FAMILIES returning from Spain were this week told to quarantine – while the Government warned more curbs may be coming.
It left thousands either out of pocket, battling for refunds or worrying about whether to go on holidays they have booked.
Here we look at some of the problems facing thousands of Brits – and how to protect your holiday plans from lockdown.
Problem 1: I’ve booked a trip but now it’s been cancelled
BIG travel firms like Tui and Jet2 are cancelling trips to Spain, which is good news if you don’t want to go.
That’s because if your flight or package holiday is cancelled, you are legally entitled to a refund.
Package trips should be fully refunded in 14 days and European flights seven days, but there have been frustrating delays.
Samantha Smith, 27, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, is battling for a refund from Love Holidays after it cancelled a weekend away to Barcelona for her and four friends.
The final payment for the package trip, £1,200, was taken from her account on July 9, but just four days later the break was cancelled.
She immediately requested the money back, but is still waiting after more than two weeks.
Samantha said: “I don’t know why they took our money only to cancel shortly after. I’m sick of endlessly trying to get hold of them.”
The girls instead went camping for £33 each.
Hotel stays that are booked directly are unlikely to be cancelled and you won’t necessarily get a refund, although you should definitely ask.
Problem 2: I’ve booked a trip but it hasn’t been cancelled
THIS is where it gets knotty. Operators don’t have to cancel flights just because the Government’s advice has changed, so you might not get your money back.
Your chance of a refund depends on the kind of trip booked.
With package trips, you can argue for one if your plans have been significantly affected by “extraordinary circumstances”, such as the Government’s travel warning.
With flights booked on their own, you aren’t owed a refund – unless it is cancelled.
You may be able to claim on your travel insurance, but if you took it out after the pandemic broke out in March, it probably won’t cover you.
Airlines may offer you the chance to rearrange flights.
Wendi Lai, 26, a project executive from Clapham in South London, had booked a trip to Alicante for early August, flying out with easyJet, returning on Ryanair.
Neither flight was cancelled but both airlines allowed her to postpone her trip, either via a credit note or by switching her to a flight later in the year.
She said: “It was a relief to know my money wasn’t lost.”
Problem 3: I’ve booked a trip for the future. What can I do?
IF YOU are happy to travel, your holiday will probably go ahead if it’s in an approved country.
If you don’t want to go, check your cancellation policy as you may lose all or some of the money you’ve paid.
Travel insurance will not cover you changing your mind.
You can wait to see if it gets cancelled, and then you’ll get a refund.
Executive assistant Gabriella Stein, 29, is facing this dilemma.
She and her family are going on a £7,400 trip to Miami this October to celebrate her 30th birthday – but face large losses if they hold out for it to be cancelled.
Gabi, from Essex, said: “We’re in limbo. I’d like to speak to someone to discuss the options, but they won’t talk to you until 21 days before departure.
“At the moment, if we were to cancel online, we would lose 30 per cent of the total cost. If we can’t get through to them until 21 days before, we will lose 90 per cent of our money. It seems very unfair.”
Tips: How to protect your trip
PACKAGE deals are safest.
Note that only two insurers, AllClear and Nationwide, will cover your booking if the Foreign & Commonwealth Office changes its advice because of a development related to the pandemic, according to consumer champion Which?
Only one (Nationwide) will pay out if your destination country restricts its borders.
Nationwide will also cover you if you cancel due to falling ill with Covid, so it’s a good choice, but to get it you need to sign up for the £13-a-month FlexPlus current account.
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