What the Airlines Don’t Tell You: Be Aware of New Trends in Upcharges and Surcharges

JoAnne Wycoff is an Airline Reservation Specialist for Educational Travel Consultants.
Her duties include quality assurance with student travel group airline purchases. JoAnne makes certain all of the ticketed information is correct. She also handles last minute additions to student travel trips.

Because of the rising cost of fuel, airline ticket prices are increasing. But there are now surcharges and up charges for airline tickets that were not included before. For example, if a traveler wants to purchase a snack, he or she must now pay for it on some airline carriers. If a traveler has to make a name change – meaning transferring the ticket to someone else’s name (not a name correction) there may be as much as a $100 fee to change the name.

JoAnne offers some good advice to anyone about to take a student travel trip or a trip of any kind, “When travelers receive e-ticket information, READ the instructions about going online and reserving a seat or the baggage limit. The E-ticket instructions will give a traveler an indication of baggage charges. If the traveler reads the instructions beforehand, then he or she will not be in for some surprises at the airport.”

Each airline is different. Feel free to telephone the airline and inquire about extra charges. Following is a short list of some of the surcharges and upcharges airlines have added in tough economic times.

Air Travel Check In: The Number of Bags Included in Ticket Price
Most airlines still allow one carry on that can be stowed overhead for no extra charge. A traveler may also carry a purse or a laptop with them. Limit the size of the carry on bag to something that can fit in an overhead stow, usually 55” or less.

Airlines: Additional Charges for Luggage
According to JoAnne, “Another trend is beginning to take hold in air travel. Several months ago one airline began to charge for additional bag checks. This trend may unfortunately continue, as other airlines follow suit.”

For example, Airtran allows travelers one free bag to check and carry on. Additional bag checks for Airtran only cost $10 if done online. If the traveler waits until he or she arrives at the airport the bag check costs $20.00. These rates are all based on standard size and weight luggage. If the bag is 62-80 inches it may incur an oversize baggage charge. Or, if it exceeds 51 pounds there may be overweight baggage charges.

American Airline’s is now charging a $15 fee for the first bag of luggage. This first bag fee is an annoyance to air travelers. Yet it may start a trend in the airline industry for other companies to do the same, mainly because of the higher cost of moving freight.

JoAnne says that this additional baggage charges will apply to both legs of the airplane journey. Although an airline will not add a baggage charge on the connecting flight, they certainly will charge the person flying for departure and return.

Student Travel to Some Markets Incur Extra Fees: Washington D.C., Orlando, NYC

Airplane seats to the most popular student travel destinations, such as Washington D.C., Orlando, or New York City, are easier to sell. Air ticket prices may be extra for student travel groups. The reasoning behind this is profits. Airlines see student travel as a large group that takes numerous seats on a flight. Often, individuals may be able to pay more to fly. Airlines tend to boost the price for group airfare to these markets. Although there is still a savings to buy more tickets, there is less of a savings to buy in bulk in Washington D.C., New York City, and Orlando, Florida.

Surcharge for Airplane Seating
A window seat or seat in the front of the cabin is now subject to an extra charge with most airlines. This extra seating charge may not apply to groups. The airline will make it a priority to seat the group together, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Purchase Student Travel Airline Tickets at the Same Time for Better Prices
When student group travel tickets are purchased they are purchased in large lots. If another person decides to travel with the group after the initial purchase has been made, they will often pay more – especially if the ticket cost increases during this time. Sometimes the price goes down, and the traveler may benefit. Remember to purchase student group travel airline tickets together for the most cost savings.

Paper Tickets vs. Electronic Tickets

Most airlines generate E-tickets to travelers now. If a student travel group or individual is working with an airline that issues E-Tickets and they prefer paper tickets, the airline will usually add a surcharge of $20 for this. Student travel groups should always remember to bring a photo identification along with E-tickets for security.

Everyone is looking to conserve resources in these tough economic times. Just be conscious of the new surcharges, and learn to read all of the information provided by the airlines, even if you must go online to retrieve it. When in doubt, ask questions.

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Touring Chicago With Student Travel Groups

Chicago, Illinois is the third largest city in the United States. It is also a city that is culturally rich and diverse. With its varied architecture, multitude of museums, culinary delights, and its own style of music, Chicago is a smart and fun destination for students groups of all ages and interests.

The Shedd Aquarium
Science and nature students will have fun at the Shedd Aquarium as they explore the 90 unique habitats in the barrel-vaulted galleries of the Waters of the World exhibit. Hundreds of species of fishes, otters, lizards, frogs, turtles and other marine animals are housed in natural habitats that reveal their world above and below the waterline making it a great introduction and overview of life in the waters of the Earth.

The Shedd’s Wild Reef exhibit consists of 20 different habitats and features 500 species, including two dozen sharks, in the largest public display of live coral in the Midwest. The Wild Reef is a living illustration of the importance, diversity and frailty of reefs and is a great learning tool for students of biology, marine biology, and ecology.

The Shedd Aquarium’s other exhibits include Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Oceanarium, and a variety of changing exhibits. And to increase the level of fun and learning, the Shedd Aquarium offers a variety of “Ten Fun Finds” on their website, www.sheddaquarium.org.

