Am I being taken for a ride? The Holiday Guru solves coronavirus travel issues, which this week includes booking issues for a theme park pass holder
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week his advice is directed at issues around flight refunds and annual theme park passes.
Q. Having bought a Merlin Annual Pass, which allows myself and my son entry to attractions including Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor, I’ve found it is almost impossible to use as so many slots reserved for pass-holders are booked. Yet non-pass-holders can still buy tickets. What can I do?
Laura Crompton, via email.
Thrills and spills: The Pirate Falls water ride at the Legoland Windsor theme park
A. Merlin explained that it has been having trouble with its booking system as some pass-holders are booking multiple slots and then not showing up. It is now offering more than 50,000 additional slots and has reserved whole days for pass-holders, it h.as also extended passes bought before the lockdown by five months.
Q. I have rented a cottage in Scotland for half-term with my family. In light of the First Minister’s announcement about not visiting other households, can we still go on this holiday?
James Johnson, via email.
A. The new rules state that you cannot make indoor social visits to other households – see gov.scot/news/new-measures – to-drive-down-infection-rate.
Assuming that you will not be meeting people indoors or sharing the cottage with anyone, the holiday would appear to be fine.
Q. I booked to stay three nights at Edgar Farmhouse in Norfolk last month through Big House Holiday Rentals. It was to be a family get-together of 19 people staying at the 20-room property to celebrate my 70th birthday and my daughter’s 30th. But, because of the Rule of Six, we could not go. I was told I could rebook any time in the next two years, which was fine, but then conditions were introduced that made this impractical for such a large group. Can you help?
Anna Macer, via email.
A. As you are now considering taking legal action to have your money returned, the owners were unwilling to comment. However, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Government’s consumer watchdog, expects customers to be offered a full refund where ‘no goods or services are provided by a business because this is prevented by the lockdown laws’.
For more information, go to the ‘Statement on coronavirus (Covid-19), consumer contracts, cancellations and refunds’ page of gov.uk.
Q. I am still waiting for a refund for return flights to New York which were cancelled on March 20 by Virgin Atlantic. They were booked through Expedia, but I am finding it stressful dealing with the firm. I’ve made contact via the online portal, email and phone, and there is still no refund. Can you help?
Joan Harris, via email.
A reader asks the Guru for help on getting a refund on cancelled flights to New York
A. Expedia says it ‘can see that Virgin Atlantic has processed the refund’. It has arranged for the money to be transferred to your account.
Q. As I am considering booking a holiday in Cyprus, I went on to the Bupa website to book a Covid-19 test, as you advised recently. However, it is not doing the PCR (antigen) tests, which are required for Cyprus, only antibody testing. Where can I go to get the correct test? I am based to the west of London.
Anita Twiddy, via email.
A. Apologies, you are quite right. There are a number of firms providing the Covid-19 PCR swab tests and issuing suitable ‘fit to travel’ certificates.
Some guarantee a result within 70 hours. See doctap.co.uk/services/coronavirus-test or citydoc.org.uk/covid-19-fit-to-fly or better2know.co.uk. Prices range from about £130 to £175.
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