With an estimated two million Brits due to head overseas this bank holiday, there are a few consumer rights you can rely on when travel doesn’t go as planned. Have you ever exercised your travel rights?
Since we launched the ‘Stop the Holiday Hassles’ campaign a few weeks ago, thousands of you have told us about problems that cast a shadow on your holiday this summer – from finding toenails on the hotel room floor to being stranded in Nigeria for 13 hours.
As this is the season for pursuing claims about late flights, lost bags and hotel rooms that didn’t match the description in the brochure, here are three rights that will come in handy.
Stuck in the departure lounge
This is the big one. If your flight’s delayed by more than two hours (three hours if the flight is more than 1,500km, and four for very long-haul) and you’re flying from an EU airport, or into an EU airport on an EU-based airline, the Denied Boarding Regulations apply. You’re due refreshments (and accommodation, if needed). You may be able to claim compensation if the delay is more than three hours and the problem was not caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ beyond the airline’s control. The meaning of this continues to be debated, of course. But Which? member Rod Freeman recently used one of our template letters to claim £667 from Thomson after a 19-hour delay.
Where’s my bag?
If you were still waiting in hope when they turned off the carousel, use the Montreal Convention. This says airlines are responsible for the bags you check in, although liability is capped at about £950. You must report a missing or damaged bag at the airport and follow it up in writing within a week. You can make a claim for a lost bag when it has been gone for 21 days.
The hotel was a dump
A common complaint. One story sent into our campaign tells of the ‘sea view’ that turned out to be a bush. If you booked a hotel in the UK, or with a UK travel company, and it was shoddy, the Supply of Goods and Services Act applies as the service wasn’t up to scratch. The Package Travel Regulations give you similar rights if you booked a package.