‘Is Italy a safe bet?’ The Holiday Guru solves traveller queries – including where to go for a quarantine-free break
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week the issues tackled include where to go for a quarantine-free break, accepting and using refund credit notes and rebooking flights with Ryanair.
Q. Where can I go without quarantine. Is Italy a safe bet?
Olivia Smith, via email
Getaway: Varenna village on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, which is currently on the government’s list of countries that are exempt from quarantine
A. For the up-to-date list of countries exempt from quarantine see the ‘Coronavirus (COVID 19): travel corridors’ page of gov.uk.
Countries currently on the list include Turkey, Italy, Greece and Cyprus but this may change at short notice.
Q. Must I accept a ‘refund credit note’ in place of a refund for a cancelled package holiday?
Sally James, via email
A. No. The Competition and Markets Authority, which enforces consumer protection legislation, says consumers can be offered credits, vouchers or rebooking as alternatives to refunds.
However, ‘they should not be misled or pressured into doing so, and a refund should still be an option that is just as clearly and easily available’.
To report a complaint, go to ‘Report a business behaving badly during the coronavirus outbreak’ – both are at gov.uk.
Q. What happens if I have a ‘refund credit note’ and the travel company goes bankrupt – will I be left with a worthless piece of paper?
Richard Broad, via email
A. Again: no. In the event of a business going bust, holidays booked under the Government backed ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) scheme are protected up to September 30, 2021 for bookings made between March 10 and September 30.
This means consumers must either exchange credit notes for cash by September 30 next year or use them to rebook before then.
The period covering when bookings are originally made could be extended and is being kept under review.
Q. In February my step-daughter booked a Ryanair flight for herself, my wife and two grandchildren to Alicante, departing last Wednesday. They could not travel as the children are in primary school and would require a quarantine on return.
If the Government is advising people now against travel and imposing quarantines that were not on the radar when a booking was made, shouldn’t airlines be more accommodating?
Mr Steven Parr, via email
Ryanair has waived the flight change fee for bookings for travel this month, but customers must travel before the end of the year
A. What a mess. Ryanair has waived the flight change fee for bookings for travel this month, but customers must travel before the end of the year.
Your family’s problem came as your step-daughter was advised in a phone call to Ryanair to wait until the day of the flight to see whether it would be cancelled — opening up the possibility of a full refund. But to rebook before the end of year would mean high fares during school holidays.
For all airlines, travellers not flying due to quarantine rules is regarded as ‘disinclination to travel’— harsh as that sounds — so passengers will lose their cash.
Q. I booked a holiday in February with Shearings and paid the deposit using my Tesco Bank credit card. After Shearings went bust, I was advised to make a claim with Tesco, but I have not heard back. It’s almost three months. Can you help?
Mrs Hazel Stainer, via email
A. You were correct to contact your credit card issuer. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act does indeed cover repayments from credit card issuers, of between £100 and £30,000, when a company goes under.
Tesco Bank says your payment has now gone through and offers a £25 gesture of goodwill.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Please send them to [email protected] — including contact details.