Unhappy with long layover

This item appears on page 29 of the May 2008 issue.

My husband and I departed for Overseas Adventure Travel’s “Hidden Gems: the Dalmatian Coast and Greece” on Oct. 6, 2007. Having traveled three times before with OAT and been satisfied with their flight arrangements, we were surprised to find when the final documents came that we had a more than 7-hour layover in the Frankfurt, Germany, airport.

Since we received this information only a few weeks before departure, we did not think we could do anything about it so did not even contact them. We felt making us lose an entire day in Athens was unconscionable but thought OAT used only Lufthansa and this might have been their only possible route from Newark, New Jersey, to Athens.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Newark at 5:10 p.m., land in Frankfurt at 6:30 a.m. and depart for Athens at 1:25 p.m.

We were amazed when we got to the Newark airport to see there was another flight leaving for Frankfurt around 9:20 p.m. that would have saved us almost four hours in Frankfurt. As a matter of fact, we met a couple on our tour who actually were booked on that flight by OAT and still had plenty of time to catch the Frankfurt-Athens flight.

But this was not our only shock. When we arrived in Frankfurt at

6:05 a.m. (almost a half hour early), we saw there was a flight leaving around 9 a.m. which would have given us almost five hours more to spend in Athens.

If we were to travel with OAT in the future, we would definitely look into booking our own flights. On this tour, we learned that many people do just that.

While we are willing to give up a few hours of our vacation in order to save on the airfare, as repeat customers we feel we were treated unfairly and deserved better.


Livingston, NJ

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to Overseas Adventure Travel (347 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210) and received the following reply.

Many thanks for the opportunity to respond to Mrs. Schechter’s letter. We had not heard from her so were unaware of her dissatisfaction with her air itinerary.

Most of our travelers book trips with us several months in advance of their departure dates. Soon after a reservation is made, we start working on a traveler’s air itinerary in order to get the best flights based on our contracted rates.

Mrs. Schechter reserved her trip just seven weeks prior to departure, and although we paid more than our contracted rate to get her the best possible air routing, the air itinerary that others in her group may have been booked on had long been sold out.

This is not to say that later bookings automatically translate into less desirable air routing, but as Mrs. Schechter was traveling to Croatia and Greece during the popular month of October, that is indeed what occurred.

We regret that Mrs. Schechter was not satisfied with her air itinerary last year and are glad that she and her husband have booked another trip with us later on this year.

PRISCILLA O’REILLY, Director, Public Relations, Overseas Adventure Travel