Holidays were cancelled and postponed in droves this year as coronavirus swept the globe. This left many Britons eager to be refunded for their trips that were no longer going ahead. Unfortunately, getting cash refunds back has proved difficult for many as companies hold onto the money in a bid to stay afloat – despite the laws in place.
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Today, travel experts Jonathan Smith from ABTA and Simon Calder appeared on the BBC to answer the public’s burning travel questions and share their travel advice.
Their words of wisdom come ahead of the UK government revealing which countries will be on the ‘air bridge’ list of safe countries to where Britons can travel without having to quarantine.
One caller asked what companies were doing in terms of vouchers or vouchers now.
“So the situation when it comes to refunds and cancellations is getting better,” said Smith.
“I think a lot of travel companies have been under a huge amount of pressure, given the number of cancellations that have had to take place over the last few weeks and months.
“Certainly active members are being encouraged by us to refund their customers as soon as they can, but it has been a difficult time.
“I mean as soon as we can get travel going again, the better – and we very much welcome the government’s steps to do that.
“But we need to know what these countries are that people can go to.”
However, the experts warned that holidaymakers won’t be refunded if they choose not to travel even after the government has lifted restrictions.
“I’m afraid, at the moment, if you are simply expressing what’s known as the in the trade disinclination to travel you have no rights,” explained Calder.
He continued: “It’s certainly worth talking to any travel operator if you’re reluctant to travel -if you can possibly get through to them or get an email through to them – and explain your predicament and it might be that they will let you postpone your trip.
“But at the moment… millions of people with holidays in July and August that they booked before we’d heard of coronavirus are now facing this awful situation where they are required, as it were, to go on holiday or lose all their money.”
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On BBC caller wanted to know if he could claim compensation for not being able to use the beach or pool on his Spanish holiday this summer – so how much can you tweak a booking?
“Under the package travel regulations, there is some latitude for getting compensation,” detailed Calder.
“However, I think in this particular case, you’ll certainly be able to use the beach and one thing about the fact that probably across Europe you’ll only get half the number of normal tourists than you would in an ordinary summer that you will actually be able to use the beach.
“There will be problems with pools, having problems with all-inclusive arrangements, particularly for buffets – and so it’s
He continued: “Whether it’s significantly different for you to be able to say, I want some of my money back, or indeed, I don’t want to go on this holiday because you can’t promise what I actually booked in the first place, that’s a difficult legal question, and I think I would advise that people don’t rely on that sort of argument I don’t know if it’ll get them very far.”
Calder encouraged anyone with a unique situation to speak to their travel provider just in case a solution could be found.
“It might well be that in exceptional circumstances they will allow you to change that booking, depending on the situation of the customer,” he said.
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