Your holiday is booked, you're counting down the days. But what happens if something goes wrong - a death in the family, an illness, the company goes bust - before you go or while away? We have your key rights covered, from ATOL to ABTA to when to get insurance.
We've also answered some of your most common questions to help ease the stress when something goes wrong and you risk losing £100s or even £1,000s.
In this guide...
Warning: This is the first incarnation of this guide. Please give us feedback, suggest improvements and share your tips in the holiday rights forum thread.
Protect yourself BEFORE you book
Most only find out their rights when something goes wrong. But if you know at the outset, before you book, you could save yourself hassle later down the line.
If you book a holiday with a flight, you should have ATOL protection
ATOL is a protection scheme run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the airline regulator. The Package Travel Regulations require all UK firms selling holidays with air travel to be signed up to ATOL (look for the logo, see right). Membership is obligatory for UK travel firms selling flight and hotel packages to protect you if a travel firms goes bust.
If the worst happens, under ATOL, you get a refund for your holiday or an alternative holiday/transport.
This does not apply to non-UK companies. For example, when LowCostHolidays went bust in 2016 customers did not have ATOL protection as it was registered in Spain.
It applies to traditional package holidays (think seven days all-inclusive in Majorca) as well as flight and hotel/car hire bookings made through the same website within 24 hours. You can check if individual firms have ATOL protection on the CAA website.
For cruises and holidays without a flight, look for ABTA protection or similar
Similarly to ATOL, if the firm is a member of a travel association such as ABTA (look for the logo, see right), it provides financial protection if you make a booking and the travel firm subsequently goes bust. ABTA isn't the only scheme of this kind - the Travel Trust Association is another - but it is the biggest.
Protection from travel associations isn't as strong as ATOL in that it's not a legal requirement for firms, but it is still useful.
It ensures you get a refund or that you can continue your holiday as planned. For example, it helped holiday makers in March 2017 who booked with the now defunct Diamond Shortbreak Holidays.
ABTA will also help if you have a complaint to make against a member to it and can't reach a resolution with the firm - see how it can help.
If unsure, just ask what protection the firm you're booking with has in place, before you book.
Paying by credit card often gives extra protection (but can cost more)
If your flights, hotel or package holiday cost over £100, pay by credit card to nab extra protection if you book direct with the airline, hotel etc.
It usually costs more to book by credit card - typically around 2% with some firms - but for the extra £10 per £500 spent on your trip, it can be worth it if something goes wrong. Just see it as an 'insurance' against a firm going bust.
This is because when the transaction's over £100, Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong - see our Section 75 guide for full info.
So say the airline goes bust and you've booked directly with it, you can at least get your money back from the card company.
When LowCostHolidays went under, this is how many people got their money back as it didn't have ATOL protection.
If you pay on credit card, always pay it off in full at the end of the month so you're not charged interest. For full info including more detail on the exceptions, see the full Section 75 Refunds guide.
Section 75 doesn't always work with travel
- If you book via a travel agent, Section 75 protection won't always apply (explained in far more detail in the section below).
- With flights, each booking must be over £100 to count. And with budget flights each leg is classed as a single booking so each needs to cost £100 or more to qualify.
- Package holidays aren't covered under Section 75 as you should be covered under ATOL. If you don't have ATOL then check for ABTA protection, otherwise it's down to travel insurance.
Paying by debit card gives you some protection via chargeback
If you pay using a debit card you may be able to claim on the chargeback scheme, where your bank or card firm gets your cash back from the retailer's bank if something goes wrong. This is not a legal requirement, it's a customer service promise, but it's worth trying - see below.
You've fewer rights buying via third parties such as online travel agents, eg, Expedia
You may be covered by ATOL/ABTA if it's a holiday, but for individual flight or hotel-only bookings via a travel agent or flight broker, you may not be covered by Section 75. This is because there's no direct relationship with the supplier - ie, the airline - which is required for it to kick in. Instead, your relationship is with the travel agent.
