The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week issues tackled include claiming money back from Cheapcost Holidays and booking summer getaways.
Q. Will a summer holiday in the Med be possible? I am at my wits’ end.
James Stirling, Manchester.
Hotspot: Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera is a highlight of the Mediterranean
A. Probably. The Prime Minister has said he hopes to have an update by April 5, a week before the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is due to report. If you do book now, buy a package holiday, which offers protection for cancellations.
Q. We have a UK coach holiday booked for June. Will it happen? Will it be safe?
John Laird, via email.
A. With hotels and B&Bs opening from May 17, according to the roadmap out of lockdown, it will almost certainly go ahead. Spacing, strict face-mask rules and anti-viral sprays are being introduced (see welovecoaches.com).
Q. Cruises around Britain, departing from May 17, are being sold with negative Covid tests required for passengers. What about crew?
Ken Seager, Bradwell, Norfolk.
A. All cruise lines are regularly testing crew members. Around half of the firms are also requiring crew to be vaccinated.
Q. I have an easyJet flight booked for May 6 but won’t be able to fly because it’s now illegal. What should I do?
Diane Clermont, via email.
A. The airline says that during lockdowns, ‘customers, whether flights are cancelled or scheduled to operate, can transfer flights to a later date for free, or receive a voucher or a refund’. Go to ‘Manage Bookings’ at easyjet.com.
Q. Our British Airways return flights to Washington DC in April last year were cancelled and we accepted vouchers of the same value, thinking we were helping the airline. We later decided that we would prefer to have a refund, but BA says we cannot. Is this correct?
Patricia Horne, via email.
A reader asks the Guru for help with claiming a refund on a cancelled trip to Washington DC
A. Unfortunately, yes. With tens of thousands of vouchers now issued, BA says it would be ‘very difficult’ to offer cash refunds instead. A spokeswoman says: ‘We are incredibly grateful to those who have graciously accepted vouchers.’ If passengers have used vouchers to pay for new flights which are also cancelled, then they are eligible for a refund.
Q. Do airlines hike their prices if you look on Skyscanner or Google for flights several times? Fares to Mykonos in Greece became extortionate after we kept looking online.
Mrs Elaine Waite, via email.
A. There is no concrete evidence that this is the case, despite speculation. Supply and demand determine prices.
Q. I booked United Airlines flights to Florida, costing £2,850, for a family holiday in March last year via theflightsguru.co.uk. When they were cancelled, we were given a credit which we used to rebook for this year, paying the airline an extra £750.
Again, the flights were cancelled. United has repaid me £750 and sent £2,850 to theflightsguru.co.uk which has said I am not entitled to the money. Can you help?
Michael Bell, via email.
The Guru helps a reader claim money back from a cancelled family holiday to Florida
A. How odd. The firm says there was ‘confusion’ over this owing to the date change. You should be refunded within a fortnight.
Q. We booked a Thomas Cook holiday to Turkey through Cheapcost Holidays in 2019. Then Thomas Cook went bust. We’ve been calling Cheapcost for 18 months to try to get back our £867. We are in our late-70s and this is a lot. Can you help?
Mr and Mrs Pennington, Widnes, Cheshire.
A. That is shocking! Thomas Cook went into administration in September 2019 — before the word Covid existed. The brand has now been revived as an online-only travel agency by new Chinese owners. We contacted Cheapcost, which has finally agreed to refund you.
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If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at email@example.com.