Preparation is in the Planning : Part 2
“Smooth Hassle-Free Group Travel”– Travelling Internationally
To continue with our journey – many a tour leader will tell you of the unexpected moments which can hamper group travel. In your mind, walk through your plans for the day ahead, reconfirm all arrangements with your DMC and be organised !
Departing from a hotel
Before you leave any hotel, make sure your first announcement on the coach is for all to check that their travel documents and passports have not been left in the room safe. This simple request has saved many a traveller and tour leader from further travel complications and unnecessary stress.
Drop off Zones at International Airports
These areas are usually very busy and the coaches cannot wait long.
Remember, before you leave your hotel ensure that each traveller is on the same bus as their luggage. If they are not, it can cause untold inconvenience to DMC staff and other travellers at drop-off.
To prevent this happening we recommend the A,B, C sticker system.
Label each coach A, B or C. Then as travellers report to you following check-out at the hotel, give them a sticker for themselves and for their luggage indicating which coach they need to travel on. A simple solution – one which tends to be obeyed and one which we know works !
International Connecting Flights
The airline will usually stipulate the minimum connecting time required for onwards flights.
However, be cognisant of heavy traffic, busy airports, long queues at check-in counters, slow security channels and always allow extra time for group travel.
Group travel requires time for unplanned and unexpected happenings, and many a tour leader has vindicated the need for early departures from hotels at the wrath of the delegates !
It can take one traffic queue, one traveller, one passport left at the hotel, one missing bag, one incorrect ticket, one overweight bag to delay a whole group – rather arrive early, have a stress free check-in procedure and ample time to proceed through to the appropriate gate.
Listen to your sixth sense – if your gut feel says you should have more time, then you probably should – revise accordingly !
Business Class Check-In
Some international airports have separate Business Class check-in areas – remember to make enquiries in this regard should you have Business Class Travellers ! You do not want to be caught unawares – however, your Destination Management Company (DMC) will assist in this regard and will assign a staff member to these passengers.
Security abroad is extremely strict. As in South Africa, laptop computers will need to be removed from their bags to go through the x-ray machines separately.
In addition, you will be asked to remove any metal or coins from your pockets plus travellers may be asked to remove belts and shoes.
In Europe and the USA security teams take no nonsense, thorough procedures are in place and travellers will be required to place cell phones and iPads into separate trays for x-ray purposes as well. Should you fail to do this, you may be required to undergo further security inspection checks.
In addition, LAG bags are adhered to and all small liquid items should be placed in the appropriate size plastic bag and taken out of your hand luggage to go through the x-ray machines.
LAG stands for Liquids, Aerosols and Gels. Following the 10 August 2006 terrorist plot in the UK, airports have brought in strict new security rules regarding the carrying of liquids/gels/pastes in hand luggage.
Whilst new rules for duty-free liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) may become effective for European Union flights on 31st January 2014 allowing passenger to board with their duty free liquids purchased at airports, strict rules still apply.
Essentially if you can POUR it, PUMP it, SQUEEZE it, SPREAD it, SMEAR it, SPRAY it or SPILL it, it is considered a LAG.
The current standard is that passengers will not be allowed to get onto a plane with more than 100ml of any single liquid or gel, which must be presented at security in a sealable transparent bag. That final security check may be after check-in, or may not be until you reach the gate … but it will happen ! Take heed – anything above 100ml will be confiscated.
Take heed with American flights – you will be checked again at the boarding gate and any liquids over the 100ml limit or not in a zip lock bag including any size perfume will be taken away from you.
(Refer www.taxfreetravel.com for further information)
The USA : Luggage and luggage lock requirements
Air travellers to and within the United States must comply with luggage regulations as set down by the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. To protect the safety of travellers, airline staff and airport personnel, TSA enforces rules about the size, weight and contents of carry-on and checked baggage. TSA officers may inspect the contents of baggage at their discretion and will cut off a luggage lock if necessary to do so. Using a TSA-accepted luggage lock, which officers can open with a master key, will help to keep your lock intact and baggage secure.
When shopping for a TSA-accepted lock, look for the Travel Sentry or Safe Skies logo on the packaging. The Travel Sentry logo is a red diamond, and the Safe Skies mark is a red torch.
For further information visit : http://traveltips.usatoday.com
Source : Event Stuff South Africa, GCD Consulting and the Network Club
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