To break it down further, there are up to three layers when it comes to a flight booking - a comparison site such as Skyscanner, online flight brokers such as Expedia, and the airline. Out of those, you can only book with a travel agent or the airline directly.
Obviously it's the airline that runs the flight but online travel agents are the ones that tend to sell cheaper flights so many choose to book with them. For more on this, see MSE Nicks blog on booking via third parties.
That said, flights and accommodation or car hire booked from the same company within 48 hours are covered by ATOL, even if they're not part of a formal package.
It's your responsibility to check entry requirements and Govt advice
Many non-EU countries specify visa requirements. Some countries offer them on arrival, others require visas in advance – sometimes a costly and lengthy process.
Besides keeping yourself out of harm's way, it's also important to check if your destination is considered safe to ensure your holiday is covered. Many travel insurance providers will refuse to pay out for issues – including cancellations – at destinations that have been declared unsafe to visit.
To check entry requirements, destination safety and other information, refer to the Government's foreign travel advice.
Buy travel insurance as soon as you book - don't risk £1,000s for the sake of a few quid
If you've paid but don't have insurance, and you need to cancel because you fall ill or suffer a bereavement, you won't be covered.
Insurance won't just cover you while you're away, it'll also cover you for cancellation or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE you make your trip.
With annual policies, you can choose the start date so ensure they start as soon as possible, not the day you travel. Also ensure that cover is continuous if you switch annual cover, so the new policy starts as soon as the old one ends. Our Cheap Travel Insurance guide has full details.
Take a free EHIC if going to Europe and check yours is still valid - millions aren't
The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. You'll be treated at the same cost a local. If they don't pay, you don't pay. It's not a substitute for insurance though, which covers far more, such as transporting you home if you fall ill.
The card is free - don't be caught out by copycat sites that charge a fee to get one (often about £25). For full info and how to get it for free from the legitimate NHS site, read the Free EHIC Card guide.
Also check it is still in date - 5.3m were due to expire in 2017.
Argh! The firm's gone bust - what protection do I have?
It might be the airline, hotel, tour operator or travel agent. Whichever has gone bust, do not panic, as there may be a way out. What you do and what you're entitled to depends on the type of holiday you've booked, whether you've booked it with a UK-registered agent or operator and what it includes (for example, air travel or not). We've full help depending on your holiday type below
Before we get into it, we've focused on protection via Government schemes, via the travel industry or from your card firm or travel insurer. In theory, if a firm goes bust administrators are appointed to split whatever cash is left among those it owes money to, such as customers. However, in reality customers are so fare down the pecking order they rarely get anything back.
PACKAGE HOLIDAYS including a flight booked with a UK registered operator or agent
If you booked a package including a flight with a UK registered firm, you should be covered by ATOL. Double check that's the case. If it is, the step-by-step help below is for you. If it's not, you'll need to see the other options.
If you're covered, you should have an ATOL certificate, usually attached via email or posted with your booking, and you should see the logo above on it. It details what is protected - for example, 'package holiday to Cancun for 14 nights'.
ATOL ensures you don't lose out financially if a travel firm you've booked with goes bust. This could mean refunding the cost of the holiday, or reimbursing you for alternative arrangements you had to make if you were away at the time.
What to do if you're still in the UK
A hotel or airline going bust doesn't always result in a ruined holiday.
If the airline, hotel, hire firms or other service provider has gone bust.
Then the tour operator - if you've used one - should either find you an alternative flight/room/etc or give you a full refund for the holiday.
But even if all seems OK, check with ATOL in case it has any additional information.
If you booked via a travel agent and there is no tour operator then check with your agent what is happening - under travel agent protection, it should ensure you can continue with your holiday as planned (just with a different flight/room/etc) or get a refund.
If the tour operator has gone bust check with ATOL. See its list of failed providers which should include what to do as your firm should be on there.
