Whether you’re a seasoned international traveler or embarking on your first flight, these procedures will help ensure the smoothest possible flying experiences for you and your group.
Airline Tickets | Timing | Checking In | Transferring Overseas | Supervision During Flights | In-Flight Services | Luggage Problems | Delays or Cancellations | Missed Flights | Lost Passports | Success Tips
We strongly recommend that you make at least three photocopies, preferably color, of your group’s e-ticket information as soon as you receive it, along with your participants’ passports. Keep the group’s e-ticket numbers and flight details in a safe place and bring the photocopies with you on tour. Should an unlikely issue with one of your e-tickets arise, you will need a record of the ticket number and other pieces of information found on the photocopies.
We will send e-tickets directly to travelers who are departing from a different gateway than you are. Note that e-tickets are not included for travelers who have made their own flight arrangements.
Allow Plenty of Time
As ACIS offers a large number of regional departures, some groups must change planes either in the U.S. or overseas, especially during the peak spring and summer seasons. Timing, therefore, is crucial.
Check online with your airline 72 hours ahead of time to reconfirm your flight numbers and times, and check in at least three hours prior to an international flight and two hours prior to a domestic flight.
Discuss your connection times with your ACIS Program Manager upon receipt of your flight itinerary and keep your group moving between connections.
Remember to pack lightly! One medium-size suitcase and a personal item is the maximum that participants should pack. We recommend bringing carry-on luggage only. More packing suggestions can be found here.
If you are checking luggage, try to check it through to your final destination. Ensure that luggage tags are visible on all pieces of luggage.
To verify the bags have been checked to your final destination, check the baggage tag for the correct airport. If the bags are not able to be checked through, you will need to claim them and re-check them at the next airport.
We recommend that you keep the luggage claim checks for your group members.
Some airlines also require a label with the address of the first hotel. Different airlines and other forms of transportation have different luggage restrictions, so check with your specific carrier or ACIS Program Consultant.
Visas and Passports
Passports are required for all international ACIS trips traveling abroad except those to Canada, where a passport is only required if you are flying into the country or if you are aged 19 or over. Travelers are responsible for obtaining their own passports, so please don’t delay! Visit your post office or a local office of the federal government for an application form.
Note that some countries require that passports be valid for six months after you return to the United States. Please be sure that yours is up-to-date. For more information about obtaining a passport and processing times, visit www.travel.state.gov.
Visas may be required, particularly for non-U.S. citizens, for countries through which your group connects via plane, bus, boat or train. Once you’ve received your full itinerary, contact the embassy or consulate of every country you will travel through to learn if transit visas are required.
Travelers are responsible for their own documentation unless otherwise noted by your program consultant.
During peak travel periods, airlines sometimes overbook their flights and ask for volunteers who might be willing to give up their seat in exchange for a later flight and some form of compensation. Under no circumstances should you volunteer any of your seats. If you do, you will be responsible for participants catching up with the tour.
Seating and Flight Time Requests
Seating. Although ACIS always requests that the airlines seat each group together, this is not always possible. ACIS is not able to accommodate pre-departure seat requests from individuals.
Flight time requests. ACIS cannot guarantee specific flight time requests. Most non-stop flights to Europe depart in the early evening, although some west coast departures may be in the mid-afternoon. Flights to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico and China usually depart in the morning.
If you are changing planes overseas, do not go through customs. Instead, go to the transit passengers’ desk, or ask the airline personnel for help. ACIS staff members are not allowed through customs and therefore will not be there to assist you.
If your onward flight is delayed or canceled, immediately call the ACIS Emergency Number.
Supervision During Flights
Minors must be accompanied on flights by an adult, except in special circumstances—when a minor is departing from a different city, for example.
Domestic flights may provide a snack, and meals are sometimes available for purchase depending on the airline.
International flights normally serve dinner and breakfast before landing the next morning. Soft drinks are served at intervals. An optional entertainment package, which may include movies, audio entertainment and headphones, is typically available on international flights. Occasionally travelers will need to download an app to their personal device to access entertainment. Check with your flight online.
It is imperative that you report lost or delayed luggage to the airline inside the customs arrival hall so that you can be issued special tracking numbers. The report should be filed with the airline who brought you to your final destination. In most cases, lost luggage turns up in a day or two. Lost, stolen or delayed luggage is covered under the Ultimate-Plus and Ultimate Protection Plans.
- If luggage is delayed and there is a wait before going through customs, send an assistant or adult through customs to inform the tour manager of this delay.
- If luggage has been lost or delayed while not in the custody of an airline, inform ACIS or your tour manager, who will assist you in contacting local police. You must fill out a police report detailing all items missing. Participants with Ultimate-Plus or Ultimate Protection may file a claim with the insurance company upon returning home.
Delays or Cancellations
If your outbound flight is cancelled or delayed for more than an hour, call ACIS at (800) 888-2247 during U.S. business hours and (617) 450-5678 (collect) after U.S. business hours. Make sure to keep your group together in case another connection or flight is arranged.
If your flight is delayed, be sure to coordinate with airline staff to get your flight rebooked. Typically, only airport staff has the ability to amend reservations so close to the flight departure time.
Do not leave the airport until you have been rebooked on the next available flight.
Once you have been rebooked, please contact ACIS so we can rebook your transfer and notify your tour manager about your new arrival time.
If your return flight is delayed and causes you to miss your connecting flight home, ask the international airline to rebook your connecting flight. You will normally be rebooked on the next available flight.
Please advise ACIS at (617) 450-5678 if you need us to activate your Emergency Contact List.
If the cause of the delay or cancellation is due to mechanical reasons, a strike or a problem with the flight crew and you must stay overnight en route, the airline should pay for your hotel and meal(s).
If the cause of the delay or cancellation is due to weather, contact ACIS and we will help secure accommodations, the expenses of which are covered under certain conditions of the Basic Protection Plan.
If your group misses its flight, work with the airline to rebook your group and inform ACIS of the situation. You are the best advocate for your group to be rebooked, since airport agents will work directly with you.
- Do not leave the airport until you have been rebooked with confirmed seats (if possible) on the next available flight.
- Once you have been rebooked, please call ACIS with your new flight details so that we can alert your tour manager and rearrange your transfer.
If a participant loses his or her passport, inform your tour manager. If you are not with your tour manager, contact the local U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are unable to do either of these things, contact Team Assist.
ACIS Travel App
The ACIS Travel App allows you and your participants to easily access flight times, connections and reservation numbers.Learn More