We understand that a great travel experience means getting to and from your destination as smoothly as possible. For many of our travelers, this may be their first time flying without their parents. The good news is that what might be new to your family is routine for ours. We use our many procedures, developed from over 40 years of experience arranging flights, to make the journey as easy and relaxing as possible!
For flight details on a specific program, please see that program’s web page. Our general guidelines for flights are as follows below, please call us if you have any questions.
North American Programs
All Active Teen Tours that travel out west offer chaperoned flights to the trip starting point from the New York area. We are there to greet you at the airline counter and help you check-in and make social introductions. One of our staff will fly out west with you and your new friends.
For those flying from other cities, we do our best to coordinate your travel with others from the same area so you can start building new friendships before you even arrive at your destination. When there are 9 or more students traveling from the same city, if it is early enough in the year, we try to arrange a chaperoned flight. In the past we have had chaperoned flights on a few departures from South Florida, Philadelphia, and Toronto.
For almost all of our programs there are chaperoned flights from a designated gateway city.
For travel to Europe, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam, we typically chaperone from JFK or Newark; for Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji from JFK and from LAX; for Central & South America from the New York area or Miami.
Our staff are at the airport to help you check-in, make social introductions and fly with you to your first destination.
(Note: For specific programs to Australia, Australia & New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand & Fiji, Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos, Thailand and Vietnam, and South Africa, all flights are arranged by Westcoast Connection.)
For those flying from other cities, you may connect with and use our chaperoned flight. Consult with us before purchasing your ticket to ensure you arrive with sufficient time to connect on the outbound and your return flight allows enough time to clear immigration and customs and make your connection home. You are responsible for additional costs of travel due to missed connections.
Booking Your Own Flight
Time Parameters for Your Arrival & Return Home
In order to organize minimize waiting times in airports upon arrival, and upon returning home, we use specific flight time parameters for each program. These times outline when you should arrive and when to book your flight home. We provide airport transfers around these designated times and the system helps programs start and conclude smoothly. Transfers outside of these times will incur additional fees.
On most of our programs, as long as your flights arrive and depart within the designated times, you are welcome to book your own flight directly with the airline of your choice. If you are booking your ticket as a frequent flyer reward, you will need to work directly with the airline and must still book within our time parameters.
Every year, we find it serves clients best that once you find the flights you want to purchase, please email the details to us for confirmation prior to purchasing any non-refundable tickets. This way, we can help catch any errors and avoid expensive corrections later.
Greeting Upon Arrival
Details on where and how you will be greeted on your arrival are reviewed in your final pre-trip information package that is sent about three weeks prior to travel.
Prior to departure, participants receive a complimentary Westcoast Connection t-shirt to wear on the first day of travel. This makes greeting everyone in crowded airports much easier! Our communication center tracks flights and provides updated information in real time to our staff on the ground. All participants are requested to contact home once they’ve been greeted by our staff at their point of arrival.
For return flights home, we check everyone in and see them through security. Our leaders remain in the airport until the last flight in designated times has departed.
Unaccompanied Minor Service
Most airlines provide an “Unaccompanied Minor” service whereby children not flying with an adult can be escorted by airline personnel for an additional fee. The eligible age to take advantage of this service varies by airline. We suggest checking with the airline directly on the availability of this service. Here are some common airline links.
If you are booking your flight yourself, with your own agent, or directly with the airline, it is best to advise them of the age of your child. We ask that you notify our office if your child is flying as an Unaccompanied Minor. This helps us 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 area. Please contact us to discuss any of these itineraries.