Business and Personal Travel from Oxonian Travel Services
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Travel Services

Specialists in Business, Group and Personal Travel

Telephone 01235 772288 - Fax 01865 233798

Travel Notes for OTS Groups

  1. Every international passenger requires a valid passport issued by the government authority of their country of origin.
    It is assumed that passengers traveling with OTS are British nationals who hold a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland passport endorsed "British Citizen" and which allows for automatic right of abode in the United Kingdom even though this is not explicitly mentioned in the passport. Should your nationality or that of any member of your party or group be other than "British Citizen" it becomes absolutely essential we be made aware of this, preferably by OTS staff inspecting the passport itself… or a photocopy. Do not confuse the status of British Citizen with that of British Subject.
    Please note that special visa requirements may exist for those born abroad or for those of a parent born abroad or for those who are holders of UK passports issued to either British Dependent Territories Citizens, British National (Overseas) Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, British Subject Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or British Protected Persons. Return to Menu

  2. Passports are essential for British nationals traveling abroad who must hold and carry with them a standard United Kingdom passport valid for all countries to which (and via which) they seek to travel. Additionally, passports must, in many instances, be valid for at least SIX MONTHS after the planned date of return from destination. However, British Passport (EU) holders passport validity need only be up to and including the return travel date when traveling wholly within the European Union. If your group is traveling to or via the USA or may visit the USA from adjoining countries ….. please refer to the separate page of this website entitled Travel Information. Return to Menu

  3. Visas are required for visitors seeking entry to certain countries and application must therefore be made well before an intended travel date. Additionally, some countries issue special visas for those seeking to work there or for those whose activities involve lecture or performance fees and the like.
    Visa applications must be made on special consular forms and will invariably involve one or more passport size photographs being supplied. In the unlikely event that a transit visa is required a consul usually first needs to see the visa of the country of eventual destination. All forms of visa attract a fee (sometimes quite substantial!) payable by the applicant.
    The granting of a visa does not guarantee the holder permission to enter the country concerned. Permission to land is, in many cases, at the discretion of the immigration official at the port of entry. It’s as well, therefore, to be on ones best behaviour on arrival, despite all that goes with a long and tiring day culminating with a brusque welcome at immigration.
    The validity of a visa is usually indicated in the text of that visa. Expired visas will not be accepted and must be renewed before travel to the country concerned. It should also be remembered that visas are, in many cases, valid for one entry and/or transit only through the country involved.
    Multiple entry visas are usually available at additional cost. Entry visas are invariably required of passengers who intend to enter a country and subsequently to return direct to the original departure point. Transit visas are not acceptable for journeys of this nature.
    British passport application forms together with visa application forms are available from OTS ..... but please action such requirements months, rather than weeks, before the intended travel date. Return to Menu

  4. Advance Passenger Information (API)
    Most, if not all, governments now require airlines to collect Advance Passenger Information (API, also referred to as Travel Document Information, or TDI) for passengers prior to travel on routes to and from the UK.
    It is vitally important such information is accurate since this will avoid any delay at check-in or, indeed, when passing through immigration on arrival.
    Most countries seek only that information contained in the chip (biometric passports) or within the machine-readable zone (MRZ) which can be scanned or swiped at the airport check-in. For passengers whose passport is not MRZ issue the information required is keyed in manually at check-in by the airline or ground-handler.
    The chip and machine-readable zone (marked by chevrons >>>>>>) holds the passenger’s full name, date of birth, gender, nationality, passport number, country of issue and expiry date of the passport. The odd airline may seek more information than this, but you will be advised of their requirements in advance.
    How is the information provided to the airline in question?
    Two methods involved … namely:-
    (a) via an OTS Advance Passenger Information (API) form, or
    (b) by scanning or swiping individual passports at airport check-in.
    API for passengers traveling to the USA
    Special rules apply involving a requirement for additional information to that set out above. See our API page for full details. Return to Menu

