BRITS have been urged not to book summer breaks this year, so how can you get a refund for a holiday? We explain what you need to know.Transport Secre
BRITS have been urged not to book summer breaks this year, so how can you get a refund for a holiday? We explain what you need to know.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today warned that holidays may be off at home and abroad for the rest of the year.
He explained that until the entire country is vaccinated, travel restrictions are likely to remain in place.
All people entering the UK will have to take two Covid tests during their mandatory 10-day self-isolation – on days two and eight – costing £210 a person.
What are the new lockdown rules for travel?
AS of January 5 2021, only essential travel is allowed with Brits urged not to leave their house unless for reasons including food, medical care or work.
The government advice states: “You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home.
“In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
“UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.
“Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday.”
This is in addition to a negative Covid test before departure and a Passenger Locator Form, as well as the hotel quarantine scheme.
This forces Brits arriving from high risk countries to self-isolate at one of the 16 government-mandated hotels – costing £1,750 per person.
If you have a holiday booked for this summer and want to get a refund from EasyJet, Ryanair, TUI or another firm, we explain your options below.
If your trip has been cancelled
Flights and package holidays
Consumer law states that airlines must give a full cash refund or voucher if your flight is cancelled.
This also applies to travel package providers, where customers are protected by Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).
For a trip to be considered a “package holiday,” it must be consist of at least two of the below:
- Transport (for example, flights, trains, coaches and ferries – free transfers from the airport to a hotel wouldn’t be included)
- Other tourist services that form a significant proportion of the package, such as car hire
An Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL), which covers package holidays, also protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad if the company goes bust.
If your holiday is cancelled by your tour operator, the money has to be refunded within 14 days, or seven days if the airline called off your flights.
Travel agents are also legally bound to refund customers for Covid-19 cancellations, regardless of whether or not they’ve received the money from suppliers, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
If your flight has been cancelled, meaning you can’t get to your destination, you’re not automatically due a refund for accommodation, unless it’s a package holiday.
Yet it’s worth getting in touch as you may be able to rearrange it.
If you cancel your trip
Unfortunately, if you cancel a trip you aren’t automatically entitled to get your money back.
In fact, your legal right to a refund for flights or a holiday only covers you if the trip is cancelled by the provider.
Some holiday firms and airlines will offer a partial refund if you want to cancel your trip but you’ll likely also be charged a fee.
These vary depending on the company and how close you are to the start of your trip that you cancel.
What are the refund policies for Ryanair, EasyJet and TUI?
HOLIDAY firms have changed their refund and rebooking policies during the pandemic – below’s what currently applies.
If EasyJet cancels your holiday, you’ll receive a full refund back to your original method of payment.
But if you cancel your trip yourself, EasyJet’s terms and conditions state you won’t get the money back.
The only exception is if you cancel within 24 hours of booking, which means you’ll get a full refund minus the cancellation fee.
If you want to change your booking, you can do so at no extra cost (apart from the fare difference) up to 14 days before departure.
Ryanair offers vouchers equal to the cost of the cancelled flights, and these are valid for 12 months.
If you’d prefer the money back, you don’t have to accept a credit note and can request a cash refund instead on Ryanair’s website.
Sadly, Ryanair says customers can’t get a refund if the flight is operational and isn’t delayed by more than two hours.
Instead, you may want to consider changing your flight to a later date by using Ryanair’s free rebooking policy.
The flight change fee has been dropped for all new bookings made after June 10, 2020 but before March 31, 2021, for travel before October 31.
Just keep in mind you must change your flights at least seven days before the original scheduled departure date to avoid rebooking fees.
If you do, remember you must also pay the fare difference if your new ticket is more expensive.
If you no longer want to travel, TUI customers can make fee-free changes up until either 21 or 28 days before you original departure date depending on when you booked.
If your holiday has been cancelled, you’ll be given refund credit as well as a booking incentive, if it was a package holiday.
If you want a cash refund instead of refund credit, you can fill in an online form to request.
You’ll find the cancellation fees charged by your holiday provider in the terms and conditions of your booking.
Meanwhile, others will let you cancel your trip and give you the value of your booking on a voucher towards a future trip.
If you want to cancel your trip, it’s worth asking your holiday firm about its policies as it may be flexible.
If you’re able to, you could also wait to see whether the holiday firm will cancel the trip as we get closer to summer.
It’ll likely be frustrating, but make sure you don’t cancel the trip or you won’t be due a refund.
Do I have to accept a credit note?
Some airlines and other travel providers have been offering credit notes or vouchers instead of cash refunds for cancelled trips.
You don’t have to accept these credit notes or vouchers and can request a cash refund instead.
If you’ve lost your job or desperately need the cash, it’s worth explaining this to the provider.
These notes can be used to rearrange a holiday at a later date or can be swapped for a cash refund at a later date.
They are also currently protected by the ATOL scheme if the firm goes under and in October, their protection was extended until September 2021.
Can I rebook the trip for free?
Plenty of airlines and holiday firms have introduced flexible booking policies recently to encourage Brits to book holidays.
Ryanair, for example, extended its free rebooking policy at the end of January by two months until March 31.
Meanwhile, British Airways has also waived its change booking fee, although you’ll still need to pay any difference in price.
Naturally, the policy depends on the firm you’ve booked with so just check with them directly to find out.
What other options do I have?
If you’re struggling to get a refund for a cancelled trip, you may also be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.
Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.
If you booked by debit card, you may be able to claim a refund via your bank using the Chargeback scheme.
Chargeback can be used to reclaim cash for goods and services you didn’t receive.
Claims apply for purchases made by debit card, or by credit card for purchases under £100, and must be done within 120 days of the transaction.
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To start a chargeback claim, you need to contact your card provider but as it isn’t written into law there is no guarantee you’ll get your money back.
If you have travel insurance, it may be worth speaking to your provider but they’re less likely to refund you as it should be the airline’s responsibility.
Check the terms and conditions of your policy to see what it says regarding cancellations.