Our travel agency has had lots of enquiries from people who haven’t booked with us but wanting advice about refunds for flights that have been cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano ash.
There seems to be people who have booked with certain travel agencies who have been told that they are not entitled to a refund of costs relating to the hotel part of their booking. When I questioned these people they said that they were under the impression that they had booked an ATOL protected holiday. We find this very strange because if you have booked an ATOL protected holiday then you are entitled to a refund of all the money you have paid.
As a package holiday includes the flight and hotel plus maybe the airport transfer then this means you would not be out of pocket.So, if these people have actually booked an ATOL protected package holiday why have they been refused a full refund? Without knowing the full details it is difficult to comment but it is possible that they have not actually booked an ATOL protected package holiday even though they thought they had.
The rules regarding what is a package holiday have become confused recently due to a court case which is currently being appealed by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and it may well be the case that some travel agents are bending the rules so that they can offer cheap holidays.
If you are booking a cheap holiday then always make sure that your holiday is ATOL protected. Also, you should ask whether you are getting a “traditional” package holiday or a separate flight and hotel added together. If this is the case then you need to check that you are finacially protected for both your flight and hotel. If you are not protected then you should think twice about booking.
Always remember that you get what you paid for. There will be thousands of people who will have lost out financially due to flights being cancelled and this is a risk you take if you book a flight and a seperate hotel. As long as you are prepared to accept the risk then its not a problem but if it’s an expensive holiday then you should consider the implications.
As a footnote we would like to remind our blog readers that ALL holidays sold by Global Holidays are fully ATOL protected so in the event of a problem with your flight or hotel you would get a FULL 100% refund.
Why you should book an ATOL protected package holiday with a travel agent
Trust in Travel Agents
Lord Adonis the government transport secretary has just announced that all UK airspace will re-open from 10PM on Tuesday evening. It seems that the CAA has re-written the rules about when aircraft can fly in situations relating to volcanic ash.The government is saying that more data has been collected from test flights and they are now satisfied that is 100% safe to fly. Airlines will have to inspect their aircraft before and after every flight and report any damage to the CAA. The first flights should start arriving at London Heathrow by 10pm tonight but it will be some time before things get back to normal.Less volcanic ash is also being generated by the Icelandic volcano and this has helped the decision that has been made.In addition, other EU countries had begun to open their airspace and start flights again and if the UK had not followed suit it would have been very embarrassing for the UK government.You should consult your airline to find out whether your flight is to be operated as it will take several days for the situation to sort itself out.
Iceland has hit the headlines this week as one of its volcano’s has been erupting and caused volcanic ash to drift of the UK and many parts of Europe. Iceland has been in the headlines quite a bit recently – eruptions in the financial world have given the country a bad reputation due to its banking crisis.
The volcanic ash that is spewing out of the volcano in Iceland has been causing chaos with flights in the UK and northern Europe being cancelled. However, this volcanic eruption is nowhere near as bad as one that happened in the same volcanic area in Iceland back in 1873. The Laki eruption was the second largest volcanic eruption in the last 1,000 years and it caused 10,000 deaths in
Iceland out of a total population of only 50,000 people.
As the sulphur cloud drifted over northern Europe including the UK it caused an estimated 20,000 more deaths in Britain alone. The volcanic eruption at Laki lasted over 8 months and as well as the volcanic ash the volcano spewed out over 600 square kilometres of boiling lava into the countryside causing widespread destruction of the area.
Iceland as a Tourist Destination
Although many people have been flocking to Iceland to see the volcano many tourists do visit Iceland to see its dramatic scenery and volcanic landscape. It may surprise you that despite its name Iceland does not get too cold, even in winter. In fact, the winter temperature in Iceland is warmer than that of New York.The capital city of Iceland is Reykjavik and it is the world’s most northern capital city. Reykjavik means “smokey bay” because it is named after misty geo-thermal steam that rises from the ground and this steam now heats the homes and swimming pools of Reykjavik.
There is plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the city is criss-crossed with paths and cycle lanes. The city also has art galleries and museums and a lively night life.The main reason for visiting Iceland though is the scenery and if you like the outdoors you will love Iceland. Glaciers cover one-ninth of Iceland”s land surface. Vatnajokull, at 3,300 square miles, is the largest glacier in Europe.Reykjavik is only a 15-minute cab ride between downtown and wild nature, where you’ll feel you’re the only person on earth. When you’re in nature, you can explore geysers, waterfalls, geothermal hot springs, bird sanctuaries and more!Iceland is the ideal place for taking a break and setting foot on a European outpost with an exciting, lively, ancient and thriving culture all of its own.
CALL GLOBAL HOLIDAYS ON 0845 299 4450 FOR FLIGHTS AND HOLIDAYS TO ICELAND
If your flight or holiday has been affected or cancelled due to the volcano erupting we would like to hear your story. Please leave a comment.
My daughter was due to fly from Leeds/Bradford airport this morning to Pisa with Ryanair and at 6.30am this morning I checked the airport website to find out if the flight was on time. The flight to Pisa was cancelled along with all the other flights. There was no sign of any fog, which is often why Leeds/Bradford is closed and it was then that I noticed that there was an announcement saying that all flights were cancelled due to volcanic dust! I thought this was a bit strange as I had never heard of this event before. It then turned out of course that most flights from UK airports were affected.
As I live only 10 minutes drive from the airport we decided to drive up to see what the situation was and when we got there the airport was full of people wandering around trying to decide what to do. We went to the Ryanair desk at Leeds/Bradford and were given a slip of paper giving us details about a refund.
I feel really sorry for those thousands of people who have had their travel plans disrupted or holidays cancelled. Some passengers will have been going on holiday for a short break and there may not be another flight for a few days which effectively means the holiday is cancelled. I just hope that the people responsible for making this decision have not been too over cautious about the dangers of the volcanic ash cloud but I suppose that we have to respect their decision.
Your rights when a flight is cancelled
This event is yet another example why you should always look to book at ATOL protected package holiday rather than booking flights and accommodation separately. ATOL protected holidays will give give you a full refund for the whole holiday so you will not lose any money.If you have booked a flight only and seperate accommodation you will get a refund for your flight but you may not get a refund for the accommodation that you have booked. A further complication is that some travel insurance policies do not cover this type of event as it is classed as an “Act of God” exclusion. This could leave thousands of people with booked and paid for hotels and other accommodation with no way of receiving a refund.
Can you claim on Travel Insurance?
As mentioned above you may have a problem claiming for a volcanic ash event on your travel insurance. You need to check the small print in your policy to look at the exclusions.