What are my travel rights amid the coronavirus crisis? Will it be possible to go on a European city break in late April? The Holiday Guru answers traveller queries
The Holiday Guru is always on call to answer your questions.
This week travel rights amid the coronavirus crisis, whether it will be possible to go on a European city break in late April and what happens if you flout advice and take a ‘non-essential’ trip are on the agenda…
Q. My wife and I are booked on an Oceania cruise departing from Stockholm on June 16 that is due to visit St Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga and Copenhagen. We are over 70, but the Government now advises against travel on cruises for our age group — and the final balance is now due. What should we do?
Alan and June Beard, via email.
One reader asked the Holiday Guru for advice about whether to cancel a cruise he had booked departing Stockholm in June
A. Oceania says it wants ‘all guests to be able to travel with peace of mind’. We offered to help you with Oceania, and you have since told us that you decided to cancel your booking and that ‘Oceania has offered to refund half of our deposit with a credit note for the rest’. Great to hear.
Q. We arrived at the airport for our flight to the Canaries on Saturday, but were turned away as it had been cancelled. Does Jet2, the airline we booked with, have any obligation to refund or offer another holiday later on in the year?
Joan E. Jelly, via email.
A. Yes, contact Jet2 and you are due either a full refund or to be offered an alternative date for travel. For further information on your travel rights, see abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak.
Q. Some airlines are still flying to Europe — what’s stopping me going in a fortnight, even if the Government says don’t go?
Susan Griffiths, London
A. There is nothing stopping you taking a trip. You could, for example, fly for about £60 return on Wizz Air to Athens. (wizzair.com). But your insurance will be invalid as you will be taking a ‘non-essential’ trip during the 30-day restricted period.
Q. We are soon to fly back from Sao Paulo in Brazil to the UK, what will happen if our flight is cancelled?
James and Peter White, via email.
Another reader asked the Guru for insight about what to do if his flight from Sao Paulo to the UK is cancelled
A. Contact your airline. Staff should know if you can be put on alternative flights or if the FCO is organising repatriation flights. You may be offered a refund, but be wary of accepting cash as buying a new return ticket on your own could cost much more. Your travel insurer may cover accommodation costs. The Association of British Insurers website offers guidance (abi.org.uk).
Q. Would you recommend booking a city break in Europe in late April? That will be outside the Government advice against all non-essential international travel in the next 30 days.
Sandra Williamson, Peterborough.
A. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, issued the advice not to go abroad unless it is ‘essential’ for 30 days starting last Wednesday. So in theory, ‘non-essential’ travel restrictions end on April 17. However, it seems likely that this will be extended. So be patient. See gov.uk or FCO for advice.
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