Time Parameters for Arrival To & Departure From
For each of our itineraries, we have specific flight time parameters which outline when we require participants to arrive at the outset of the program and when to depart home from the trip’s final stop. This helps us organize as smooth a first and final day as possible and minimize the amount of time people are waiting in airports.
We attempt to ‘match’ students flying from the same area and help co-ordinate flight itineraries so that they may fly to and from the trip with any other travelers from the same area.
When there are 10 or more students traveling from the same city (such as the tri-state area), we typically arrange a group flight and send you that information. In the tri-state area, most of these flights will be seen off by a Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel representative at the airport to facilitate check-in and make social introductions. All of our Westcoast Connection “Active Teen Tour” group flights are chaperoned by one or two of our group leaders.
Booking Your Own Flight
For those arranging your own flights, as long as the flights arrive and depart in the proper times, you are welcome to book flights through our flight department, directly through the airline of your choice or using frequent flier miles/points directly with your airline of choice. It is important to stick to the time guidelines we provide to ensure trip members are greeted properly and our programs have a smooth start and ending. We request that once you have found the flights you wish to purchase, please email those to us to confirm prior to purchasing any non-refundable tickets as this can help catch any errors and avoid expensive corrections later.
Greeting Upon Arrival & Communication
All flight information is collected by our offices and how to be greeted on day one is reviewed in your final pre-trip information package that is sent about 3 to 4 weeks prior to travel. Your flight details on file are given to our leaders who will be greeting arrivals at the first point of public access where one comes out of the secure area in the airport. So whether traveling with a group, with one other person, or independently, each traveler is met by our staff upon arrival at the trip’s starting point. Participants will receive a complimentary Westcoast Connection or 360° Student Travel t-shirt prior to departure to wear on the first day of travel to make greeting everybody in crowded airports easy. Don’t worry, the t-shirts are cool enough for everyone to wear! Our communication center is constantly tracking flights and providing updated information in real time to our staff on the ground. All trip members are requested to contact home once they have been greeted by our staff at their point of arrival. In most cases this is a phone call although given the time difference, we may advise they send a text, e-mail or BBM.
Once all trip members have arrived and the group leaves the airport, our office sends out a general email to share that news and the trip monitor from the office will introduce themselves as your office contact for any in-trip communication needs.
For return flights home, we check everybody in and see them through security and our leaders will remain in the airport until the last flight has departed.
Unaccompanied Minor Service
Most airlines provide an “Unaccompanied Minor” service whereby children who are not flying with an adult can be escorted by airline personnel for an additional fee. The age of children that this is provided for varies by airline and airline policies change from time to time so it is always best to check directly with the airline as to the availability of the service. Some airlines have maximum ages allowed and some airlines have ages where they make it mandatory. As such if you are booking your flight yourself with your own agent or directly with the airline, it is best to make sure you share the age of your child.
Some of our programs begin in the northeast with ground transport included and there may be no flight(s) required if you live in the northeast. Please contact us to discuss any of these itineraries.