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Booking from the UK

Welcome to WINGS

If you are booking on a WINGS tour from the UK we want to make the process as simple and as convenient as possible. We know many UK-based clients previously joined our tours through our sister company Sunbird, who formally closed their doors earlier this year. Luckily, almost all the Sunbird tours and leaders have migrated fully over to WINGS. We wish to make the transition to working directly with WINGS as straightforward as possible, so have compiled a list of questions and answers from a UK perspective. If you have any questions about any of the points mentioned below, please let us know. This is a work in progress, so updates will appear during the coming months. We really look forward to welcoming you on a WINGS tour soon.

Contacting WINGS: By far the easiest way to reach us is via email, either via the main office general email ([email protected]) or the direct email for the relevant tour manager. The name and email address of the tour manager is listed at the bottom of each tour’s page on our website. If you would like to speak to someone in the WINGS office, we suggest sending an email with a phone number and we will call you. Given the time difference between the UK and Arizona the return call will most likely be in the early evening UK time. If you need to speak to someone during the daytime in the UK, then call Steve Rooke on 01767 262522 (or email [email protected]). If Steve is not able to deal with your query, he will contact the WINGS office on your behalf, and someone will get back to you at the earliest opportunity.

Financial Protection: We are aware that any bookings made previously through our sister company Sunbird included the government-recommended financial protection of their ATOL and ABTOT bond. Although no such systems operate outside of the UK, we will be operating a Clients Account for payments from UK clients (this is what ATOL and ABTOT require in the UK). This means that any money paid from bookings in the UK will be placed into a special Clients Account and will remain there until the tour has taken place. This will ensure your payment is safe and can be repaid in full should anything happen that forces WINGS to cancel the tour before departure or the balance repaid if we are forced to cancel the tour once it has begun. Additionally, we recommend that UK clients pay the deposit by credit card to get the UK’s excellent section 75 protection on the entire tour (more info here) and then pay the balance by bank transfer to get the 4% discount* (see below).

Paying for a WINGS tour: Payment for both the deposit and the balance can be made with a credit card or a bank transfer. Our invoices will be in US dollars but making a transfer is a very easy process. This can be done through your own bank, especially if you use online banking or there are various independent companies that arrange efficient and safe transfers of money. Perhaps the best of these is Wise at www.wise.com If you are paying with a credit card, be aware that some card companies make a small charge for transactions in a foreign currency so do check with your bank first if you want to avoid this.

*Note also that WINGS offers a 4% discount off the tour balance at final invoicing when payment is by check or bank transfer. For more details see here.

Flights: WINGS tour prices do not include flights from the UK and this means you will need to book your own flights. Your WINGS tour manager will advise you of the proper times to purchase flights, as well as the start and end dates, times and locations of the tour to enable you to book the most convenient flights. If you need to arrive a day or two early, or stay on after the tour has ended, the tour manager will be able to make hotel bookings for you. Booking flights through a reputable ticketing agent such as Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com) will also give you the cover of their own ATOL, which gives added protection should anything happen to the airline you are booked with.

Travel Insurance: We always recommend purchasing travel insurance. For UK-specific companies, a couple of good options are P J Hayman & Company Ltd (www.pjhayman.com) or Staysure (www.staysure.co.uk). Staysure is currently covering Covid-19 liability. If you prefer speaking to an insurance broker, Sunbird’s traditional contact has been Helen Fisher at Bullerwell Independent Insurance Brokers, 13 Goldington Road, Bedford, MK40 3JY. Tel: 01234-866964.

Our general terms and conditions, along with basic timelines for things like invoicing and tour confirmation, can be found on our About WINGS page (www.wingsbirds.com/about/).

WINGS and Sunbird worked together for almost four decades, and many Sunbird clients have been on WINGS-managed tours (and vice versa). WINGS will continue to provide first-rate tours with first-rate service and with many of the same leaders you know and love. Most of the change will be on the back end, with management for the Sunbird-organized tours simply moving over to the WINGS office. The WINGS staff is already very familiar with these tours, having worked closely with the Sunbird staff for years.

If you were primarily a Sunbird client and are not on the official WINGS email newsletter list, you can sign up here. We send out updates every 6-8 weeks and promise not to fill up your inbox.

It’s a tricky time in the world to be running tours and showing birds, but with any luck we’ll be back in gear soon. We’re ready to welcome you back on a tour!

Happy Birding,

Matt Brooks
Managing Director, WINGS
[email protected]
Office +1 520-320-9868; Whatsapp +1 520 668-7631

Updated: October 2021