  5. Health Regulations and Recommendations should not be confused ..... one with the other! Firstly, when traveling to, from or via Latin America, South America, Asia or Africa there will be a requirement for certain valid health certificates to be carried. Secondly, some journeys to from or via other countries throughout the world may well involve limited health risks for which vaccination or inoculation certificates are not sought by appropriate health authorities. Nevertheless, a need could still arise to seriously consider certain recommended precautions in order to safeguard your own health. See the separate pages of this website entitled Travel Information. Return to Menu

  6. You are asked to ensure.. that all members of the party or group liaise with their own doctor or practice nurse to determine
    (a) that the individual's general health will not prevent participation in the proposed travel plan, and
    (b) that vaccination(s) and/or inoculation(s) together with a programme of pills or potions as deemed necessary by the doctor or practice nurse are all arranged, as recommended, prior to departure.

    Oxonian Travel has access to a wide variety of travel manuals and information technology which clearly state the latest known health situations on a world wide basis. Do please take advantage of such a facility whilst bearing in mind that some countries may find it necessary to impose temporary vaccination requirement at short notice ..... but generally against a background of considerable media coverage. More information is available via the Travel Information pages of this website.

    Swine Flu Pandemic (H1N1) Update
    Medical screening for Swine Flu has been introduced by the authorities at some airports for passengers arriving on international flights. There may be a requirement to undergo certain tests if flu-like symptoms are apparent. Moreover, containment measures may be introduced or changed with little or no notice. Quarantine arrangements are in place in some countries for people traveling from affected areas of the world … but such situations are rare indeed whilst given such circumstances the nearest British Embassy/High Commission/Consulate will always be able to offer consular assistance and/or advice. Return to Menu

  7. Insurance, whatever the source, should be seen solely as a form of financial protection against unforeseen eventualities. It is NOT intended, for example, to cover compensation associated with losses due to..

    a)lack of foresight (eg leaving luggage on view in your parked car whilst having a meal) resulting in theft of your property
    b)carelessness (eg money and jewels in towel on beach when swimming!)
    c)traveling against medical advice or for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment abroad
    d)traveling when an existing illness of a close relative might necessitate your premature return home

    Additionally, any form of intended hazardous pursuit needs to be notified in advance and an appropriate premium paid, if cover is required ..... otherwise the whole policy is likely to be declared void. Activities generally associated with a premium adjustment OR for which FULL COVER cannot be achieved may include Abseiling, Archery, BMX Biking, Canoeing, Cricket, Football, Gliding, Hockey, Horse Riding, Hot Air Ballooning, Ice Hockey, Jet-Skiing, Judo, Karate, Lacrosse, Land Skiing, Parascending other than over water, Rugby, Sailing competitions, Scuba Diving, Shooting, Ski-doos, Skiing, Snow Boarding, White water Rafting and Winter Sports. Kindly note this is NOT a definitive list and queries regarding other pursuits should be addressed, please, to OTS or to your insurers.

    European Health Insurance Card
    If you are traveling in Europe on a leisure or business trip, make sure you've got a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It is free and will enable you to get state–provided healthcare that becomes necessary during your visit at reduced cost, or even sometimes for free. For more information on what it covers and in which countries it can be used visit the NHS page on Health for Travellers.

    If you already have an EHIC you should check that it is still valid before you travel. The quickest way to apply for or renew an EHIC is to apply online at the European Travellers Health Card Website. Alternatively, you can phone 0845 606 2030.

    You should still take out travel insurance. This is because the EHIC does not cover all healthcare costs. For example, it will not cover the cost of your journey back to the UK if you need to be sent home early or later and, unlike a travel insurance policy, does not cover your luggage and possessions, your travel money or offer protection in the event of cancellation.

    Insurance Upper Age Limit
    The more senior members of society (over 65 or, most probably, 70 years of age or over) who intend traveling abroad are recommended or are normally obliged to seek medical approval from their GP if they wish to enjoy full insurance cover. This simply takes the form of a visit to their GP (before entering in to any firm financial commitment to travel) seeking and recording informal approval that all is well to go ahead for the itinerary as planned.