It may be able to find another operator to take over your trip if elements such as your hotel haven't been paid but this is rare and not guaranteed.
It may be that flights and hotels are still valid so check directly with them to be safe. Then...
- If your holiday is still on. Then great. Enjoy the beach, slopes, city or whatever else you are doing.
- If you holiday is off (whether it was your choice or not) and you're entitled to a refund. Again, ATOL's list of failed providers should be your first port of call for info on how to claim. It should also include or link to guidance to filling out the claim form.
Also, bear in mind though that while ATOL protection may mean you get a refund for your flight and/or package holiday, it won't cover other elements booked separately that you can't use if you holiday is off – for example, if you've booked separate hotels or car hire. See our section below on consequential loss for what to do in this scenario.
Also check your travel insurance policy to see if you can claim through that, or if those elements are refundable anyway.
Note, sometimes ATOL agrees with credit card firms that they'll pay out instead of being able to claim under the travel protection scheme. If this affects you, you should be told about what to do.
What to do if you're already away
There's no need to panic - the rest of your holiday may be valid, otherwise there will be cover in place so you don't lose out.
Step 1: Check if your hotel and flights home are still valid with whichever firm is still trading - this could be with a holiday rep at your hotel. If there is a trading tour operator start here. If not, try the hotel or airline. If you're lucky everything may still be OK, eg, you're moved to another flight by the tour operator. ATOL should arrange payment so you shouldn't have to do anything.
Step 2: If the tour operator has gone bust, check with ATOL. It'll tell you if it's managed to find another tour operator to take over, if any element is likely to be valid (though you could check directly) or if it has found a replacement flight/hotel/etc.
Step 3: If it's not sorted, claim via the ATOL website. When a company goes under, it puts full details of what to do and how to claim, including a claim form, in a list of failed providers. The document includes how to fill out the claim form and the documents you'll need to go with it (eg, receipts).
Note, sometimes ATOL agrees with credit card firms that they'll pay out instead of being able to claim under the travel protection scheme. If this affects you, you'll be told in the guidance attached to the claim forms and you'll need to make a claim to your credit card provider directly. There should be template letters to help though.
Step 4: Keep all your receipts - you'll be reimbursed for costs up to the cost of the original booking. You can claim back the any costs you've incurred to replace the elements of your holiday that have fallen through, if you have to sort them. For example, if you need to buy new plane tickets home.
PACKAGE HOLIDAYS including cruises or ferry or coach packages, covered by ABTA or other travel associations
If you've booked a holiday without air travel - a cruise, train or self-drive break - look for ABTA (see the logo, right) or other travel association protection. ABTA isn't the only travel association, but it is the biggest. If you buy a holiday through one of its members, you'll be protected if the firm subsequently goes bust - much in the same way as you are with ATOL.
As mentioned earlier, it's not a legal requirement but members to it agree to adhere to its Code of Conduct. This means that not only do they promise to give their customers standard financial protection, they go further by agreeing to certain standards with the holidays they provide.
Step 1: Check your booking, if still in the UK. Check with the tour operator first if you used one - if it's still trading. If it's an element of your trip that has gone bust such as the airline, the tour operator should sort it out for you. If it's the tour operator itself that's gone bust, the holiday will likely be cancelled and you'll need to claim via the travel association.
Step 2: If you're already away and something has gone wrong, ABTA should look after you. Whether it's the hotel or the airline, it should arrange a replacement. You shouldn't need to buy anything though in the rare occasions that you need to buy new tickets to get home, for example, ensure you keep receipts and full details of what you've paid.
Step 3: If required, submit a claim through the ABTA website. Fill in the claim form and submit it via the ABTA website. Make sure you have all your booking documents to go with your claim, and any details you think might be relevant.
DIY HOLIDAY BOOKINGS, eg, flight or hotel only bookings and other holiday types
A limited number of airlines may have ATOL protection, usually because they sell holidays too. However most flight-only bookings are usually excluded. So your options come down to how you paid.
