When to book: The simple answer is – as soon as possible. Leaving it late in the hope of getting a ‘bargain’ is risky at best. True, in the low season the airlines might have some special offers – usually a limited number of seats, on specific flights, with tight restrictions on length of stay, full payment at the time of booking etc. These special offers are advised to us sometimes only two or three weeks ahead and have a limited ‘shelf life’. They are fine if you are flexible with your dates and can adjust to the various rules and regulations. However, if like many travellers, your dates are important, school or work holidays have to be considered and if you want the peace of mind of knowing that your flights are booked for the dates you want, then it is best to book as early as possible. The airlines load their flight availability into the worldwide computer reservations systems (CRS) approximately 11 months in advance, so if you are after those key dates just before Christmas for example, the earliest you could book would be January. Most dates around the school holidays sell out within a few days of them appearing on the CRS, this is also true for the dates immediately before the peak seasons commence eg 01 July when the airlines often increase the fares by £100 from one season to another.
Name changes: The airlines do not permit name changes to tickets. Once a name is entered into the reservation at the time of booking, it cannot be changed. It is essential that the correct names, spellings and status of each passenger be provided to us when you are making the reservation. This is to ensure that you are not delayed or denied boarding when checking in. THE NAMES MUST MATCH THE NAME IN THE PASSPORT. It is not possible to cancel a passenger and substitute another passenger. The ages of children at the date of travel from the UK must be advised correctly. Children are normally defined as 2-11 years inclusive. Children under the age of 2 are classed as infants. If an infant has its second birthday during the holiday then it may travel outbound as an infant and return as a child and pay the infant fare on the outbound journey and child fare on the return. Similarly, a child having its twelfth birthday during the holiday may pay the child fare outbound and adult fare on the return. Please ensure you highlight this to our reservations department when booking your flights.
Seat assignments: Most airlines allow a number of seats on each aircraft to be preassigned through the airline’s website and there may be a charge for doing this. Often this is a limited number of seats and once they are assigned the remainder is held for online or airport check in 24 hours prior to the flight. Emergency exit seats are sometimes assignable, but most airlines charge extra. Please advise your Just America consultant if you have any seating preference and we will do all we can to assign seats for you. It is the responsibility of the airline to fulfill the seat requests and Just America cannot be held responsible in the event that assigned seats are not provided by the airline.
Assistance at the airports: If you require assistance at the airports please advise your Just America travel consultant at the time of booking. Most airlines will provide assistance free of charge.
Meal requests: A vast choice of special meals is available at no additional cost – vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, low sodium, child meals etc., please advise Just America at the time of booking your flights.
Smoking policy: All airlines now impose a strict no-smoking policy on all flights. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas of the airport terminals.
Baggage allowance: Most transatlantic airlines allow one piece of baggage per adult/child and one piece of carry on or hand luggage. Many transatlantic airlines are restricting the weight and size of each piece of luggage to 50lbs per piece (max. 2 pieces per adult/child) and maximum total dimensions of 62 inches (157cm) each. U.S. and Canadian domestic airlines limit the maximum weight of each piece of luggage to 50lbs. Many domestic US and Canadian airlines charge for luggage – usually $15 for the first piece and $25 for each additional suitcase. Baggage allowances are usually more generous for business and first class passengers – check the airline’s website for full details. Infants do not have a baggage allowance. Remember that if you are renting a car, travelling on a coach tour, or travelling with an operator that restricts luggage you may have to limit yourself to one suitcase per adult/child. The airlines prohibit a wide range of items from being carried on board; these include firearms, knives, any sharp implements (scissors, pen knives etc.,) sprays, liquids, golf clubs etc. Please check with Just America, or the airline concerned if you have any questions.
Frequent flier membership: Most airlines have their frequent flier award programmes and we will be happy to enter your membership number into your reservation. Please note however that some airlines do not allow mileage to accrue on the special contract fares we sell. The airlines sometimes change their policy and Just America cannot be held responsible for mileage accrual.
Airport parking, hotels and lounges: Some great deals at UK airport hotels, car parking and executive lounges are available through our link with Holiday Extras. If you go to the ‘Vital Information’ menu and click on ‘Pre-departure Information’, you will be linked into the on-line reservation site of Holiday Extras. The site is easy to navigate and it is simple to book UK airport hotels, lounges, car parking, foreign exchange, UK rail tickets and much more. You get instant confirmation and you can print off your documentation straight away.
