King George Island is located at the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is one of the most remote places on earth; therefore, it is hard to reach. This unique and fascinating destination presents special challenges; it is difficult to find modern life comforts and the weather is highly unpredictable. The Antarctica Full Day is a safe program, developed by high level professional with over 20 years of experience in the Antarctica. However, in King George Island there is no hospitals or emergency units, therefore, VAE requires passengers to have appropriate insurance that includes medical evacuation.
To land safely, a clear sky with perfect visibility is required, that is why in many cases trips need to be postponed while waiting for adequate weather conditions or an improvement in the condition of the landing strip.
That is why having a tight schedule to do your Antarctic program it is not advisable: possible delays of several days must be considered. VAE strongly suggests that when scheduling, you consider a window of several days to gain some flexibility. Also an open air ticket for your trip back home would be a good idea to provide rescheduling flexibility.
Flying into Antarctica takes two and a half hours. First, crossing the Darwin Mountain Range, then the mythical Cape Horn, the Drake Passage, and finally arriving at King George Island in the Antarctic Peninsula. Information on weather conditions is checked via Satellite, at all times, before departure and during the flight.
Safety is essential to all operations and this is the first and most important consideration for the technical team when deciding upon the realization of any and all activities of the program. The company understands how disappointing it is for travelers to be forced to abandon their trip, that is why VAE strongly advices that all passengers carefully read these terms and conditions and purchase a trip cancellation and interruption insurance as protection against an emergency which may force them to cancel or leave the program while it is in progress.
VAE operations and services are highly dependant on weather conditions, so changes to the itinerary may occur, which are not under the responsibility of VAE. Such reschedules do not imply unillateral cancellation or modification of services by VAE.
Travelers are advised to schedule a 3 days window when planning their Antarctic visit, to make the tour, in case of bad weather conditions that might postpone the program. Not considering the arrival day of passenger. If the client cannot or does not want to wait for those 3 days and has or wants to leave before the trip may be carried out, VAE will not be responsible for such situation, denying any kind of refund to the passenger.
VAE reserves the right to cancel the program for any reason whatsoever, including few participants or logistical problems caused by any circumstances beyond VAE`s control. In the event of cancellation by VAE, the money will be refunded.
VAE is not responsible for any expenses incurred by the client or client’s booking agents in the process of preparing for the trip or as a result of its cancellation, including airline tickets, accommodations, special clothing, food, visa, passport fees or other related expenses.
If for any reason the flight does not take place on the appointed day, it will be resumed as soon as possible until the time established by the contract has expired. In such case, VAE offers alternative programs free of charge for the passenger. The programs include visits to nearby locations of interest. As an example, and not in a restricted, binding or discriminatory way, the following visits will be offered:
Passengers will not be compelled to participate in these programs but, in case the opportunity to fly to Antarctica is made available, VAE will not be responsible if it is not possible to locate passengers that are not participating in these alternative activities. For this, it is the exclusive responsibility of the passenger to stay in touch with the host.
VAE will neither be responsible if after locating the passengers, these are out of the possibility to reach the flight in time or if they fail to reach the flight for any reason.
VAE will consider these situations a cancellation on behalf of the client, in which case no refund applies.
VAE’s Antarctic programs include 4 nights of hotel, as well as half a day’s meals, with the exception of the specific program’s duration in which all meals are included. In no case will VAE refund for hotel nights that are not used, nor will it offer discounts or refunds for hotel nights hired by the passenger independently be it directly or through an agency.
The briefing is a small instructional reunion about the visit to Antarctica. Attendance is COMPULSORY for all passengers of the flight. This is a norm demanded by IAATO for all its members. NO passenger may visit Antarctica without having received the induction implied in this reunion.
The briefing will take place around 17hrs of the day before the date selected for the flight, for which it is very important passengers arrive in Punta Arenas before that time. The exact time and place for the briefing will be promptly informed by your host in Punta Arenas.
VAE may loan jackets and boots to passengers. To be able to have these items in stock, it is essential that passengers indicate their shoe and jacket size at the moment of registering for the program. The used items must be returned at the end of the journey. VAE will not be responsible of not having these items available if the passengers have not informed of their size or special requirements beforehand.
In general, the Antarctic visit is not recommended for children under 12 years old. Most of the visit is done by foot. The elderly, or those with reduced mobility are not impeded to make this visit, however, it is important their condition is informed to VAE at the moment of registering so the necessary logistics are in place. VAE will not be responsible of having vehicles or special support for their passengers, if they have not informed of these requirements beforehand, and it reserves the right to evaluate if the visit is possible or not.
If for any reason the visit has been postponed for over three complete days, including the original date of the flight, in such a way that it’s impossible to carry out the visit inside the timeframe of the contract, and if the following conditions are fulfilled:
Then, the parties may agree to keep waiting beyond the original dates established in their contract. This requires the availability of an aircraft and that all passengers agree on waiting, or, that those who wish to wait further are willing to pay for the ticket of those travelers who decided not to fly beyond the dates established in the contract.
In the case of a client’s cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
On board a VAE flight, everybody is required to respect the authority of the captain and comply with his instructions. During field trips, guides have the same authority.
VAE’s guides and aircraft pilots are the leaders during the programs. Your signature implies your acceptance of the leader’s authority to make decisions affecting the group or individuals. The leader may require an individual to leave the group if he/she believes the person’s health is at risk, if an illegal act is committed, or their behavior becomes detrimental to the safety, enjoyment or well-being of the group.
Please be aware that there are known and unknown hazards involved in Antarctic trips, which you accept voluntarily and at your own risk. VAE will not be held responsible for any illness, injury or death sustained during the program. That is why VAE strongly encourages you to check with your insurance agent to make sure you are adequately covered for all contingencies, including medical evacuation.
This agreement and any dispute here under shall be governed in accordance with the laws of Chile. For all legal effects, both parties fix their residence in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Upon deposit of a part or full payment of any of VAE’s programs, the undersigned confirms that he/she has read and understood these terms and conditions which he/she accepts and is bound to them and will be binding on his/hers heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators and successors.
This is the entire understanding between the signer and VAE and cannot be modified without the consent of both parties.