If you paid by credit card (either the whole amount or a part of it)
If your booking cost £100 or more and you booked directly with the airline or hotel (even if you put just 1p of it on a credit card), under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, credit card firms are jointly liable with retailers if something goes wrong – such as a firm going bust – meaning you may be able to get a refund from the card provider.
To help, you can use our template letter to file a claim with your credit card provider - our Section 75 guide for full details.
While Section 75 is more powerful, Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards also have 'chargeback' protection (explained below). It may be worth using chargeback to claim as well, as some banks let you do both . If you want to do this, check with your bank to see if they'll let you. We've put together a chargeback refund template letter to help you complain too.
If you paid by debit card or on credit for less than £100
Here, Section 75 doesn't apply, but you may be able to claim on the chargeback scheme, where your bank or card firm gets your cash back from the retailer's bank if something goes wrong. This is not a legal requirement, it's a customer service promise, and it's worth trying.
If you paid using a Visa or Amex card you must claim within 120 days of becoming aware your booking (or parts of it) wouldn't be provided.
If you paid on a Mastercard, the deadline for making a claim is 120 days after the date the holiday was due to start.
Though do bear in mind that even if you're able to put in a claim, its success is not guaranteed. See our Chargeback guide for more help.
If you paid by PayPal
You're covered by its buyer protection scheme but only if you raise a dispute within 180 days of paying.
If you paid by bank transfer, cash or other methods
Sadly, there's little you can do using any of the protections mentioned above so it's worth checking if you're able to make a claim on your travel insurance.
However, unless you've bought a 'company failure' add-on you may well not be covered. If you can claim, make sure you keep hold of any receipts and paperwork to speed up the process.
I can't travel due to a major incident - eg, extreme weather, natural disaster, terrorism
A significant event such as these can lead the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to warn against all but essential travel to affected areas or leave you unable to travel due to grounded flights or other transport.
Often the airlines or transport companies themselves offer refunds or alternative arrangements to passengers when major events occur.
Under EU regulations, which apply to all flights departing or landing at an EU airport plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, you're entitled to the following:
If flights are cancelled at short notice: Airlines must normally give you a full refund of any unused ticket or offer suitable alternative travel. Full details of how to claim and your rights, see Flight Cancellations.
If flights are delayed: You're only entitled to compensation if the delay was caused by something within the airline's control. Extraordinary circumstances aren't covered, and airlines may well classify severe weather conditions as an extraordinary circumstance.
But you can still try asking the airline if it will compensate you – and if it turns you down and you disagree with the decision you can challenge it. European guidelines state that the airline must prove there were extraordinary circumstances and it took all reasonable steps to avoid them.
If your departure is delayed by over five hours, you can choose not to travel on the delayed flight and get a refund for that trip and for later flights on the same ticket. For full details on your rights, see our Flight Delays guide.
- You're sometimes entitled to assistance at the airport. If you're already at the airport, the airline is obligated to provide reasonable care in the form of food and drinks if you're delayed by more than two hours on very short haul flights (eg, Paris), three hours on short or medium haul (eg, Rome, Athens) and four hours on long haul (eg, New York, Tokyo), and somewhere to stay if the cancellation means you're stuck overnight.
For example when the volcanic ash cloud affected flights across Europe and Iceland in 2010, airlines put people up for several days until flights home were available.
Contact an airline representative first if you're going to be stranded overnight - it should sort things out for you. If not, keep receipts for any essentials (non extravagant food, drink and accommodation) and claim from the airline when you're back home.
What if the flight doesn't take off or land in the EU?
You won't be covered by the EU rules, but most airlines base their terms on recommendations from the International Air Transport Association. This means that in the event of a delay, you're usually offered a choice between a later flight, mutually agreed alternative transportation or a refund.
