From new passports to airline refunds, we can help: The Holiday Guru answers traveller queries
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week queries include returning to the UK from Cyprus, getting refunds on travel insurance and renewing passports.
Q. My wife and I travelled to Cyprus in February and we were due to fly home from Paphos on March 18. EasyJet has cancelled ten return flights so far, and we have another booked for July 1. How can we return earlier, please?
Keith Liles, via email.
A reader asked the Holiday Guru for advice on how they can return to the UK from Cyprus
A. There are few flights in and out of Cyprus. Aegean Airlines has a Larnaca-Heathrow service departing on Thursday, May 21. See the Cyprus travel page at gov.uk and the British High Commission Twitter feed: @UKinCyprus.
To book, email [email protected] stating your full name, date of birth, contact number and your current location in Cyprus.
Q. I am one of many who travel across the Channel by ferry every year. What are my chances of doing it this summer?
Mrs Julie Thompson, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
A. It depends on two things. First, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office must cease advising against non-essential international travel.
Second, France must ease its internal travel restrictions, currently locked in until at least June 15. Once travel has this ‘double green light’, ferry and Eurotunnel crossings should be back in action for tourists.
Q. I booked a British Airways flight to Phoenix, Arizona, in December. I paid part-cash and part-Avios air miles. If it’s cancelled what happens?
Jeff Rush, via email.
A. Monitor the situation at ba.com/confidence. BA says you would be able to receive cash and Avios points back.
Q. In February, I bought a single-trip travel insurance policy from Staysure for £64.82. But my trip to Spain has been cancelled. I requested a refund but have been offered £13 or the option to re-use the policy within 13 months. Can I get a refund?
Isobel Nichols, Alloa, Clackmannanshire.
A. The understanding in the insurance sector is that refunds would be given when insurance has not been used and was purchased before travel restrictions were put in place. But there is no law that requires such refunds to be paid.
Staysure has extended the policy so it can be used to 18 months or is offering credit vouchers valid for 36 months.
Q. My passport expires in December. I hear the Passport Office is only issuing emergency passports. Is there a way around this?
Mr P. W. Donald, via email.
Check gov.uk for updated information on passport renewals, says the Holiday Guru
A. People are asked to make passport applications only if needed ‘urgently for compassionate reasons, for example if a family member has died, or for government business’. Check gov.uk for updates.
Q. I booked an Ebookers holiday with flights from Manchester and a hotel in Vienna. A fortnight before travelling, EasyJet cancelled the flight and, a few days later, the hotel cancelled.
Ebookers said to contact EasyJet for a refund, which is coming. But the stay is said to be ‘non-refundable’. I called the hotel and was told it had received no payment from Ebookers. This seems unfair. Can you help?
Martin Beckett, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
A. Ebookers has apologised and will refund you. The Package Travel Regulations says you’re entitled to cash back upon cancellation within 14 days.
Q. In January, we booked a cruise to New Zealand in March with Cruise118. It cost £5,249. It has offered a credit note, but we want a refund. Any thoughts?
Sheila Mehew, via email
A. You are legally due a refund within 14 days under the Package Travel Regulations. However, many companies are offering refund credit notes instead, blaming ‘unprecedented’ times.
Cruise118 says it is waiting to receive cash from the cruise line and airline involved. A spokeswoman added the firm is doing its utmost to arrange the refund — and the cash is protected under the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Please send questions to [email protected] — and include your contact details.
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