About to Book a Holiday? Holiday-booker Beware
What's going on?
Following recent government guidelines, the great British Summer holiday abroad is back! It can be tempting to get straight to booking a holiday, but there are things you should be aware of first. One of the most notable is the new NHS Test and Trace service, which may require you to self-isolate if you meet certain criteria.
At present there is a UK ban against international travel imposed by the FCO. This is due to be lifted soon however, and whilst this means freedom to travel, it also means that rights to refunds will change. As in a lot of situations, the terms and conditions of your booking may determine if you have a right to a refund or to rebook, so always check these first.
What’s difficult though is that most, if not all, terms and conditions will fail to address the situation where you are advised to self-isolate by the NHS to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus. Most airline policies will state they can refuse to carry you if doing so might pose a danger to the health of safety of others on the aircraft, but this does not usually come with a right to a refund.
What should I do?
Before booking, check the provider’s policy carefully to see what they say about cancellations after the FCO warning is lifted. I would strongly recommend benefitting from the great work Which? has done and using providers who have confirmed they will allow rebooking.
If you need to use another provider, you can attempt to agree it with them in advance for your trip, even if it’s not part of their policy, but make sure you get confirmation in writing within 14 days of booking your trip. Some airlines have different policies depending on the flight class you choose, so this is also worth considering, although it will cost you.
You should also take out travel insurance, but check the ‘cancellation and curtailment’ part of the policy very carefully before signing up. If you’re not sure whether this scenario would be covered, ask the insurance provider for clarity in advance. Again, it might be that you can agree an addition to the policy, although it will likely come with a premium, if they agree to it at all.
Whilst it is unfair that some providers are allowing rebooking and others aren’t, it is clear what a huge impact the pandemic is having on the travel industry, so people should be wary of what they are booking in these times of the industry’s desperation. Whilst it is tempting to book the first flight out across the world, we don’t yet know what the next few months are going to look like, so try to make sure you are covered in case of adversity. If you can’t (and it’s not easy to right now) at least make sure the worst case scenario is not one that puts you at risk of financial instability.
You can read the Telegraph article featuring our founder Sophie Kasmi on this topic here for more information, which includes a list of holiday firm who have confirmed they will allow re-booking in case people are forced to self isolate.
Best wishes and safe booking.
Your KYR Team