See “Sue” at The Field Museum
The Field Museum of Natural History is a must-see stop for any educational travel group. This museum was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections that were assembled for the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and it is still one of the most prestigious natural history museums in the world.

Students visiting the Field Museum will be able to come face-to face with the largest most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil in the world, Sue. And if dinosaurs get your students excited, check out the Field’s Evolving Planet exhibit where visitors can journey through 4 billion years of life on Earth. This Exhibit is packed with unique fossils, large and small, animated videos, interactive displays, dioramas, and more dinosaurs than you can count.

Because the Field Museum offers so many different exhibits and learning opportunities, it is suggested that teachers check out the resources for them on the website, www.fieldmuseum.org, to help plan and organize their visit with a student group.

Hands-On at the Museum of Science and Industry
On the more human side of history, the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest science museums in the world. It houses more than 35,000 artifacts and close to 14 acres of hands-on exhibits that will spark a student travel group’s creativity and interest in scientific inquiry. ROTC and JROTC students will enjoy the chance to see the only German U-boat in the country and even go on board it. And after a day of walking, everyone can sit back and enjoy a scientific adventure in the Omnimax Theatre, a five-story wrap-around theatre.

Lincoln Park Zoo – A Living Oasis
The Lincoln Park Zoo, just north of Chicago, is a natural oasis for animal lovers. It is a green world of wildlife in the shadow of skyscrapers where lion’s roar and gorillas climb trees. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a living, breathing classroom, allowing students to learn about today’s natural world in juxtaposition to the world’s fossils they learned about at the Field Museum. The zoo is open 365 days of the year and is always free. The website, www.lpzoo.org offers animal fact sheets and planners for field trips and a perfect afternoon at the zoo with your students.

Entertainment for Student Travel Groups in Chicago

Student travel groups can round out their visit to Chicago with visits to the Navy Pier. This Midwest version of Coney Island, Water Tower Place, features an eight level atrium and over a hundred stores. Do not forget to put high rises on the student travel itinerary. Sears Tower Skydeck or the John Hancock Observatory both offer sweeping views of the Chicago skyline.

Students Travel Groups: Well Fed Chicago Style
When everyone gets hungry, there are marvelous restaurants across the city. For some authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza, you may want to dine at Gino’s East Pizza. And for great food and fun times, you may want to take your student group to the Hard Rock Café or the Rainforest Café.

Educational Travel…and All That Jazz
As you go from place to place, your students will marvel at the wealth of architecture, the soaring skyscrapers, and an enormous untitled sculpture by Picasso; budding musicians will delight to hear some real Chicago jazz; and everyone will enjoy the view of Lake Michigan and two great rivers. All in all a three or four day trip to the Windy City is rich in educational opportunities and experiences for any student group. Because Chicago is such a large city with many sights worth seeing, it’s best to start planning your trip with some research and the help of an educational travel professional.

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Educational Travel Consultants: Defining Excellence in Student Travel

There are many factors that go into making a student travel company a success. Perhaps one of the most important is the guiding principles behind the company must be in sync with educational objectives. Many of the professionals who work for Educational Travel Consultants have a background in education. They bring this outlook to their work in student travel, as well as a passion for working with student groups.

Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando and More
In our various markets, large and small (including Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando Florida, and more) we recruit and retain only the most qualified tour escorts. In fact, we work exclusively with members of the International Tour Management Group (ITMI) to make certain we only work with the best tour escorts available. This ensures the quality of educational and historical information on the student tour. Our tour guides are also very familiar with the cities they work within, which adds a great deal of insight to the tour. Some even choose to further their education and study by becoming licensed in the Washington D.C. or New York City tour market(s).

Educational Travel Consultants Provides Tour Escorts at All Times
Unlike other student travel companies, at ETC we believe student groups should be accompanied by professional tour escorts at all times. When groups are not in the midst of a tour led by a guide, they are overseen by a tour escort who can answer any questions they may have or resolve problems that may arise.

The Best Buy in Student Travel
For student travel groups and schools looking to economize on their travels, we believe we provide the best possible prices with the most quality. All taxes and tips are included in our final per person price. This means less out of pocket expenses while touring. For every 10 students, one chaperone or teacher may travel free of charge (double occupancy). This bonus is not offered by other student travel companies and helps schools to stay on budget.

3 Diamond Hotel Accommodations for Student Groups
Safety and security are our number one priority on student trips. Our hotel accommodations are always 3 diamond rated, which means there are interior corridors to ensure student safety. The security guards provided by ETC on student travel trips give adults peace of mind and everyone receives a good night’s sleep.

Keeping on Top of Trends in Student Travel

Finally, we research popular trends in student travel, and provide exciting dining and entertainment opportunities on tours. Our student groups eat at the Hard Rock Café, or old historic taverns where living history actors perform after supper. In New York City, student groups see popular Broadway shows like “High School Musical” and “Wicked” and in the Washington D.C. area, the Mystery Dinner Theaters are popular choices. We select memorable experiences so students and adults may relax and enjoy the educational experience, and cherish it for many years to come.