    Traveling without Insurance Cover
    No one should be encouraged to travel without proper insurance
    . OTS is able to provide a disclaimer form for your use if any member of the party or group insists on traveling without insurance cover.

    Insurance Claims
    It is part of our after sales service to protect the interests of passengers by advising on claims procedures. Do make use of the OTS expertise...if you are unfortunate enough to have to submit a claim. Return to Menu

  8. Cancellations should be notified to OTS without delay ..... firstly by 'phone to be followed by confirmatory letter, e-mail or facsimile. Fees involved with cancellations vary considerably depending on when it occurs and the style of travel plan involved. However, charges invariably include total loss of deposit plus the insurance premium as a minimum commitment. Where so called “low cost” carriers are involved a ticket, once paid for, simply cannot be refunded. Other special discount fares may also be subject to a full cost fee if cancellation takes place less than 10 weeks prior to travel or after the ticket has been issued.

    Do please bear in mind that all these fees are imposed on OTS by our Principals and, in some instances, can be reduced to a name change charge only (usually between £25 and £75) where a replacement passenger is available. Return to Menu

  9. International Baggage Allowance and Security Measures
    Cruise passengers flying one way (to or from their cruise ship) are usually asked to conform to normal air travel baggage limitations.

    *Air travel is usually advertised from 15 kgs (33 lbs) to 23 kgs (51 lbs) in economy class or 3 bags each of 23 kgs (51 lbs) per person in first class. For some routes it is solely a question of how many pieces of luggage may be carried. Please refer to final travel documents issued by OTS for up to date information.

    *If you are traveling with a low cost airline your ticket as purchased in advance by OTS will allow for ONE piece of HOLD luggage only at a maximum weight of 15 kgs (33 lbs) or 20kgs (44 lbs). If you decide to carry two bags for storing in the HOLD the airline will charge extra at check-in for the second bag. In other words the airline is charging on a per bag basis even though the weight allowance may not have been exceeded.

    The following is a guide to the security requirements for all passengers departing from UK airports and also provides advice which should help passengers pass through the security search point as quickly as possible.

    Key points to remember:
    * Each passenger is restricted to carrying one item of cabin baggage through the airport search point. It should be a standard sized bag with maximum dimensions of 56cm (22”) x 45cm (17½”) x 25cm (9¾”) including wheels, pockets and handles. Some airlines (particularly low cost operators) may well restrict the size of carry on cabin baggage to 55cm (21½”) x 40cm (15¾”) x 20cm (7¾”).

    *Where possible and sensible, put all liquid items in your hold baggage. This includes water and other drinks (both of which are far from being recommended!!!), creams, sprays, pastes and gels.

    The details below will help you and it is strongly recommended you take some time to read each paragraph before setting off for the airport.

    Security Procedures - Passenger Requirements

    Some liquids are allowed through airport security check points. There are however, restrictions on the quantity of liquids that can be taken through:

    Passengers may carry small quantities of liquids, but only within separate containers each of which has a capacity not greater than 100ml.

    These containers must be brought to the airport contained in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag (about the size of a small freezer bag), which itself must not exceed 1 litre in capacity (approximately 20cm x 20cm or 8” x 8”). The contents of the plastic bag must fit comfortably when the bag is sealed. Each passenger may carry only one such bag of liquids.

    The bag must be presented separately for examination at the airport security point.

    Please note:
    *Any containers larger than 100ml (excluding essential medicines, see section below) will NOT be allowed through the security search point … even if they are only part full.
    * Most liquids of any amount may still be carried in hold baggage.
    * ONE lighter per person may be carried through central search. Lighters form part of the allowance of liquid in the litre bag and can either be placed inside the litre bag or screened separately provided they would not fit into the bag. It is very important that passengers do not place the lighter in their cabin bag after screening - it must be carried on the person for the duration of the flight. Lighters are NOT permitted in hold baggage.

