Travel customers should not “forfeit” their rights to a full refund by accepting a voucher, a travel commentator has warned. Emma Coulthurst from holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket spoke to Express.co.uk about the best way to deal with cancelled flights and holidays. The expert even revealed the best time to start looking for international destinations again as coronavirus lockdowns begin to gradually ease.
Ms Coulthurst said: “I would never recommend anyone take a voucher.
“A voucher means that you’re forfeiting you right to a refund completely.
“In this day, we don’t know what’s going to happen to prices.
“The hope is, for consumers, that once we get a clear idea of when we can start travelling again, and when people want to travel again, then fingers crossed there’ll be some really good prices out there for consumers to re-stimulate the market.”
She continued: “Then you’ll be able to get some great prices comes October-November, hopefully.
“But we don’t know what’s going to happen to prices long-term.
“Not only that, and I’m not suggesting this is going to happen to companies, but if a company was to go into administration, if you have a voucher, it will be worthless.
“It won’t mean anything in terms of cash.”
The TravelSupermarket representative added: “So these are the following options I would recommend.
“I would recommend looking to rebook for whenever you feel comfortable to do that, knowing that if the package holiday doesn’t go ahead, then you are protected under the package travel regulations, and also ATOL.
“Every single package holiday is ATOL protected, which means that if anything was to happen to a company, you get your money back through those schemes.”
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Ms Coulthurst added: “I can already hear people shouting at me saying, ‘But we’ve got a holiday that’s already been cancelled, and we’ve struggled to get a refund on it’.
“I do know that some companies are not meeting their legal requirements to pay back refunds on cancelled holidays within 14 days, which is the package travel regulation requirement.
“Some are, it’s worth saying there are some companies that are genuinely managing to do that, but some aren’t.”
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, for example, has said it will take up to six months to refund passengers for flights cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told the BBC the airline was struggling to process a backlog of 25 million refunds with reduced staff.
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