Educational Travel Consultants Ushers in Spring: Student Travel to Philadelphia and Boston

Student travel groups tour in the spring because the school year is winding down and it’s a pleasant time to be outdoors. A student travel trip at this time of year can help reinvigorate the learning experience, when students are distracted thinking about other things, such as their summer vacation plans or their newest girlfriend or boyfriend.

Increase in Interest for Travel to Boston and Philadelphia
This year, we are seeing an increase in interest in student travel to Philadelphia and Boston. This blog contains some detailed information about student travel to both destinations. Both Philadelphia and Boston were a hotbed of activity during the Revolutionary period, though each city offers its own unique experience of many different periods in history.

Philadelphia and Boston: Birthplace of Our Nation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Boston, Massachusetts were both part of the original 13 colonies and have a history that can be traced to early American settlement. This makes each destination an excellent choice for an overview of colonial history. Students learn about many different aspects of society during the colonial period, and they are able to take a closer look at some of the major historical figures of the period, too.

Add Destinations to a Washington D.C. Trip
For students visiting the Washington D.C. area, there’s an informative article on this blog that provides some ideas about day or overnight trips to nearby destinations. These include Philadelphia and Lancaster, Williamsburg, or Gettysburg. These add ons to the Washington D.C. student travel tour help provide a broader overview to several crucial periods in American history: the Colonial period, the RevolutionaryWar, and the Civil War. There are other periods in history that are highlighted at these student travel destinations, but these are the major historical periods that are covered in many social studies curriculums.

A Charter Bus Can Take Student Groups to Williamsburg, Philadelphia, and Gettysburg
The logistics of getting students to locations that lie about 2-3 hours outside of Washington D.C. are not so bad. Securing a charter bus to travel to Williamsburg for an all day tour and an overnight visit is an economical and comfortable way to travel. An Educational Travel Consultants representative can assist groups that are flying into the Washington D.C. area in planning an itinerary and booking a charter bus for excursions outside of Washington D.C.

Walking Tour of Historic Olde City Philadelphia
Student groups selecting the Philadelphia walking tour as an activity will want to plan ahead by wearing comfortable walking shoes and bringing along some water for the trip. The walking tour of Philadelphia is centered in Olde City and the surrounding area but city blocks are much longer than some may anticipate. Students should pack lightly, bring what they need, and come prepared to enjoy the day and learn about our nation’s beginnings.

If you are a teacher or chaperone planning a trip to the Washington D.C. area, consider the educational benefits of adding another location and more historical information to a student group trip.

Add On Day Trips for Student Travel to Washington D.C.

Student travel groups headed to the Washington D.C. area may want to consider adding on day or overnight trips to nearby areas relevant to colonial or revolutionary history. There are many rich educational experiences in the Washington D.C. area, and even more destinations just a 2-4 hour driving distance outside of Washington D.C.
In my experience as an educational travel consultant, groups benefit greatly from visiting additional cities. From an educational perspective, it gives students a much wider scope of the historic period they are studying. For many groups, a study of the Civil War is relevant to their tour, and a northern and southern perspective is needed for a complete overview of the Civil War period.
Suggestions for additional cities that can easily be added to a student travel trip to Washington D.C. are included here. If the student group flies into Washington D.C., a motor coach can be utilized to travel to additional destinations such as Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia and Lancaster.

Approximately three hours south of Washington D.C. is the town of Williamsburg Virginia. Williamsburg was the 18th Century colonial capital, and the place where the Governor resided. Colonial Williamsburg has been called the living history capital of the east, and for good reason. A student travel group can tour the town and watch history come alive as costumed interpreters tell stories derived from historical records, and give more detailed information about buildings and colonial lifestyles. Students embrace living history because it’s a fun way to learn. If student groups can stay in the Williamsburg area overnight, an additional trip to Historic Jamestown, site of the first permanent English settlement, and Yorktown National Battlefield, significant in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is plausible.

The Gettysburg National Military Park is located about two hours northwest of Washington D.C. and makes for a nice additional city to add on to a student travel tour.

The Educational Travel Consultants student tour of the Gettysburg battlefields includes a tour guide with expert knowledge of the Gettysburg area and the Civil War era. Student travel groups should be prepared to tour for two to three hours. A visit the National Park Visitor Center benefits student groups by giving them a better understanding of the Gettysburg National Battlefield history through exhibits and films.

Philadelphia and Lancaster
Student travel groups who explore the educational venues in Washington D.C. will expand their knowledge of history when they take a short trip to Philadelphia and/or Lancaster Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia walking tour is a great way for student travel groups to familiarize themselves with colonial history and the history of the U.S. government. A tour of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both composed. Students can also see the Liberty Bell, Visit Betsy Ross’s house and walk in Elfreth’s Alley, one of the oldest residential streets in Philadelphia, which dates back to 1702.
In nearby Lancaster Pennsylvania, students can experience the Amish way of life, tour a working farm, and dine at an authentic Amish restaurant.
With all of the additional choices for educational travel outside of Washington D.C., there are lots of creative ways to construct an interesting trip that will give a group a great overview of history and be fun and interesting at the same time.

Here’s a link to the article on ArticleSphere.com.