Rustic Pathways Group Tickets
All students normally travel on Rustic Pathways group tickets. Unless you specify on your application that you intend to make your own airfare arrangements, the cost for your airfare will be billed to you and Rustic Pathways will issue your airline ticket.
When we issue your group ticket, we are able to track your child’s flight, access their airline records, change their flights in the case of an emergency, and arrange re-routing or assistance should this be necessary. Your student will be escorted by a Rustic Pathways flight leader from our gateway city to their destination city, and back to the United States on our group flight at the conclusion of their program.
Arranging Your Own Airfare
By purchasing your own airline ticket for your daughter or son, you take away the ability of Rustic Pathways to manage and coordinate your child’s travel, to access their flight records, to make changes in case of flight delays, to re-book tickets in the case of medical or other emergencies, and to assist with lost luggage claims.
We understand that some parents prefer to use frequent flyer miles or buy discounted tickets for their child’s travel to Costa Rica. We are allowing this where parents feel this is necessary for their child to participate in a program, but students must still be booked on the same flight as our group flight. Students may not arrive into San Jose, Costa Rica on any other flight than the ones specified.
Students under the age of 14 may not arrange their own airfare arrangements due to difficulties and complications that arise from airlines’ Unaccompanied Minor policies.
Parents who arrange their own airline tickets must ensure that their student arrives at the appropriate Rustic Pathways gateway city airport. We suggest you allow plenty of time (we recommend four hours) for them to connect to their international flight. Please remember that if you issue the airline tickets yourself and your child misses their international flight we are not able to access their record or help to make changes.
If you wish to make your own airfare arrangements, please advise Rustic Pathways in writing on your application. On the application, you will find places to indicate your departure and return airports. Please enter “Do it Yourself” or “DIY” into both of these fields.
Rustic Pathways Arranges All Airfare for Students 14 or Younger
Families may NOT arrange their own airfare for students under the age of 14. Doing so prevents Rustic Pathways from servicing these students according to our quality standards. If the minor student travels on the group ticket booked by Rustic Pathways, the Flight Leader serves as the chaperone for all students under age 14 and families do not have to pay any Unaccompanied Minor fees for the international flight segments.
If travel is arranged by the family the airlines’ Unaccompanied Minor policies require that families pay at least $150 per segment to have airline personnel escort their student. Also, should an issue arise with a flight delay or cancellation, Rustic Pathways airport staff will not be able to rebook any flights booked outside of the group ticket because we are not the booking agent. Finally, the airline policies surrounding Unaccompanied Minors dictate when a student will go to the gate, board the plane, transfer through immigration, etc. and prevents the student from experiencing these processes with the rest of the students in the group. Ultimately, the airline policies surrounding UMs on international flights ruin the student experience and cripple our staff from assisting students as we would like. Please request Rustic Pathways airfare for all students under age 14.
Travel Coordination Fee
Should you choose to make your own airfare arrangements to Costa Rica, you will be charged a $150 Travel Coordination Fee on your first invoice. Please make sure that you’ve been in touch with your personal travel advisor or one of our staff members to confirm flights and times before you finalize any travel bookings.