For many Zeal participants, this may be their first flight without family. We understand the emotional strain that this new experience can put on parents and youth alike, which is why we want to make the first and last days of every Zeal adventure as organized and clear as possible. With that in mind, we offer two possibilities for you to purchase flights.
Chaperoned Group Flights
The first and highly recommended option is to reserve a seat on our chaperoned group flight program. We make group reservations far in advance so you can simply request a seat on our chaperoned group flight. This option means you will drop off your teen at a specific location at our gateway airport, where their trip leaders will be waiting to meet them, and you. They will be supervised from then until the moment you greet them on their return day. Additionally, because they are part of our group reservation, delays and cancelations are easily and quickly reconciled by our head office. What’s more, this option is often less expensive than what you would pay for an individual seat because we reserve so far in advance. The only disadvantage of this option is that you’re unable to use a rewards program to buy the flights. If you’ve been saving up travel miles and wish to use them, direct flight purchases may be for you.
Direct Purchase Flights
You are welcome to purchase flights directly with airlines, rather than through our chaperoned group flight program. In this case, you’ll need to purchase flights within strict time constraints that match our chaperoned group flights. The advantage of this is that you can use reward points and airlines of your choice. The drawbacks of choosing to book separately are that we cannot guarantee your teen will be supervised on air travel days, and delays and cancelations may mean you would need to adjust your teen’s flights on the fly so the entire group can stick together. If you and your teen are comfortable with unsupervised flight, and you’re happy to make necessary adjustments due to delay or cancelation, this may be the best choice for you.
If you choose to directly purchase your flights, you may want to add unaccompanied minor service (UMS). UMS is a service provided by most airlines; you’ll need to check with your airline if they offer it. The airline will provide your teen with a chaperone that will be there to help along the entire trip, from check-in to drop-off at the destination. The airline will require information regarding the adult picking up, so you will need to notify Zeal Adventure & Travel in advance. We will provide you with details of our trip leaders (full name and ID information are generally required), otherwise the airline will not release the traveler.