The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week, he offers advice on entry requirements to Chile as well as securing refunds from airlines and chalet companies.
Q. I heard that Chile has recently joined the travel corridor list and I am thinking of going on a trip there soon. Are there any entry requirements?
Susan Kelly, Manchester.
New hope: Guanacos in the Patagonia region of Chile, which is on the travel corridor list
A. Chile was added to the travel corridor list last week, meaning there is no need to quarantine on return. But the Chilean border is currently open only to nationals and residents, making holidays impossible (see Chile’s page at gov.uk).
However, this is expected to change next week, and BA is poised to resume flights to Santiago next month from £640 return (ba.com).
To enter, visitors will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel, a health declaration form and insurance that covers Covid-related medical care.
For packages in Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, try humbolttravel.co.uk, and chile.travel.
Q. I went on a two-week holiday to Lanzarote in March with Tui, but had to return nine days early because of the pandemic. I received a voucher for £1,789, which I used to book a trip to Kefalonia for July, paying an extra £1,122. This trip was cancelled and I received £1,122 back, but not the voucher, which shows online as ‘used’. I cannot get through to anyone. Can you help?
Mrs Christine Barned, Braintree, Essex.
One reader asks the Guru for help after her holiday to Lanzarote in March was cut short due to the pandemic
A. This problem — where vouchers handed out as a refund for cancelled trips are being used to pay for new holidays that are then also cancelled — is beginning to crop up regularly for a few firms. Computer systems are struggling to keep up, even though they ought to be fine. Tui has apologised, blaming a ‘technical issue’, and has refunded you.
Q. I should have received a refund from Vueling Airlines for a cancelled flight from Cardiff to Malaga at the end of March. I have called and emailed the firm, but had no reply. Can you advise?
Mrs Anne Bowler, via email.
A. The confusion here was caused by Vueling — a Spanish budget carrier — offering a choice of a credit voucher, re-booking the flight or a refund. However, to receive a refund, you have to call a customer service line. The airline apologises for any confusion and is issuing a refund.
Q. We booked a family holiday at a chalet in the French Alps for August. Flights and accommodation were booked separately. Two weeks before departure, easyJet cancelled our flights and refunded us quickly, but the French chalet has refused a refund and will not allow us to transfer the booking to next year, so we have lost our deposit. When I tried to claim on our travel insurance I found flight cancellations were not covered. Any advice?
Barry Hilton, Leeds.
The Guru offers advice to a reader who wants a refund, or to move a booking he had, for a chalet in the French Alps, pictured
A. Most travel insurance policies will not cover accommodation in these circumstances: the risks are too high.
However, had you been able to find alternative flights, an insurance policy covering ‘travel disruption’ may have paid any difference between the cost of the new flights and the amount you were refunded by easyJet.
If the chalet company does not allow refunds, there is nothing that can be done. This is why buying an Atol (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence)-bonded package holiday can provide peace of mind as the tour operator’s duty of care would be to get you to your destination or provide a full refund.
If you booked the villa with a credit card, however, you could try to make a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org — and include your contact details and holiday reference/booking numbers. Unfortunately, we are unable to reply to every enquiry.