There have been some big issues in the travel sector of late, with companies letting down their customers. Ryanair cancelled a huge numbers of flights due to staff shortages and the Civil Aviation Authority have had to reprimand them. Now this morning, Monarch have announced they can no longer trade as a business, meaning there will be hundreds of thousands of customers making claims from ABTA and ATOL protection. So what are your rights and what should you do in these scenarios when things go wrong?
Ryanair – We wrote a whole post about the recent Ryanair Cancellations and how they effected us but here is the summary. If your flights are cancelled by them or any airline, within 14 days of travel, then you are entitled to a replacement flight and compensation. If your flight is over two weeks away, then you are entitled to a replacement flight only. This kind of cancellation – for staffing reasons – is very rare, because most airlines plan better than Ryanair have in this instance. Most airlines also, wouldn’t be able to survive the reputation damage that Ryanair are experiencing. Ryanair are riding that in the hope that people will continue to book with them because they are a very cheap option.
Monarch – In this instance, Monarch have gone into administration. As such and if you booked from a reputable agent like Flight Centre, Trailfinders, Barrhead, Liberty Travel or any number of agencies, you will be covered with by ABTA or ATOL protection – a form of insolvency insurance within the holiday industry. Lots of online retailers do offer this but lot don’t also, in a bid to cut costs. Some flights bought on Skyscanner will not be covered but most will. The Civil Aviation Authority have also chartered some planes to help get customers home.
Strikes – From time to time, industrial action forces airlines to cancel flights. British Airways have famously been going through this process, as they have lots of new staff getting much less pay and benefits than the older members of crew. In this case, you are normally covered by your travel insurance. Just remember to get travel insurance for each trip, at the same time as you book. You cannot get insurance to cover you for any event that you already know will happen.
Hurricane / Weather – Just like in hurricane Irma, if weather effects your trip then you will normally be able to get money back from your travel agent, airline and hoteliers. If you are not able to recoup some of those funds, then you can claim on your travel insurance. When things like this go wrong, its great to be able to pick up the phone to an agent who will make all the arrangements for you. Queues to get through to the airlines can be hours long when big events happen.
Missed Connections – One of the things my customers worry about most, is missing a flight. If a flight is delayed and you cannot make your onwards connection, then you might worry. Rest assured that if your ticket is booked as one complete ticket for the whole journey, then you will be helped by the airline to get to your destination for no extra charge. It is only when you brea trips up into several different tickets that you should have genuine concern. If you have to use more than one ticket and it is totally unavoidable, seek advice from a travel agent. My general advice is to leave at least 4-5 hours between the flights, as you’l need to pick up your bags and check in again.
Our five top tips to avoid your travel going wrong are…
- Booking with an agent or online retailer that has a good reputation.
- Book with a company that offers over the phone or in person customer service.
- Booking with an agency that is ABTA & ATOL members
- Booking flights, hotels, car hire, transfers as a package with the same company.
- Booking travel insurance at the same time as you book the trip.
If you have any other questions or scenarios, please use the comments box below and I’ll be glad to help. I am a professional travel consultant of over three years experience and have lots of first hand experience of travelling too. All of the thoughts and opinions in this article are based on this experience and is to the best of my knowledge correct. That said, please ask if you would like anything to be clarified.