Handling holiday headaches

Alex Neill of Which? on what to do when your travel plans go wrong

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 4:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:18 pm
Handling holiday headaches

The countdown is on: suitcases are being dusted off, suncream bought by the tonne, passports dug out from the back of drawers…

Summer holidays are almost upon us. No more worries for a week or two. Well, that’s the plan. Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong and it’s worth being aware of what you should do if your holiday goes awry.

First of all, make sure your holiday company is a member of ATOL when you book. That way, should it suddenly go bust before you leave or while you’re abroad, your money will be protected and you’ll be flown home.

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Be wary if the company’s logo has no ATOL number or if there are very few contact details on the website. Any doubts, book your holiday elsewhere.

When you do get to the airport, excitement can be tempered by delays. There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped while waiting to escape to the sun.

If you are travelling from an airport within the EU, whatever the airline, you are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation. This means you are entitled to compensation if your flight is cancelled, although not if the airline can prove the delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. Your airline also has an obligation to offer you meals, refreshments, phone calls, emails and accommodation depending on the length of the flight and delay.

When you get to your destination one of the top holiday gripes is poor accommodation. If your room isn’t up to scratch then make sure you complain straight away to the tour firm’s staff to try and get a quick resolution. And take photos or videos as evidence.

If you haven’t got what you paid for, you could receive compensation under the Package Travel Regulations. There’s also the travel association ABTA and if your travel firm is a member of ABTA, it is bound by a code of conduct which includes paying applicable refunds promptly.

If you’re hiring a car then read the terms and conditions carefully. Most firms won’t guarantee a specific make of car but if you need a family sized vehicle and get a two-seater, or vice versa, then it could be a breach of contract and you could make a claim. It’s the same if there’s no car waiting when you land.

And remember, travel insurance is a must - though the cheapest option might not always be the best.

Happy holidays!

* If you have had any holiday nightmares email me at [email protected]

Ask Alex

WHEN things go wrong, a relaxing break can turn into a nightmare. From delayed flights to overbooked hotel rooms, holiday firm collapses to hire car issues the Which? website has masses of advice how to make claims and what to expect from the process. Please visit Travel Rights