The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt across the industry, both in commercial travel and business travel spaces. And whilst we remain in the midst of a pandemic, there are still a lot of questions that have yet to be answered – specifically around refunds and cancellations.
In order to offer some guidance – and potentially answer some lingering queries – we at ACE Travel Management have put together this short advice article to try and help:
Why are travel companies withholding refunds?
‘Travel companies’ may be referred to as a generalisation, but are actually made up of multiple travel agents, tour operators, airlines and hotels. The travel agent is just that – an agent and acts on behalf of the principal supplier. It is the principal supplier who dictates the refund and cancellation policies, not the agent themselves.
What happens if the airline or tour operator cancels my trip due to COVID-19?
The principal supplier must honour its contract and if they cannot, they must offer a refund or free transfer to another date. This is also known as an “involuntary refund”.
Should I pay cancellation charges if the supplier cancels my trip?
No, you should have new dates booked or a refund.
I booked to go to India with Emirates but could not travel as India closed its borders. The agent said Dubai, the transfer point was still open so I could only get half a refund? Is this right?
This is absolutely not correct! In this instance, you would have booked a through fare with your destination being India. As you couldn’t travel due to border closures you are entitled to a full refund, regardless of how much of the flight is doable.
Why does it take so long to get a refund?
Due to COVID-19, the airlines are practically grounded and almost 3 months of travel cancellations have been made. Understandably, the sheer volume of cancellations has been difficult to get through which has led to delays in getting refunds back to those that are entitled to them.
I can’t even get through to EasyJet to get a refund, how can I change?
Online companies don't have the administrative process in place to handle massive personal telephone services. Travel agents have dedicated lines they can access, often bypassing wait times.
Does ATOL protect me if the supplier cancels?
No, ATOL protects you if the supplier fails. If they go out of business, you will be refunded through ATOL.
I booked my flights and hotel separately – will I be covered by ATOL?
Not if you booked direct. You should book through a travel agent who will issue an ATOL certificate to cover you if this is a concern.
If I pay by credit card, will I get a full cash refund?
Not necessarily. It’s always a good idea to check the small print. If the supplier has actually offered a refund by way of a voucher, they may not be able to change that for cash.
Is it more expensive to book through a travel agent?
A travel agent may charge a booking fee which could be as little as £15.00 but you’ll be covered by ATOL. Have an emergency service to back you up and a much better service if things don’t go according to plan!
If you have any more questions or would like to discuss your business travel requirements, get in touch with one of our expert consultants: