There's a reason we've never offered flights as part of our programmes..
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that you never know whats coming round that corner! This year has seen disruption to everybody's way of life - with the global pandemic impacting us all in ways we would have thought unimaginable. For us and our participants, the hit on global travel has been the big one, with people unable to take up their opportunities abroad, unable to go on that long awaited Summer Work and Travel USA or Summer Camp Programme - and unable to take up the internships in the US they had worked so hard to get. The good news is that things are getting better - and we're all hoping to get back to a more normal way of doing things very soon!
We've all seen the headlines about the impact on the travel industry, and the demise of some of the best known travel brands across the globe. Many people who had booked their flights as part of a package with these organisations have had huge difficulty in gettting refunds for their travel - as the funds had been paid to one organisation, who then paid them to another, who then paid them to another to get the flights. When things went bad, this made it very hard to get money back - and in some cases people have lost hundreds if not thousand of pounds when these companies and organisations were forced to close their doors for good. This didn't happen with all these organisations, but for those who experienced it, it made everything that much more difficult and stressful.
Long ago, we decided to stick to what we do best - offering great programmes to as many people as possible, at a fair price. We decided that other people were best placed to organise fights - and if things didn't work out, participants would be able to go straight to their flights provider for a refund instead of going round the houses trying to claw it back through mulitple channels.
For programmes to the US, the embassy actually advises against booking your travel in advance of getting your visa approved at your embassy interview, as until this has happened, you're not 100% sure you'll be going go the USA.
Our participants have always been able to book their flights independently of us with anyone they choose, from the airport that works for them - and in many cases using offers or vouchers that other family members have been able to utilise to get great deals.
So, for the foreseable future, we won't be changing the way we do things. We'll keep working on what we do best, and let you have the greatest flexibility on how you get to your destination!
Added 15th September 2020 Here's a good link to an article in the UK Guardian online
If you have any questions or want to get in touch with the team, just use the contact form on this page and one of us will get back to you ASAP.
The IST Plus International Team