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Holiday Cancellations - Where Do I Stand?

March 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 151

It is every holiday goer's dreaded scenario, you are about to pack your suitcases and then get news of you flight being cancelled due to natural disaster. Having booked your special vacation, you have been looking forward to getting away from the humdrum of daily life, only to learn that it is not as simple as that - your flight is not running.

The only thing worse than hearing that your flight is cancelled before departure is if you are already at your destination. Whilst, being stuck in your dream vacation destination might not seem like a bad situation for some, making the extra arrangements mixed with the additional expenditure can be quite a headache. But sadly these things happen - so where do you stand if they do?

In April 2010 Europe ground to a halt as the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull blew its top, pumping thick columns of ash into the atmosphere. The eruption was hugely disruptive halting many flights across the continent closing airports, leaving thousands of holiday makers stranded.

Far removed from the logistical head ache of working your own way back home, the question on most people's lips was with what would happen to the money for flights and who would field it. In the instance of the volcano many had to rely on their insurance, which in situations like that is never hopeful with volcanic eruptions being classified as an "act of God" and not always covered by policies.

If you are holidaying with a specific tour operator or package holiday company you are most likely covered in a more comprehensive fashion, but any cancellations and disruption to travel have to be handled with the airline that the flights were booked with.

Whilst not quite as drastic as a volcano blowing it's top, Spanish "general strikes" in 2012 have caused much disruption with travel arrangements as only a small amount of flights are still in operation. Many who have to travel whilst the industrial action is on found that the airlines had been cancelling their flights, so what do you do?

Under EU regulation 261/2004, an airline either has to offer alternate travel arrangements or the money back - if a refund is accepted, you will have to find your own way home. Accepting a refund from an airline is seen as them filling their obligation under EU regs and that is the end of their service.

If you have bought from a travel operator then you will see that, depending on their own polices, it is their job to get you home and give a hotel of a similar calibur until alternate flight arrangements are made.

The issue is if you have to chase a refund made not in a package deal, i.e. independently. It is up to you to get in contact with the operator and get them to give a full refund. All providers should have given details about cancellations and notice which is needed when you book - so ensure you make yourself aware of that.

What happens if they won't give you a refund from your hotel? Well, this then depends on travel insurance, and as I've mentioned, there are a number of variables here. It all depends on your policy, and in particular cover for "consequential loss". The cost and issuer of the policy will have a large impact as to the type of cover you get - so make sure you make yourself aware of the details.

Booking your family holiday is an exciting time as the thought of a vacation is a welcome one, but be aware disruptions happen. Remember that refund and cancellation polices can differ, so acquaint yourself with them and don't delay should you need to make cancellations yourself or alternate arrangements.

James Howson is a timeshare and travel guru with over 10 years of experience in travel writing. Having owned timeshares he is often asked about buying timeshare points and recently about Diamond Resorts International.

Source: EzineArticles
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