    Remember that ‘Liquids’ includes:

    * All drinks, including water, soup, syrups
    * Creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara etc
    * Sprays and pressurized containers including shaving foam and spray deodorants
    * Pastes, including toothpastes
    * Gels, including hair and shower gel
    * Any other solutions and items of similar consistency

    Please note that liquids can usually be purchased beyond airport security search points, in the departures area and carried on as hand baggage … since these liquids have already been subjected to a separate screening process.

    Essential Medicines

    Essential medicines for the period of the trip may be permitted in larger quantities above the 100ml limit, but will be subject to authentication. Passengers must have obtained the prior agreement of the airline with which they are traveling and their departure airport. Passengers must also bring with them supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional.

    Essential Medical Equipment

    Passengers are permitted to carry through airport security medical equipment essential for use during the period of their trip. Where possible the equipment should be contained within the airline’s cabin baggage allowance and again should be accompanied by supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional.

    Baby Food

    Liquid baby food or sterilised water, sufficient for the journey, can be taken through airport security. The accompanying adult will be required to verify by tasting.

    Essential Liquid Dietary Foodstuffs

    Liquid dietary foodstuffs which are deemed essential can be taken through airport security and will be subject to taste verification by the passenger.

    Laptops/Electrical Items

    Laptops and other large electrical items (eg a large hairdryer) have to be removed from cabin baggage and screened separately.

    Outsize Items

    All items of luggage larger than the permitted cabin baggage size must be checked in to be placed in the aircraft hold. The only exception is musical instruments. These are allowed as a second item of cabin baggage if they do not fit into the cabin bag. They will however need to be screened and passengers should check with their airlines (via OTS) as to whether or not there are special arrangements (eg purchasing an extra seat) for these large instruments.

    Preparing for your Journey

    Passengers are asked to bear in mind the following advice to help make their passage through the airport as efficient and comfortable as possible:

    Before you arrive at the airport
    * Limit quantities of liquids to what you may need in the cabin for the duration of the flight.

    * When possible (and where sensible) … put all liquids in hold baggage. Remember do not place lighters in hold baggage - the one lighter permitted must be carried on the person for the duration of the flight.

    * Prepare the re-sealable bag of liquids before arriving at the airport.

    * Check any last minute queries you have with OTS, your airport or airline before traveling to the airport.

    * Please note that any gifts carried in the cabin bag should be unwrapped.
    As you approach the security search point

    * Be ready to hand over your re-sealable bag of liquids for screening as you approach the security search point. It will be screened at the same time as your cabin baggage.

    * All coats and jackets will have to be removed ready to be screened and metal items may need to be placed in plastic trays and screened separately.

    * If you are carrying a laptop or any other large electrical item within your cabin luggage then please have it ready for separate screening.

    * Please note that you may be asked to remove your footwear for security screening.

    * Full body screening is now taking place at major UK and US airports, albeit on a selective basis. It is emphasised that certain precautions exist such as images obtained by the scanners being immediately deleted. Moreover, they cannot be transferred, saved or printed!

    Duty Free/Departure Lounge Purchases

    * You may take on board liquid items of any size that are purchased after the security search point in the departure lounge (sometimes referred to as ‘Airside’), as these items would have undergone a separate screening process.

    * Most duty free or similar purchases will be given to you in a special sealed bag. Do not open this bag until you have reached the final destination. You should also retain your proof of purchase receipt throughout the journey. You will be required to show it at all transfer points.

    * Please note restrictions apply to duty free purchases made on return journeys where passengers change flights at an EU airport. These are explained in detail in the next section.

    Do bear in mind that these are the requirements set down by the Department for Transport. Airlines and Airports may have additional measures in place, and passengers with last minute queries are strongly advised to check with OTS or the website of their carrier or airport before traveling.

    Returning to the UK

    Traveling from an airport in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland:
    The arrangements outlined above apply. Please note restrictions on cabin baggage sizes may not be in effect in some EU member states, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. For further details please check with your carrier when at destination.

    Traveling from an Airport in any other country
    Local arrangements apply. Check with your carrier whilst at destination.

