Stuck Away from Home? What to Do When Travel Plans Go Awry?
Stuck Away from Home
One of the large concerns arising from the Volcanic Ash problem last year and therefore the major snowstorms this winter wasn’t just the delays to travelers, but the widespread confusion amongst passengers about what they ought to do. While the press is usually filled with criticism and advice after the event, it’s clear many of the traveling public aren’t aware either of what rights and responsibilities they need or what their options are within the event of a significant delay.
What have you ever bought?
That may sound a silly question: obviously, someone who turns up at an airport features a ticket for travel. Most of the time, that’s all you would like but, if things fail, you got to understand what you’ve got and what risk you’re running. These are some points to consider:
- You should carry a replica of your travel policy (some insurers specify that as a condition of the insurance). All policies give protect medical emergencies but most give some sort of protecting delays and cancellations. Ideally, you ought to know beforehand what’s included but, if you are doing not have the policy with you, you’ll not be ready to check what your options are when a drag suddenly arises.
- If you’re traveling from Europe on any airline or to Europe on any European or Swiss airline, you’re covered under EU261. While this enables the airlines to avoid any payment within the event of most technical delays or strikes, it now seems to be accepted that airlines need to provide accommodation for weather-related delays. you’ll also arrange a refund or rebooking direct with the airline should the flight be canceled.
- If you’ve got booked the ticket through an agent, you’ve got an equivalent right under EU261 but any refund, and sometimes rebooking, will need to be through the agent. this will increase the delay.
- What hotel arrangements does one have? have you ever pre-paid through an agent? Is there any opportunity of cancellation or altering the reserving to reach one night later? Sometimes, the difference between a pre-paid rate and one that permits some sort of cancellation is money well-spent (it also allows you to go away the hotel early if it’s not what you had hoped for). If you’ve got some sort of cancellation option, this may probably need to be triggered by 6 p.m. at the newest to avoid the primary night’s payment being taken. you ought to have the hotel number with you. If you’ve got booked through an agent, any cancellation or alteration will normally need to be done through them, which again causes extra delay. once you book your hotel, you ought to consider the ‘what if’ question and also check out what your policy will cover. this suggests you recognize the danger and may compute the truth value of shopping for a hard and fast, as against flexible, deal.
- What about flights at your destination? it’s one thing your flight to Bangkok being canceled but what about the flight to Koh Samui? does one have the choice to change the flight – albeit this involves a fee for the change?
If you’ve got booked a package of flight and hotel protected within the ATOL scheme, you’ve got a different set of calculations to form. The tour operator is liable for everything. you want to have their emergency contact number with you.
It’s their job to form all the required rebooking. If the trip becomes entirely impossible, they’re going to need to refund you but – and this is often an enormous danger with package tours – the operator could enforce you traveling, albeit the trip has got to be abbreviated.
Thus a one-week holiday in Greece could become a four-night holiday in Greece with three nights at the united kingdom airport. Your travel insurance will often include protecting ‘travel abandonment’: if your outward journey is delayed by quite 24 hours, you’ve got proper to cancel and claim the cashback.
The tour operator might not remind you of this possibility. you ought to also note that the tour operator features a duty of care from the instant you reach the airport. they ought to arrange accommodation if a flight is delayed – regardless of what the airline offers. If the tour operator is unavailable, you ought to choose a hotel of an identical standard to the one you’ve got booked at your destination and send the operator the bill.
If there are not many hotels available at the airport, attend the town and find somewhere appropriate there.
The protection for delays and cancellations varies markedly among policies. Nearly all policies provide a small payment after a delay of 12 to 24 hours.
Many will provide this most effective on the outward journey. a couple of policies will cover the value of missed connecting flights or pre-booked hotel accommodation. you ought to know exactly what’s covered – and remember of it when booking. Keep all receipts and remember you’ll need some sort of official statement from the airline that your flight was canceled or delayed.
Airlines have fairly standardized systems of sending letters which may be requested through their website.
The ideal policy will provide protection both your outward flight and your return flight, alongside the value of canceling pre-booked hotels and connecting flights. it’ll also cover extra accommodation costs do you have to be stranded anywhere. Unfortunately, we’ve never found the right policy.
HSBC has revised its policies to incorporate greater protect delays and cancellations and a variety of other insurers, like Columbus Direct, have begun to sell optional add-ons to supply extra cover.
Whether these offer any value depends on what proportion you travel and what sort of holiday you’re taking – in other words, what financial risk you’re running.
When you book your holiday, you ought to compute the financial risk involved and plan accordingly. for instance, a few flying to Miami to require an upscale cruise that has got to be purchased weeks beforehand are risking several thousand pounds if their flight is canceled, while another couple, spending even as much on their holiday, may only be risking the value of the primary night in their hotel.
If your existing policy doesn’t have a sufficient limit, you’ll get to go searching.
It is all alright us beginning the responsibilities of airlines and travel companies but, in the real world, it’s unrealistic to expect any company to behave exactly because it should.
If there’s a sudden bomb-alert at a terminal, a strike or a sudden outbreak of inclemency, no airline or agent goes to be ready to deal with the quantity of labor involved in taking care of, everyone. An airline or agent may have a requirement to supply hotel accommodation and meals but be physically unable to book the hundreds or thousands of rooms that would involve it.
When Heathrow was closed, most airport hotels were full and charging their highest prices but we saw that a lot of hotels within the west of London had rooms available. it’s a hassle having to form a booking yourself and wait some weeks to be reimbursed but probably better than sleeping on the ground.
Similarly, the queues at airport ticket counters become impossible when a flight is canceled. you’ll consider joining the queue and trying to phone central reservations at an equivalent time. If there are two of you, one could attend an online cafe and check out to rebook there while the opposite stayed within the queue.
You can’t expect airline staff working under great pressure to consider every possibility.
If your flight to Boston is canceled and therefore the best they will provide you with maybe a flight in two days, why not check out New York?
Or try Rome rather than Naples or Abu Dhabi rather than Dubai.
When flights are canceled, airline booking systems will normally allow you reasonable flexibility for rebooking but you’ll need to do a number of the thinking yourself.
Recommended → The Pros and Cons of Traveling Around the world
Finally, if you’re traveling when some disruption is predicted, apply some sense – double-check all the points above and have a minimum of a vague contingency plan.
A charged mobile and a couple of phone numbers, including some hotels not too far away from the airport or an area hotel agency, could prove invaluable.