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easyJet Holidays is just one of the many holiday firms which have been required to pay out thousands of refunds in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In the early days, given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, airlines and travel providers were left floundering to find the money to pay out while simultaneously keeping businesses afloat.
However, now easyJet Holidays, the airline’s package holiday arm, has proposed a new standard which it “challenges the rest of the industry” to implement.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, easyJet Holidays customer Director Matt Callaghan described current terms and conditions in place as “no longer fit for purpose”.
The idea that customers must pay to change or cancel their travel plans, he says, is no longer the right approach.
“We have realised that those sorts of terms and conditions are no longer appropriate,” he said.
In a bid to reignite confidence in hopeful holidaymakers, easyJet Holidays launched a new “Protection Promise” which it says will remain in place long after the coronavirus pandemic has eased away.
The concept of losing out on deposits, and making extra payments just to secure a different destination or flight date, will be a thing of the past.
According to Mr Callaghan, this is exactly what customers say they want.
“What we are doing is having a permanent overhaul of what have been industry standard booking conditions for years and years. We have listened to our customers,” he continued.
“we are making a permanent change and we are setting the bar for the rest of the industry and we challenge the rest of the industry to join us in helping enhance consumer confidence when it comes to booking consumer holidays.”
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Though he admits that in recent months the holiday firm may not have “got it right every time” when it came to trying to navigate the cancellations and confusion that followed coronavirus, he urged that everything easyJet Holidays has and will do was with customers “front and centre of every decision”.
Although the industry boss says that some Government measures have helped reignite parts of the sector, such as the introduction of travel corridors, he believes this is not enough to get Britons fully immersed back in the world of international travel.
“Let’s be clear travel has fundamentally changed throughout this. We need to adapt to that but we want to see others do this as well,” he said.
“This is how we as an industry need to realise that things won’t go back to the way they were, or it won’t be any time soon.”
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As part of its new “Protection Promise”, customers will be able to get a full refund, including their deposit in credit, up to 28 days before departure free of fees.
Customers will also be allowed to pay their holiday in instalments with no fees up to 28 days before travel.
The holiday giant hopes this will give customers the flexibility to change plans if necessary.
easyJet Holidays also boasts a price guarantee, meaning that if customers find the same holiday cheaper elsewhere they will beat the price.
Travellers may also change their holiday up to 28 days before departure, including destination, and can keep their deposit on credit should plans change.
These are the types of major changes that Mr Callaghan believes should become part of the “new normal” for holidays.
“We know that despite all of the current circumstances that have been going on now for over six months that nearly a quarter of people, our research shows, still want to get away abroad this year,” he said.
“We want to be able to provide the reassurance and protection customers are looking for or know that they can book a holiday and have something to look forward to.”
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