The Holiday Guru answers questions on coronavirus travel rights

The Holiday Guru solves coronavirus-related traveller queries, from cancelling a boat holiday in Amsterdam to getting refunds on travel insurance

The Holiday Guru is always on call to answer your questions.

This week coronavirus-related queries include rights surrounding a cancellation rate on a boat holiday in Amsterdam, getting refunds on travel insurance and what happens to holiday bookings if travel restrictions are tightened.

Q. Due to the pandemic, I no longer want to go on a boat/cycling holiday in Amsterdam in August, although the trip is proceeding. I expected to lose my 15 per cent deposit, but Dutch Biketours says 30 per cent is the cancellation rate. Its website states the cancellation policy is 15 per cent but adds that it varies on boat tours. We were never told this. Can you help?

Pauline Timmons, via email.

The Holiday Guru answers a query about the cancellation rate on a boat trip to Amsterdam

A. This sounds frustrating — as you say, why not be totally upfront? Dutch Biketours, based in the Netherlands, says it is now reviewing how it presents cancellation terms. The company will be in touch to see if your trip could be switched to next year for no fee — which you have agreed to consider.

Q. After my Trailfinders holiday to Canada and Alaska in June was cancelled, I was delighted to receive a full refund. However, Spectrum Travel Insurance will not refund my unused insurance of more than £500 as it says I should get this from the tour operator. Why? Can you advise?

Ken Barber, Bedford.

A. According to the Association of British Insurers, if a trip is cancelled due to Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice, ‘many insurers will offer either a full or partial refund’ for single- trip policies. Spectrum has now agreed to a ‘pro rata refund’. Its initial response to your refund request mistakenly referred to the cost of the holiday, not the insurance policy. Good luck.

Q. My family holiday to Portugal, booked in January with Jet2, is due to fly from Leeds Bradford Airport on July 20. If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office says it is OK to go, we would be happy to. But living in Bradford there is a danger we may be put into lockdown again. If so, would I be able to get a refund from Jet2?

Richard Lawrence, via email.

A. Let’s hope it does not come to that. If it does, Jet2 will offer the chance to rebook at a later date without a fee. As tour operators are legally not obliged to provide a refund if a customer is unable to travel, this is a good offer in the circumstances.

Q. In January I booked ten days accommodation in Spain for September, paying a deposit by credit card. What if travel restrictions are tightened due to Covid-19? Would I get a refund via my credit card company?

Sarah, via email.

A. No. As the service — the accommodation — would still be available, the credit card company would be under no obligation to pay. If you had a package holiday, however, you would be covered by the Package Travel Regulations and be due a refund in 14 days.

Another reader asks how to contact her travel insurance firm, Holiday Extras, to claim a refund on a trip to Tennessee 

Q. I booked ‘Gold Single Trip’ insurance for £807 with Holiday Extras on January 15 for a trip to Tennessee in September. We have decided not to travel, but we can’t get through to Holiday Extras by phone or online to request a refund. Can you help?

Mrs Marlene Pearson, via email.

A. Holiday Extras staff are working from home and are stretched with calls, although it should not have been as hard as you found to arrange the refund of 50 per cent that the company offers in your situation. Best go to help.holiday extras.co.uk/hc/en-gb/requests/new. Filling out this form should result in a prompt reply.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Please email them to: [email protected] — and include your contact details.

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