Check in: Currently the airlines are requesting that you check in two to three hours prior to departure for transatlantic flights and at least one hour prior to departure for domestic flights in the UK and North America. Your final itinerary provided by Just America with your documents will indicate the check in times for your journey. Late check in may result in you being denied boarding. We encourage passengers to use the online check-in facilities recently introduced by several airlines. Airlines allow transatlantic passengers to check-in 24-hours before their flight.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). All Visa Waiver Passengers will be required to complete an on-line application in English at www.esta.cbp.dhs.gov Travellers are encouraged to apply early and airlines have threatened to cancel any reservations where the ESTA has not been completed at least 72 hours prior to the first flight to the United States. This web-based system will prompt you to answer basic biographical and eligibility questions. Applications can be submitted at any time prior to travel, but applications must be received no less than 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases you will receive a response within seconds and you will be advised if travel has been authorised, or not – please record or print the authorisation number – you will need it should you travel again to the USA within the 2 year authorisation period. If you are not given an authorisation under the ESTA system you will be required to apply for a visa. There is currently a $14 (approx £8) per person charge for ESTA applications. The U.S. Authorities have made changes to their entry requirements which will affect any dual nationality customer who has a passport issued by a country which is eligible under the U.S. visa Waiver Programme AND a passport issued by Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. These customers with dual nationality will no longer be able to enter the U.S. using an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Programme. In addition any customer who has an ESTA and that has visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since March 1, 2011 should also expect not to be able to use the Visa Waiver Programme. These customers will require a U.S. visa for future travel to the United States, and should contact their local US Embassy.
Should you have any questions regarding passports, visas and visa-free travel to the USA you should contact the United States Visa Unit on 09068 200292. Calls cost 60 pence per minute. Or access the US Embassy website at: www.usembassy.org.uk
Advance Passenger Information: Passengers travelling to the USA and Canada are required to provide additional information to the airline for transmittal to the Canadian Immigration Authorities and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Passengers have to provide – their passport number, expiry date, country of issue, country of residence, permanent address, final destination and origin airports, an address for their stay in the US/Canada. This information MUST be provided to the airline as soon as possible after booking the flights and can be entered using the airline’s website. Failure to provide this information may result in your flights being cancelled.
Reconfirmation of the return and onward flights: You are required to call the airline approximately 72 hours prior to each onward or return flight to reconfirm your intention to travel, check the check in and flight times. Failure to reconfirm could mean that you arrive at the airport to find that your flight was rescheduled and you have missed your flight, or the airline may assume that do not intend to travel and may cancel your flight. It is not necessary to reconfirm the first flight from the UK, but all onward and return flights should be reconfirmed. Just America will provide a toll free telephone number which you can use within North America to call your airline and reconfirm the flights.
E-tickets: E-tickets (electronic tickets) are now in use worldwide. The old paper tickets with their bewildering codes and coupons ceased to be legal after June 2008. We are now issuing an itinerary which shows the flight times, numbers, terminals etc., the e-ticket number/s and the airline’s record locator. You can check in online with the airline 24 hours prior to your flight – just enter your airline booking reference/locator in the Manage My Booking area of the airline’s site, and you can print your boarding passes. Alternatively, you can check in at the airport and all the airline requires is the record locator and they can retrieve the reservation from the computer and issue your boarding pass/ticket. The main advantage to the passenger is that you don’t have to worry about losing your tickets. Concerns about tickets being lost in the post, chewed by the family pet, stolen, mislaid etc., are eliminated! E-tickets are cheaper for the airlines and in theory help to keep airfares low.
Document despatch: Provided full payment and the Customer Declaration have been received, Just America will despatch tickets approximately 14 days prior to departure, provided we have received your completed Customer Declaration. It is essential that we be informed of any change of address, or requirement for early despatch as soon as possible.
Passports and Visas: It is the responsibility of the passenger to ensure that their passport is valid for at least 6 months after their return departure from North America and that they qualify to travel without a visa. If a visa is required ample time should be allowed for the process and flights should not be booked until a visa has been issued. Please see our ‘Passports and Immigration’ section for details of who may enter the USA without a visa. If you are in any doubt as to your visa status please contact the applicable embassy without delay.