There may be a way to get compensation if similar schemes exist, eg in New Zealand, under the Civil Aviation Act airlines are liable for 'damage cause by delay' - this is implemented by NZ airlines. Alternatively, you could make a complaint to the airline or be entitled to compensation under your travel insurance policy. Insurance policies vary though so do check - it's not guaranteed and often where it is available, it is limited. See more on the flight delay rules.
If you booked a package with a tour operator, you may be offered an alternative holiday or a refund
When major incidents happen, tour operators often step in to help out those travelling or those due to travel so your first port of call should be to contact the operator.
For example, in 2011 when the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud caused delays and cancellations for flights, those with package holiday bookings were offered alternative transport whether they were away or still in the UK, or even an alternative holiday. If not, they got a full refund.
This is fairly standard practice for tour operators when incidents occur so if your caught up, so don't panic.
For ships departing or arriving into an EU port, either a ferry or a cruise, under EU rules (Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010) if the delay is more than 90 minutes, you're entitled to refreshments, meals and snacks to keep you going. If you're delayed overnight due to a cancellation, the cruise or ferry operator must also provide accommodation.
For ferry cancellations, you should also be offered the choice between an alternative sailing or a full refund, under the same EU rules. For delays you could also get 25-50% of the ticket price as compensation, however this depends on how late you arrive at your destination. You'll need to contact the ferry company directly to claim the compensation. How much you can claim is detailed below
Ferry delay compensation entitlement - excludes cruises
|Scheduled journey time||Arrival delay||Compensation due (% of original ticket price)|
|4 hours||1 hour||25%|
|4 to 8 hours||2 hours||25%|
|8 to 24 hours||3 hours||25%|
|More than 24 hours||6 hours||25%|
For cruise passengers, it's less clear. EU rules under Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 state that the delay would have to mean a significant change to the holiday, eg, for a 14-night trip, it would typically need to be more than 12 hours. Docking at a planned stop off port an hour or two late wouldn't count as it wouldn't be seen to take away from the day at that location.
For non EU ferry or cruise travel delays, you're likely to be offered food, drinks and accommodation if necessary, depending on the conditions of the travel firm. You may also wish to complain to the cruise or ferry company and see if you can get compensation that way. Check your insurance policy too for cover too.
There's a warning against travel to the country I'm in/due to visit. What can I do?
If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues a warning against travel - check its foreign travel advice - if you do travel, it's likely to invalidate your travel insurance.
When an incident occurs, tour operators, airlines and travel firms often announce arrangements for those travelling to or currently in the affected area.
For example, when the FCO advised against all but essential travel to Gambia in January 2017, Thomas Cook arranged flights home for all those there at the time, and gave those booked the chance to amend the dates of their holiday or travel somewhere else.
If you're affected, contact the tour operator, airline or hotel. Most tour operators have contingency plans in the event warnings against travel change and, as such, you should be able to get your money back or to book a replacement holiday.
If the hotel or airline says no and you're unable to recover all costs, insurers will consider claims on a "case-by-case basis". Be warned many insurers won't cover you if terrorism is the underlying issue.
If you've booked a package holiday, tour operators tend to refund holidays or provide an alternative if there is an FCO warning against travel to that country, so check.
Will flights automatically be cancelled?
Not necessarily - while the FCO may say it is unsafe to travel to a destination, the decision to cancel flights is with the airline and tour operators.
I can't get to my destination - what about hotel, car hire and other costs?
These things are otherwise known as consequential losses and can cost £100s. First check with the provider if the booking is refundable whether under the terms of the booking, or as a gesture of goodwill.
If that doesn't work, contact your insurer. Some policies, especially those offering fuller protection, may cover you, often under what's known as 'abandonment protection'. Other policies won't. Some insurers set their own timescales as to when cover kicks in, for example if you're delayed by at least 24 hours.
When British Airways suffered an IT meltdown in June 2017, a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers told us: "The main purpose of travel insurance is to cover emergency medical expenses and other travel-related expenses like baggage loss, rather than systemic computer breakdowns like this situation."
