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.
Chaperoned Group Flights
When there are 10 or more students traveling from the same city (such as the New York tri-state area), we typically arrange a group flight and send you that information. In the New York tri-state area, 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 our “Active Teen Tours” that head out west offer chaperoned group flights to begin the trip from the New York area.
Additionally, the following international destinations have chaperoned flights from the US with gateway cities indicated as of October 2015 and subject to change based on airline changes:
|Australia & Hawaii – 27 days||chaperoned from Los Angeles (and from NY to LA)|
|Backpack Croatia, Slovenia, Austria & Czech Republic||chaperoned from JFK|
|Backpack France, Switzerland & Italy – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Backpack Greece, the Islands & Italy – 25 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Backpack New Zealand & Australia – 23 days||chaperoned from Los Angeles|
|Backpack Spain & Portugal – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Costa Rica||chaperoned from New York Area and/or Miami|
|Ecuador & Galapagos||chaperoned from Miami or Atlanta (and usually from NY to Miami/Atlanta)|
|European Discovery – 30 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|European Experience – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Peru||chaperoned from Newark and/or Miami|
|Pre-College Enrichment Barcelona – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Pre-College Enrichment Florence – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|South Africa – 25 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Spain Language – 28 days||chaperoned from JFK|
|Thailand||chaperoned from JFK or Newark|
Matching up Students Flying From The Same Area
We attempt to ‘match’ students flying from the same area and help co-ordinate flight itineraries so that you may fly to and from the trip with any other travelers from your area.
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, or directly with the airline of your choice. If you are trying to book your ticket as a frequent flier award, you need to book directly with the airline but must still book within our arrival and depart time parameters. 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
Details on where and how you will be greeted on your day one arrival are reviewed in your final pre-trip information package that is sent about 3 weeks prior to travel. If you are flying on a chaperoned group flight, we tell you where to meet us in the outbound airport. For the many of you who we are greeting upon arrival, your flight details on file are given to our leaders who will be greeting you at the first point of public access where you come 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 receive a complimentary Westcoast Connection / 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 tracks flights and provides 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. You can decide if you want to call, text, or other.
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 the office contact to parents 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 advise them of the age of your child. Please then notify our office if your child is flying as an Unaccompanied Minor. This is important information in order for us to coordinate which staff will greet them upon arrival and which will bring them to check-in for their return flight home.
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.