Holidays have had to be cancelled and postponed over the past few months. But the chaos and disappointment are expected to end very soon. The government is due to unveil a list of countries with which ‘air bridges’ will be established.
However, Britons still need to take care with their holiday bookings.
Travel expert Simon Calder yesterday issued a warning to jet-setters.
He cautioned that those who booked flights and accommodation separately might be in a sticky situation.
Calder told ITV viewers: “There is every chance that the flight will still be operating: government advice does not need to be followed by airlines.
“If the plane does depart the airline is legally entitled to refuse a refund even though you have compelling reasons not to go – such as work or family commitments.
“Hoteliers, car-rental firms and other providers can also stick to their terms and conditions.”
Holidaymakers also need to remember they won’t be owned a refund 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,” Calder told the BBC on Monday.
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.”
As for those contemplating booking a trip abroad this year as lockdown eases, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis advised against booking any special holidays.
“I would not be booking that holiday of a lifetime that’s super expensive that you’ve been saving up for and is a big whack of your cash,” said Lewis on ITV yesterday.
“If you want to book for August to go away for a week with the family somewhere relatively cheap, and you’ve checked that you’re protected – especially if you’ve got a policy that allows cancellation for free – then it’s not a bad idea.”
Lewis continued: “Let’s remember that what we’ve seen over the last few months is that when people are cancelling flights and holidays, even though they’ve got a cast-iron right to a refund, not everyone is getting refunds – travel insurance companies are playing hardball at times.
“So book a holiday, and in the back of your head say to yourself – if the worst came to the worst, could I afford to lose this money and is it worth it going on holiday? If the answer’s yes, book happily.
“If the answer’s no, then make sure all your protections in case and be careful.”
He explained that those who bought an annual policy and booked a holiday before coronavirus broke out are likely covered.
“If you have an annual travel insurance policy that you got before coronavirus started, and you booked a holiday before coronavirus started that you haven’t been on yet, that annual travel insurance should cover you if there were to be a government-based cancellation due to coronavirus as long as it did beforehand – you still get that continued,” said Lewis.