Dealing with Holiday Travel Problems

With cancellations, airline strikes, lost or delayed luggage and the nightmare of an airline going out of business as the most common holiday-related issues, it’s crucial that everyone understands their rights.

Holidaymakers can get a refund or a replacement flight if their departure is cancelled, even if the delay is caused by your airline striking. You can claim compensation for lost or damaged luggage, and even when the airline you are flying with goes bust, an ATOL protected flight can be refunded. However, you have to know what to do, and in many cases, how quickly to do it, so being aware before you leave is critical.

Cancellations

Fortunately, if your flight gets cancelled you have the legal right to either a full refund paid within seven days, a replacement flight to get you to your destination, from another airline if necessary, or an alternative flight at a convenient time.

Citizens Advice top tips:

● Depending on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight, the airline may have to help you with food and drink and access to phone calls and emails. It may also have to provide accommodation if you’re delayed overnight. You can check what your eligibility is on the Citizens Advice website. - in all cases
● If you choose to get an alternate flight, you may be entitled to compensation in the event of a cancellation if either the replacement flight delays your arrival by more than two hours, or your flight was cancelled less than two weeks beforehand.

Strikes

Industrial action can wreak havoc on your holiday plans, so it’s important to know what your rights are. In the event that staff from the airline you’re travelling with are on strike and you’re either delayed or your flight has been cancelled as a result, your rights are the same as with other cancellations or delays. Airline employee strikes are not deemed to be extraordinary circumstances, which means that depending on the length of your wait you may be entitled to compensation. The Citizens Advice website can help you calculate how much, if any, you’re likely to be owed.

Luggage

If your luggage is delayed, lost or damaged and the airline is at fault, you have the legal right to claim compensation from the airline.

Citizens Advice top tips:

● Act quickly and check deadlines. You may have to claim within seven days of your flight.
● You can claim money from the airline that would cover the bare essentials you need while you’re away, like toiletries, or for part of the cost of replacing or repairing your goods.
● If you have travel insurance or home contents insurance that covers luggage, you might be better off making an insurance claim instead. You may get more money and find it easier to claim this way, depending on your excess.

Holidaymakers can get a refund or a replacement flight if their departure is cancelled, even if the delay is caused by your airline striking. You can claim compensation for lost or damaged luggage, and even when the airline you are flying with goes bust, an ATOL protected flight can be refunded.

Airline goes under

In the unfortunate case that your airline goes out of business you may be able to get some money back. But the method you booked by - direct or third party, credit card or debit card, or booking as part of a package holiday - can all affect your compensation, and your travel insurance.

Citizens Advice top tips:

● If your flight is ATOL protected it means that you are guaranteed a refund if a company collapses. If you’ve booked flights through a travel agent the ATOL scheme should apply.
● If your flights aren’t ATOL protected you could try claiming against your credit card company under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. To be eligible, you need to have paid more than £100 for the flight, and to have paid some of this amount with your credit card. For more information see the Citizens Advice website.
● Airline insolvency can sometimes be included on travel insurance policies, so it’s worth contacting your provider to check to see if your policy covers ‘scheduled airline failure’.

If you want to discuss your rights after a holiday complication, ring 0300 3309 035 or contact us.

To read more about our consumer advice, click here

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