to the utmost of their abilities. When I was struck with altitude sickness in Peru our guide could not have been more helpful. He did exactly what was necessary to get me the proper treatment so that I could recover quickly and rejoin the tour in less than a half hour.
On the Ecuador part, I became dehydrated. Once again, our guide made every effort to protect my well being by speaking to the locals, and finding a store that sold Gatorade, and he made sure I was prepared with it for the rest of the journey. We never felt that we were being coddled, we simply felt that the guides in both countries had our best interests, our health and safety at the top of their priorities. I would recommend OAT to anyone who is interested in a physically active, informative, and life change journey.
A couple of key pointers about my Peru Travel experience with OAT in late 2017: 1. They are quick to take your reservation but you will spend almost 2 hours on the phone waiting for OAT customer service at any point after giving them your money. Horrible customer service. Virtually no customer service provided since I'm sure so many give up trying to reach OAT after making a nonrefundable reservation deposit. 2. OAT on their website will delete or prohibit from publishing, truly useful mixed and negative reviews. Biased and sneaky. 3. They force you to eat with the group at expensive restaurants. If we didn't have to do this and if the trip was cut short by at least 2 days, the price would have been a bit more reasonable.
4. Above all, the tour guides make all the difference and unfortunately our guide Jose ** was more so an attention seeker and impatient with us older folks than a patient educator about Peru. He was more interested in showing off about his trials and tribulations in Peru than focusing on the history, facts and dynamics of the country and the broader population. I would request a different tour guide if you weirdly enough choose OAT for your Peru experience.
I have not yet gone on my trip, so I cannot offer a review in terms of actual travel and accommodations but I was deeply bothered by the misleading information I was given when making arrangements. When I booked my two trips, I wanted to include a visit (on my own) to Santiago. When I asked the rep (Sarah) how much this would cost, or if it would be extra she assured me it would most likely fit within the travel budget and wouldn't exceed the $1700 I was already paying for airfare. She said it "might" be a little extra... When I said, "Well I hope it won't be a lot," she assured me it would not be. She mentioned a small amount, and while I can't remember what exactly what that was, it was so minimal I told her to proceed.
She said she would have the back-to-back team give me a call. It turned out to cost $350 additional, plus another $85.00 for a hotel room (the latter of which is understandable because of the flight times). When I complained to an OAT rep, they reviewed "the tape" of our conversation and found (or claimed) she did not say these things. I told them there were three phone calls and it was one of the latter calls that we discussed this, but they refused to listen to the other tapes. In fairness to OAT, one of the reps did offer to apply a trip credit from the first trip towards the second - which helped take the sting off the additional fare. It's not a make or break thing for me but just want to warn you - ask specific questions, write down their answers and the DATE AND TIME of your call.
I've made one trip with OAT that was excellent from beginning to end. I have three more scheduled and making arrangements for all three have been excellent. Two are back-to-back trips and they patiently worked out the details for leaving one tour and connecting with the next. They seem fully aware of recent problems with contacting their representatives and are making apparent heartfelt efforts to work it out. Part of the problem might be that their reps, when they do get on the phone, take extraordinary efforts to make the call seem personal.
Ultimate Africa air travel - We booked our trip air fare included and were told by two representatives we could change our air travel arrangements by Nov. 1 at no additional charge. I called back on Oct. 31 and was told there would be a fee of 460.00 and that our first class ticket from Cape Town to Amsterdam would be changed to coach. If I had been told the truth when I booked I would have extended the nights in Amsterdam the same day. The two people who misinformed me were either poorly trained or lying to me. Either of which is unacceptable when you are booking a trip that is over $26,000.00. I wish now I had booked with Odyssey. Depending on whether the trip is as bad as the pre-service I may never travel with them again.
My friend and I had taken a trip with this company earlier this year and we were extremely satisfied. The process for registration was easy, all questions were answered, the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and professional, and the group had wonderful experiences. We therefore decided to take another one early next year. Again, the process for registering for this trip was wonderful. However, once our trip was booked, our experience with this company became totally different. We were no longer able to speak to an agent without waiting a minimum of 30+ minutes on hold. We were given different information about flights every time we finally did manage to speak to an agent. One agent said that we could get a direct flight home. Another agent told us they did not exist. We asked for business class seats. One agent told us they were not available. Another "managed" to get them for us.
I wrote an email with my concerns to the email addresses listed on their website, a week ago. I did not receive any response. I therefore sent the email again a few days ago. As yet, I have not received a response. I therefore called this morning. In order to bypass the 30+ minute wait, I called the number for new registrations and was immediately connected to an agent. I asked to be connected to a supervisor and she would not give me anyone's name, phone number or email address. She asked me to tell her and when I explained the issue her response was, "we don't monitor emails." I asked her for the name of someone in charge. She was either unable or unwilling to give me a name and said it was a team and the only way I could contact them was by regular mail. She either did not have or would not give me a phone number for them. Altogether, I felt her tone was curt and she was not at all helpful.
We have a trip to Cuba scheduled to leave Sept 29. With the destructive path of Irma we are concerned about whether the trip will go. All we get when we call is a standard reply. The trip leaving on Sept 19th was cancelled less than a week before departure. Complicating this is that we are residents of Fort Myers, FL and have no power. We need to be in FL repairing our homes and those of our friends. OAT will not return calls. If we cancel we lose our money. If we wait for them to make a decision it delays our return to FL to recover from Irma's damage.
Is this an indication of OAT service. How can they assure that we will be safe traveling in Cuba. We didn't sign up for a trip that has any chance of unnecessary risks. We have seen first hand the amount of resources needed to begin the clean up in Florida. Cannot imagine that by Sept 30th Havana will be safe for travel. In addition I learned yesterday that trips supported by the foundation can be more than the promised 20 people. Why are their group sizes for foundation trips different than their standard 12-16. Had we known the group would be larger we would have never signed up.
When I called the toll free number and was not satisfied with the response, I asked for a return call and have not had a response. I have never dealt with a travel organization that is so unwilling to answer questions in a timely manner. We have traveled with OAT before and expected better from them when dealing with natural disasters. To assure safety and allow travelers to make plans the late Sept tour to Cuba should be cancelled. If it is not cancelled travelers should be told what changes will need to be made and allowed to reschedule if not satisfied with the changes or apparent risks.
I traveled last spring with OAT to Central Europe. The travel guide was outstanding, attentive, smart and very competent. All the individual guides in the various cities and towns were interesting and knowledgeable. The accommodations were always great, both clean and convenient. Our intercity travel was very comfortable and I would definitely book all my travel with this company. I traveled with another company and OAT far exceeds them in customer service.
I recently booked my first trip with OAT which will start in Nov. 2017. However, after I booked the trip, it is virtually impossible to get hold of them. On telephone, I cannot get them even after holding for 1 hour! The voice says they have high call volume and their telephone system is being changed! This of course is nonsense. I am wonder if they are still in business. Can someone advise me on that? Which is the right Government agency to report complaint? OAT is simply horrible!
This will likely be my last trip w/ OAT. Can't get through to anyone to talk about your travel. You're put on hold for 30+ mins or longer. It's frustrating. I went to Tuscany last year and never had this problem. I could get through to a person to ask questions, but not anymore. I have a trip reserved to Iceland this fall and I'm considering just saying bye bye to my deposit. I have questions about the invoice and can't reach someone on the phone to ask and they don't respond to email either. Very bad service; I don't know what happened.
Overseas Adventure Travel Company Information
- Company Name:
- Overseas Adventure Travel