    Special information for transit/transfer passengers
    If your journey involves changing flights at any EU airport, special restrictions apply. You may only take liquid items (for example duty free) through the security search point at your connecting airport if:

    * they conform to the requirements for passengers departing from EU airports as set out above; or

    * they have been purchased airside at another EU airport, or on board an aircraft operated by an EU carrier. You will need to show proof of purchase to demonstrate this.

    Liquid items in excess of 100ml purchased from other airports or on board other airlines may only be carried as hold baggage on the connecting flight.

    The 28 member states of the European Union are:

    Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom. Return to Menu

  10. Security of Luggage
    Experienced travellers use colourful and middle of the range priced suitcases which enjoy some form of locking device. Two sets of keys are always carried and the owners home address is never displayed outside the suitcase ….. except during the homeward journey. Return to Menu

  11. Don't Be Late! - Most transportation terminals are busy throughout the year. Surrounding areas tend to be choked with traffic and this is a world-wide problem. Please, therefore, allow ample time to connect with services for which reservations are held. Return to Menu

  12. Special Requirements..
    of any description eg dietary needs such as vegetarian in-flight meals, gluten free diet etc. etc. or wheelchair assistance at air or seaports and so on should be notified to OTS not later than one month beforehand. An ideal occasion is when final passenger names are submitted or on settling the final balance payment. Return to Menu

  13. Complaints
    If events are not to your liking during the journey or at destination please ensure that those concerned are immediately aware of your views. This "on the spot" approach is one way of striving to achieve the standards you seek whilst also enjoying them at the time. To complain only after the event is generally a wasted exercise except as a follow up to earlier observations. Return to Menu

  14. Errors and Omissions
    Mistakes can be made and misunderstandings will arise. Please double check ALL documentation, pointing out to OTS that which seems incorrect or that which requires further clarification. Better to be sure of the facts from the outset. Return to Menu

  15. Final Timings and Costs..
    are subject to confirmation at the ticket issue stage and both are liable to change without notice. Return to Menu

  16. OTS Hours of Business..
    are 0930 to 1730 Weekdays (Monday to Friday inclusive) and by appointment from 0930 to 1600 Saturdays. Return to Menu

  17. Public Holidays
    All OTS offices are closed on New Year's Day, Easter weekend (Friday to Monday inclusive) May Day, Spring and August Bank Holiday weekends (Saturday to Monday inclusive) plus Christmas Eve through to, and including, New Year’s Day. Return to Menu

  18. Travel Tickets and Passengers Names
    If a passenger's name shown on his/her travel ticket differs from that same passenger's name shown within the passport then trouble abounds! The trick is to ensure that OTS receives the correct information at the outset ... and that means correct initials as well as a correct surname. For example...Bill Smith or Tilly Brown does not, even with the wildest imagination, correspond to William Smith or Matilda Brown. Similarly... foreign sounding names need to be checked for spelling, letter by letter rather than relying on a phonetic interpretation!

    Failure to conform to these simple and straight forward requests will always result in a need for the re-issuing of tickets which in itself is an extremely expensive exercise and well worth avoiding! Carrier charges differ from at least £35 for OTS re-issues to full payment on the spot for a new ticket if the error is discovered as late as at check-in with a low cost carrier. Moreover, in the latter case there's no refund either for the original ticket! Return to Menu

  19. Special Requirements and Anticipated Costings

    a) Recommended check in times for your flights at home and abroad is TWO OR THREE hours prior to the advertised take-off … but see also paragraph 11 of these Travel Notes.
    b) Where coach travel to and from airports is not organised by OTS it is as well to double check those schedules advised by the coach company. This will ensure your group is able to adhere to check-in times shown at (a) above.
    c) Our final invoice is estimated at this stage together with a date for payment of the final balance:
    d) Passports must be valid for at least 3 months after the planned return date. However, British Passport (EU) holders passport validity need only be up to and including the aforementioned return date. Return to Menu

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Oxonian Travel Services Ltd
First Floor, 28 Wallingford Street, Wantage, Oxfordshire OX12 8BH
Registered London, England in 1963 No.769461 - VAT 194.982.114

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