It's been a complicated year for holiday bookings. While at one point it looked like winter sun holidays would be back on the cards, Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a second England-wide lockdown would commence from Thursday [5th November]. In a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus and attempt to save lives, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks. And, sadly, a ban on all outbound international travel (except for work) will also come into play.
In addition, overnight stays other than in your own home are also banned until December 2, meaning any UK weekend mini breaks you had planned in November just aren’t going to happen. We all know it's for the best, but you're allowed to feel a little miffed if your holiday plans have been thrown into disarray.
Can I get a refund for my holiday abroad because of lockdown?
According to travel association ABTA, if you booked a package holiday through a tour operator such as Tui that has since been cancelled, you’re legally entitled to a refund. Approach the company you booked with to start the process of getting your money back asap.
Garry Wilson, CEO of easyJet holidays, told us they’re offering both credit and refunds. "Customers can choose to receive the value of their holiday as credit to make an alternative future holiday booking. Customers who opt for a refund can be reassured they will receive this in full within an average of 12 days."
Sounds straightforward, however be warned this isn’t the case with all tour operators. Consumer association Which? says more than £1 billion in holiday refunds is still being illegally withheld from the first lockdown - a whopping one in five of holidays where a cash refund was requested is still outstanding.
Rory Boland, travel editor of Which? Magazine, told us, "Millions of people were left struggling to get refunds for cancelled flights and holidays when the government banned international travel back in March. Sadly many still haven’t been refunded."
And if you have flights booked for this month, your refund rights depend on whether the flight still goes ahead - if the airline operates both legs of your trip, you aren’t entitled to money back or credit vouchers, even though the government are advising against all but essential travel. Harsh.
Spokesperson for holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket.com, Emma Coulthurst, says, "If flights are still running, under current terms and conditions not all airlines will provide vouchers, meaning that people could lose their money if they are travelling soon."
Are all UK holidays cancelled because of the second lockdown?
In a word, yes. From November 5, you won’t be able to go on holiday in England for a month. People in Wales and Northern Ireland aren’t currently allowed to travel beyond their borders and Scotland also isn’t welcoming travel across its borders.
The good news is that on the back of previous lockdown chaos, the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has made it clear that when Government policy means holidaymakers can’t go to their accommodation, they’re entitled to a refund.
A statement issued by the CMA says,
"A consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that can’t be provided because of the coronavirus pandemic."
However, check your booking. If your holiday provider specified that, in the event of another lockdown, they’d issue a credit note or postponement instead of a refund, your only choice might be to rebook.
But when to reschedule? December might feel tempting after staring at the same four walls for a month, however there are no guarantees there won’t be a third lockdown in the run up to Christmas and New Year. Maybe it's a good time to plot some major holiday plans for next spring instead?
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The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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