The Holiday Guru tackles Covid travel refund issues and offers tips on booking a getaway to the mythical Greek island of Ithaca
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week he offers advice around refunds from easyJet, Eurotunnel – and more.
Q. We visited Kefalonia in Greece in 2019 and were intrigued by the neighbouring island of Ithaca. We want to book a package this summer. Any tips?
Lisa Smith, Norwich, Norfolk.
Ithaca is known for its secluded beaches and charming villages
A. Ithaca, the mythical home of Odysseus, is a peaceful island with secluded beaches and charming villages. You fly to Kefalonia and catch a ferry or water taxi across. If you book with a tour operator and have to cancel because of travel restrictions, you will be due a full refund within 14 days. Try sunvil.co.uk or olympicholidays.com.
Q. My daughter and I are due to travel to Brazil to see Rio de Janeiro and the Iguazu Falls in March. But that seems extremely unlikely, especially due to the Brazilian strain of Covid and what Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said about restrictions possibly continuing in March.
We have paid £3,792 for a package. How long before departure is it normal for a tour operator to cancel and offer a refund if restrictions remain?
Gillian Davies, via email.
One reader has booked a package holiday to Brazil in March and wants to know when they’ll get notice about a refund if the trip is cancelled
A. You should hear around February 15, when the Government is expected to make its next big lockdown announcement. There is no rule about how soon before a trip an operator must cancel, but companies are careful not to call them off early in case they subsequently can go ahead.
As things stand, all operators are cancelling until the end of February — the known extent of the lockdown. ABTA says decisions on refunds for March and beyond can be expected on a ‘rolling basis’ from around February 15.
Q. Do you know easyJet’s cancellation policy? We have Lanzarote flights booked for March 13.
Richard Adams, via email.
A. While lockdowns are in place, all easyJet customers, whether their flights are cancelled or scheduled, can transfer to a later date for free, or receive a voucher or a refund.
Q. In January 2020 I booked Eurotunnel crossings to be used in May that year, costing £176, but could not go because of the first lockdown. Eurotunnel refuses to give me a refund and merely offers a credit. I am about to turn 80 and may not ever go. Am I due a refund?
Patrick Widdowson, via email.
This week the Guru offers advice around refunds from easyJet, Eurotunnel – and more
A. Your standard non-refundable ticket is indeed only eligible for a travel credit. However, given you could not legally travel, it appears a refund ought to be forthcoming under the Competition and Markets Authority’s understanding of consumer law. Your could take Eurotunnel to small claims court or — perhaps more realistically, given the small amount of the claim — hope that travel will be possible soon so you can use the credit. Good luck.
Q. We are both OAPs. We booked four nights at Parkdean Resorts’ Cayton Bay Holiday Park in Yorkshire in November but could not go because of the lockdown. We still have not had a refund. Can you help?
Mr P. Johnson, Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham.
A. Parkdean Resorts is refunding your money and apologises for the delay. A spokesman says that customers at its 67 resorts in the UK have the option of a full refund, a credit for 120 per cent of their balance or to change their booking date.
Q. We are due to go on a cruise on April 21. The travel agent wants the final payment and says we will lose the deposit if we do not pay. What should we do?
Sue and Ron Capp, via email.
A. If the agent is reputable, ATOL-bonded (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and Abta-bonded, make the payment. If the trip is cancelled you will receive a full refund under law.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to: [email protected].
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