You’ve been counting down the days. Passport? Check. Money changed? Bags packed? Check and check. You are so ready for the holiday that you’ve planned and anticipated.
Then an email hits your inbox, or a letter drops onto your doormat, telling you that your longed-for holiday is cancelled. Whether you’re jetting off on a weekend city break, winter ski holiday, or you’re off to some far-flung exotic location, the disappointment of a cancelled holiday is real.
What to do
Once you’ve got over the initial disappointment, you need to check out your rights and know what to do when your holiday is cancelled. Whether your trip was a cheap getaway or a painfully expensive trip of a lifetime, you’ll want to resolve the problem and get your money back asap.
Depending on how you booked and paid for your trip, there are various options you can pursue to have the trip refunded. If you booked a package holiday that included travelling by air, then it’s more than likely that the company you used offers ATOL protection, the whole point of this Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) is to ensure that the traveller is protected if their operator runs into difficulties either before the holiday or while abroad.
You definitely need to check your travel insurance policy too, so get the magnifying glass out and comb through the small print. If your holiday is cancelled for certain specific reasons, such as extreme adverse weather, then you might well be covered here.
Check your paperwork
Don’t panic if you didn’t plan to fly, rifle through all the holiday paperwork that you stashed away, and check that your cruise or UK holiday was organised via a company covered by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Being part of ABTA means that the travel company has specific responsibilities towards their customers, not least that should work with you to rescue your holiday in some way.
If you prefer to travel independently and build your own holiday, then all is not lost. Your flight only deal may well still be under ATOL cover, then you can concentrate your energy on getting a refund on accommodation.
This infographic by CreditFix is a great way to get an overview of what you might be entitled to if your holiday is cancelled. The first step in recouping costs is to check who you need to talk to to get any refund or rebooking processed.
If your holiday is cancelled while you’re still at home, it’s a massive headache, and you’ll probably be crushingly disappointed, but it can be resolved. International rules and regulations mean that if your planned holiday is a no-go, then you can ask the agent to refund you or offer an alternative. Get on the phone and chase the company for alternative options. This can work well if you’re open to other destinations and can be flexible.
Now, if you’re on a beach, cocktail in hand, when you glance at the lounger next to you and read on the cover of a discarded newspaper that your tour operator has gone bust, it’s going to be a shock. Before you dive into another drink to take the pain away, give the company a ring to get the full story.
You will get home, but it might be a little different than planned.
Get back on track
The key, as with pretty much everything in life is not to panic. Arm yourself with all your bits of paper, your booking information, and confirmation codes and get on the phone. This infographic is a brilliant guide to working out who has responsibility for helping you contact the right people to get your holiday back on track, or get your money back as soon as possible.