The moment we’ve been looking forward to since March of 2020 is here: Travel is back! That means the entire travel industry is rebuilding and getting back into the rhythm of welcoming visitors again, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Opening the world is in our company DNA, after all.
As you get ready to see the world with confidence this summer and beyond, we know you may have questions about what the experience will be like. So we connected with David Evans, our Senior Vice President of Operations, to hear about today’s travel landscape, and the ways our global family of experts continues to be there to support you every step of the way. Read on for an inside look at everything from flights, to the peak travel season, to our industry-leading EF COVID Care Promise.
Dear Go Ahead community,
I’m writing to you from warm, sunny Zurich in Switzerland, where we are really feeling the summer vibes—both in terms of great weather, and in terms of the peak summer travel period being in full swing!
I’m lucky enough to head up Go Ahead’s Operations and Tour Director teams. We’re the ones who book everything that happens on your tours, and who look after you while you’re on the road. As many of you return to traveling after a long break, I thought I would share a bit more insight into what you should expect this summer travel season.
First of all, travel is finally back! After two extremely tough years for the entire travel industry, it feels so good to be able to say that.
Here at EF Go Ahead Tours, we are so lucky to be part of the bigger EF family, which ensured we remained strong through these pandemic years. So as you can imagine, the excitement of once again welcoming travelers is very real. If anything, the last two years have brought us together even more closely with many of our most trusted and important partners.
So, what’s it like to travel right now? While borders nearly everywhere are open and easy to cross, truthfully, the travel industry as a whole still needs to shake off a bit of rust.
Many hotels, restaurants, and bus companies were closed for long periods during the pandemic and lost a good amount of staff and drivers. They are very much on a hiring spree right now, but it will take a little while for them to fill all positions, for the new staff to be fully up and running, and for the machinery to work as smoothly as it did pre-pandemic. The same goes for our airline partners, who are all ramping up again, but are faced with staff and pilot shortages. (Keep reading for more info about booking flights with us!)
On top of this, COVID-19 isolation rules can affect restaurant staff, airline crews, drivers, and sometimes, our travelers. For us here on the Operations Team, this can mean a lot more last-minute scrambling, but I couldn’t be more proud of the job that our team is doing to make sure your experience remains as smooth as possible.
We’re learning, hiring more people, and improving our response every week.
We’re a big community, but we consider every single Go Ahead traveler our priority. Another huge priority for us is supporting travelers with our exclusive EF COVID Care Promise, which means all your flight, hotel, and meal costs are taken care of should you get delayed with COVID-19 on tour. It’s great to hear that this promise has helped put a lot of traveler’s minds at ease.
Really, I’ve got to give a lot of kudos to you, our travelers.
Those of you who’ve traveled with us already have shown a huge amount of understanding and empathy for this situation—even when the restaurant service has been slower than normal, or you’ve had to wait for a flight or bus a little longer than you would normally expect to. Reading the positive comments from our travelers makes all the difference. This is why I love working with Go Ahead—it really feels like a community, through and through.
Someone asked me the other day, “Should we wait to travel until everything is back to normal?” My answer was resounding: Please don’t!
All of us here at Go Ahead—and within the whole travel industry—couldn’t be happier that you’re back. You will be met by people with big smiles on their faces, who are extremely grateful that you’re there. Yes, there may be moments when we will need to ask you for a little extra patience and understanding, but if we can all do that, then I assure you that the world out there is as beautiful and worth visiting as ever. Welcome back—we’ve missed you.
—David & the EF Go Ahead Tours Team
What to know about booking flights with us
Wondering what it’s like to take to the skies with us right now? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to see the world again.
- The airline industry has gone through a lot of change, including reducing the number of flights and flight routes. In many cases, specific itineraries might not be available, as there is both limited capacity and limited inventory. Rest assured that EF has a worldwide presence, longstanding relationships with our global partners, and over 55 years of experience, and we are working closely with our airline partners to secure the best possible flights for your tour.
- All special flight requests can be submitted as early as 10 months before your tour, but need to be submitted prior to your Tour Finalization Date. These may include arrangements to arrive before tour or continue traveling post tour, to meet up with other travel companions, to fly with specific airlines or on certain routes, and to upgrade. We will always do our best to accommodate all flight preferences, but please keep in mind that there are times when we may not be able to guarantee every request due to limited flight routes. So, the earlier you’re able to plan for any special arrangements, the better.
- Flight itineraries are available approximately 45 days before departure, and you can find them in your online account and the EF Go Ahead Tours mobile app. Please note that seating is at the discretion of the airline, and while seat requests are not always available in advance, they can be submitted within 30 days prior to departure.
- From your online account, to the EF Go Ahead Tours mobile app, to our pre-departure webinars, you can find all the info you need to know before you go. Our goal is to make seeing the world an easy, fun experience. As always, thank you for choosing EF Go Ahead Tours as your travel partner. We can’t wait to hear your stories and see pictures from the road. (Don’t forget to share them on Facebook or Instagram with #goaheadtours to inspire others to GO!)