For Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake operated by Quark Expeditions, a Contingency Plan is in place for those cases when weather conditions require that the flight day of operation is modified from the itinerary. The purpose of the Contingency Plan is to provide travelers with a flexible travel experience that adapts to the weather conditions and to provide an opportunity for a refund of the cruise fare in case weather conditions prevent clients from reaching Antarctica.
2023-24 & 2024-25 Seasons
Contingency Plan for Quark’s Antarctic Express (8- and 11-Day Itineraries)
Quark Expeditions will make every effort to ensure the Antarctic Express programs take place, but due to weather conditions, flying in this region can be difficult and is beyond the control of Quark Expeditions. The following table illustrates the last itinerary day on which an attempt will be made to fly:
|Itinerary Name||Days||Last Itinerary Day |
for Flight Attempts
|Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake||8 Days||Day 4 – End of Day|
|Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle||11 Days||Day 6 – End of Day|
Due to the nature of Quark’s Antarctic Express, & Bespoke Fly/Cruises weather conditions may delay or require a cancellation of the remaining itinerary after 4 to 6 days (depending on the Expedition in question) of attempts to operate flights: IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES Quark Expeditions WILL OFFER PASSENGERS A FULL REFUND ON THE CRUISE FARE IN THE EVENT OF TRIP INTERRUPTION IF THE CHARTER FLIGHT IS NOT ABLE TO TAKE OFF BY THE END OF THE DAY OF THE FINAL DAY OF ATTEMPTS. Quark Expeditions WILL HAVE NO FURTHER LIABILITY WHATSOEVER.
International airfare, domestic airfare, any additional services purchased or change fees, will not be refunded by Quark. Quark Expeditions will provide a trip interruption letter to be submitted by the passenger to their insurance company for airfare, change fees, and other expenses incurred due to the trip interruption.
Quark Expeditions will issue the cruise fare refund back in the same form/medium in which payment was received.
QUARK STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT ALL EXPEDITION GUESTS PURCHASE A TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY INCLUDING TRIP DELAY, CANCELLATION AND INTERRUPTION INSURANCE.
Contingency Plan Itinerary
Day 1 – Quark reserves the right to send passengers on the charter plane the evening prior to the scheduled day. This may happen when we see a weather system that could cause a delay on subsequent days. It is for this reason that we request all passengers to arrive in Punta Arenas no later than 3:00pm on Day 1. There will be no refunds for passengers who miss the charter plane departure due to an arrival in Punta Arenas airport (PUQ) after 3:00pm.
Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – For each day of the itinerary after Day 1, if there is a delay, all guests will be briefed by the Quark ground staff on the flight status. Oftentimes we are waiting for a weather window to depart and could be required to leave with very little notice. All guests and staff will be on stand-by until notified by the Quark Expeditions ground staff.
During the stand-by period you must be at the airport, or at another location designated by the Quark ground staff to be ready to go if and when a suitably long weather window becomes available. If an opportunity to fly does not present itself, you will be returned back to your respective hotels. Quark Expeditions will provide additional night(s) hotel accommodation and meals. Quark reserves the right to make exceptions to the timing guidelines outlined in this section.
Priority of Flight Departure
In some cases, there are instances where more than one operator is waiting for a weather window to fly passengers to King George Island using the same charter planes. In these cases, the priority is given to the passengers who were first delayed.
Last Itinerary Day for Flight Attempts
In the event that the charter flight is unable to fly on the final itinerary attempt day for any reason. With such final day being:
Day 4 for the Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake 8-day itinerary
Day 6 for the Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle 11-day itinerary
Quark Expeditions will officially interrupt the voyage and offer to re-book passengers on an alternative future voyage. If an alternative future voyage is not suitable, then Quark expeditions will provide a full refund for the full cruise fare and unused activities without any further obligation or liability on the part of Quark Expeditions. In order for passengers to obtain reimbursement for their airfare and potentially other costs to change flights, Quark Expeditions will provide trip interruption letters for all clients to submit to their travel insurance providers under the trip delay/interruption and cancellation clause (provided passengers have included airfare to be covered in their travel protection plan). Quark Expeditions will provide a final additional night hotel accommodation for those guests. Any additional hotel nights and meals will be the responsibility of the guests. Quark reserves the right to make exceptions to the timing guidelines outlined in this section.
Passengers on board the ship during these delays will remain on board at no additional cost until the time in which the charter flight is able to arrange transport. Full board and all excursions are included. Quark Expeditions advises all clients to book changeable airlines tickets along with cancellation and interruption insurance to assist with additional airline change fees. We advise all passengers to have flexible travel arrangements upon disembarkation of the voyage if delays arise. AdventureSmith Explorations and Quark Expeditions will not be held responsible for any change/cancellation fees due to weather-related delays or any other delays arising from force majeure. No refund will be issued for any reason whatsoever. At the discretion of Quark Expeditions, the ship’s Master and/or Quark Expeditions’ Expedition Leader reserve the right to sail the Drake passage to a port of call for any reason whatsoever including, but not limited to, any Force Majeure Event. FOR CANCELLATION DUE TO ALL OTHER EVENTS OF FORCE MAJEURE, THE STANDARD NON-CONTINGENCY PLAN TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF QUARK EXPEDITIONS SHALL APPLY.
Flight Changes due to Interrupted or Delayed Voyage
For faster service Quark Expeditions strongly recommends that all clients contact the Airline they are traveling on for changes directly.
If flights booked with Quark Expeditions:
Quark Expeditions ground staff are able to assist passengers that have booked their flights with Quark to make necessary flight changes. Any additional costs such as change fees or additional costs are the responsibility of the passengers.
If flights booked with an External Agent:
You must contact that agent or the airline directly to change your flights as Quark ground staff are not able to access your flight information to make the necessary changes.