However, at the time, insurers told us that they may cover consequential losses - their responses are detailed in the table below.
Major insurers' policies
|Travel insurer||Are you covered for 'consequential loss'?|
|Aviva||Yes – all policies cover this|
|Axa||Yes – the majority of policies cover this|
|Churchill||Not normally (though it paid out with the BA crisis)|
|Direct Line||Not normally (though it paid out with the BA crisis)|
|Holidaysafe||Depends on policy – some will be covered but only if checked in and delayed for 24hrs+|
|LV||Depends on policy – only 'Premier Policies' offer cover|
My train was delayed/I got stuck in traffic and as a result I missed my flight. Can I claim back any costs?
Check your insurance policy and see what you're covered for.
However, even if it technically covers you, you'll need to show you allowed a reasonable amount of time to get to the airport. If you left it with just enough time, it may be argued that that's not enough. Or if you didn't factor in planned engineering works or strikes ahead of time.
I need to cancel for personal reasons, eg, illness, bereavement, redundancy
Here, you may be lucky but it depends on the situation.
Step 1: Check if the booking is refundable. If you booked flights and a hotel yourself and not on a package, flights typically won't be unless you booked a fully flexible ticket, hotel bookings can be but terms vary.
If you booked a package holiday, it's unlikely to be refundable - at the very least you'll lose any deposit you've already paid. And the closer you get to travel, or if the contract states you still have to pay the full amount, the more you could lose.
It can be different with bereavements or serious illnesses as some companies' rules may allow you to cancel a non-flexible ticket, say, if a close family member dies, or may bend the rules if you ask.
Virgin Holidays and Thomas Cook, for instance, allow you to change the names on the booking if one person can't make it due to illness or bereavement.
Step 2: Check your insurance policy - this is why we say to get insurance ASAP. Insurance often covers you if you get ill or you're made redundant, but check as policies vary. It'll also often cover you if you're called for jury service that you can't get out of.
If cancellation cover is included, it may also pay out if a close family member such as your parents, child, siblings or grandparents get ill, though you'll need a doctor's letter as proof.
If you're made redundant, you'll need a letter from your employer outlining the redundancy. The insurer may also call to confirm it too.
What counts as a 'close family member'?
- marital / civil or domestic partner who lives with you
- legal guardian or foster child
What if something happens to my travelling companion?
Some insurers, including Coverwise and Direct Line will cover you if the person you're due to travel with or stay with falls ill or passes away. This is fairly standard for travel insurance but do check your policy. You'll need evidence such as a medical certificate as proof.
If you're not covered and you need to cancel, talk to the travel company and explain the circumstances - it may be willing to offer a gesture of goodwill. You may not get cash, but they may offer to move the dates of your trip free of charge, or a refund in vouchers.
I've changed my mind and don't want to travel. Do I have any rights?
You'll need to check the terms and conditions that you accepted when you booked - holiday firms don't give the same generous policies to return an unused item that clothing and other retailers do. You need to be certain before you book that it's what you want.
I booked a package holiday. Can I now cancel?
If you booked a package holiday, it's rarely refundable - at the very least you'll probably lose any deposit you've already paid. And the closer you get to travel, or if the contract states you still have to pay the full amount, the more you could lose.
I booked a flight, hotel or car hire I no longer need. Can I get my money back?
It depends on the type of ticket/room/etc you booked. If it was the cheapest, it's very unlikely - with most airlines or hotels - that it will be refundable. In this case, your only hope is a gesture of goodwill.
Some exceptions do apply, eg, you can pay £35 to cancel a booking made using Avios loyalty points. Also some airlines - American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic for example - may allow you to cancel free of charge within 24 hours, though you're less likely to need to in that time-frame.
If you booked a fully flexible ticket or room you're usually able to cancel free of charge. It's a similar story with car hire - it's all down to the type of booking.
Your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled
It's the last thing you need when you're hoping to jet off, but if your flight is delayed or cancelled the airline has a duty to look after you, get you on a flight, and in some cases pay you a hefty chunk of compensation or a refund.
These rules only apply to EU regulated flights, so if you're flying from an EU airport, or on an EU airline that lands at an EU airport (including airports in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). See our Flight Delays guide for full info.
Holiday rights FAQs
Below is a list of your most frequently asked questions that are outside of the wider issues above.
The airline has changed my flight times, what are my rights?
Annoyingly, in most cases the airline can change the time of your flight but not all let you re-book or get a refund.
It all comes to down to what is in the airline's T&Cs. For example, a two hour change on British Airways means you'll be offered a comparable flight or a refund. This isn't covered by law, and unless there's been a significant change to the timings there's little you can do.
Just to add to the confusion, airlines have different definition of what constitutes a significant change. See more on your rights on airline's changing flight times.
My luggage is delayed or lost, what can I do?
Airlines are liable for any checked-in hold luggage so you should be able to make a claim if your luggage is lost or damaged.
If you can't find your baggage at the carousel report this to airline staff at the airport as soon as you can, and keep a copy of the Property Irregularity Form that the staff will fill in.
The amount you can claim is capped at around £1,000 but the CAA warns it is very rare to see payouts of this amount. Whether you'll be paid out isn't guaranteed though - it is decided on a case-by-case basis so do bear that in mind.
Here are you rights:
- If your baggage is delayed – If you're away from home the airline should reimburse your for essentials such as toiletries, underwear and laundry costs eg, after 24 hours Easyjet allows you to claim up to £25 per day for up to three days with receipts. To make a claim for these essentials you must submit a claim to the airline within 21 days of receiving your delayed luggage and it's a good idea to include copies of all your receipts.
- If your baggage is lost – If after 21 days since check-in your baggage hasn't turned up, it's officially declared lost. From this point you'll have seven days to submit a claim for your belongings, again including as much evidence as possible, eg, receipts for any valuables.
- If your baggage is damaged – Report it as soon as you can to airline staff, and keep a copy of the Property Irregularity Form that the staff will fill in. You must fill in the airline's claim for within seven days.
Check your insurance policy
If you have travel insurance this can have much higher levels of protection, but you will still need the Property Irregularity Form. Some policies suggest you try the airline first, so read your policy in detail to see what you can claim for and what evidence you will need.
The hotel I stayed at was awful. Can I get my money back?
You'll need to make a complaint to the hotel or tour operator. Outline exactly what the issues were. Your complaint is also likely to be stronger if you do it as soon as the problems arise - don't leave it until you get home. Taking photos as evidence will also be helpful. In your complaint also ask for what it is you want - for example a refund or compensation. Sadly there's no clear statutory protection - the claim is between you and the hotel or tour operator.
I was booking a holiday but I entered the wrong name/date. Can they charge me to change it?
They can but it can depend how quickly you spot it. If you notice as soon as you confirm the booking, call the firm you've booked through and see if they'll amend it there and then.
If it's within 24 hours they may change it without charge - Easyjet allows this for example. After that, you could be subject to an admin fee. Firms policies will vary, so do check. But even if there is a charge, it doesn't hurt to explain the situation and ask if fees can be waived.
I was denied entry to a country - what are my rights?
You'll usually be told of the reason at the time and often it's due to travel documentation (which is your responsibility to check). In most situations, you're likely to have to pay for a flight home and any fines or costs the airline gets from the destination authorities as a consequence of your refusal.
If you've got a return flight booked, you may be able to use it towards flying home though you'll need to check the conditions of carriage of the airline your flying with.
I booked a holiday but later found out I'm pregnant. What can I do?
If you have travel insurance, you won't usually be covered for cancellation unless you're not fit to travel eg, if you have a health complaint that makes it dangerous to fly. This would have to be confirmed by a letter from your doctor.
However, you must keep your insurer updated of any changes to your health to avoid it giving you a reason to refuse a claim later on.