Your travel and refund rights if you miss your Eurotunnel or ferry crossing - or if it's delayed or cancelled
Drivers attempting to cross the Channel into France via the Eurotunnel and the port of Dover may have been hit by long delays this summer, and there are warnings this could continue with Eurotunnel telling travellers to arrive at least two hours before departure.
But if there are problems on route, or delays or cancellations to the crossing itself, which is between Folkestone in Kent and Calais in France, we've rounded-up your travel and refund rights below. Follow the links to the info that's relevant to your journey:
- If you booked directly, in the first instance check what Eurotunnel or your ferry provider offer in terms of alternative travel, ticket refunds, and covering associated costs and additional goodwill compensation.
- Booked via a third party or took out a package? Contact your provider.
- If you have no luck with the firm/s in question, check if you're covered by travel insurance.
You can also see our Holiday Rights guide for further help on your rights if something goes wrong. Plus, check out our Cheap Travel Insurance guide for info on how to protect your trip for less.
- Be placed onto the next available shuttle. The Eurotunnel operates 24/7, so there should always be a next shuttle, unless there is an issue with the service itself. There may be a charge for this, depending on the circumstances. However, during severe delays earlier this summer due to traffic and a road accident, Eurotunnel transferred passengers free of charge.
- Change the time and date of your booking. You can do this with any ticket type, though you will need to cover any price difference.
Your rights to a ticket refund if you miss your crossing and no longer want to travel
If you miss your Eurotunnel crossing due to reasons outside of Eurotunnel's control, say bad traffic, you're unlikely to be due a refund - whether you can get one depends on what type of ticket you have.
Refundable tickets include a 'Standard Refundable' ticket or 'Short Stay Flexiplus' ticket, while 'Short Stay Saver' tickets and 'Standard' tickets are non-refundable, for example.
Your rights to a ticket refund if Eurotunnel cancels or delays your crossing
If Eurotunnel itself delays, changes or cancels your crossing and is unable to provide a service, you will be entitled to a full refund of your ticket. This also applies if you can't, or no longer want to travel on the rescheduled service.
If you still want to travel, we're checking with Eurotunnel if you'd be eligible for a refund, as well as being able to catch the next shuttle without charge, and we will update this story when we know more.
Your right to claim for associated costs
Eurotunnel told us that if you're delayed or miss your shuttle due to reasons outside of its control, it won't cover the cost of any connecting travel, events or accommodation bookings - you'll need to try to recoup costs yourself.
We've asked if it would cover any associated costs, including accommodation or alternative travel, if Eurotunnel itself stops running, and we will update this story when we know more.
Ferry rights - onward travel, ticket refunds, associated costs and compensation
Below we explain your ferry rights. However, if you think you aren't being treated fairly by your ferry company, you can make a complaint to trade body the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which is the Department for Transport appointed body to handle complaints. You can contact it on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your travel and ticket refund rights if you miss your ferry
If you miss your ferry, and it's not the fault of your ferry provider, your rights will depend on the ferry provider's terms and conditions.
P&O Ferries, for example (the main ferry carrier from Dover to Calais) recently allowed any ticket type for Friday 22 July and Saturday 23 July to be transferred free of charge due to traffic delays. However, usually if you miss your ferry for reasons outside of P&O's control, you would be charged to transfer to the next ferry, depending on your ticket type.
If you miss your ferry, choose not to transfer onto the next ferry, and cancel your booking, whether you would be due a refund depends on what type of ticket you have. For example, P&O Ferries would only provide a refund in this scenario on 'Fully Flexi' tickets.
Your ticket refund rights if your ferry provider delays or cancels your crossing
Under UK law, if your ferry is delayed by 90 minutes or more, you should either be offered the choice to take the next available ferry or a full refund, if the delay is the ferry provider's fault. If the next available ferry is overnight, you should be provided with accommodation.
If the delay or cancellation was the fault of the ferry provider, you may also be due compensation of between 25% and 50% of the ticket price depending on the length of your journey and how long you were delayed. We're checking if this is on top of a full ticket price refund if you choose not to travel.
Compensation and refunds won't, however, be due if if your ferry provider was delayed due to extraordinary and unforeseen events, such as poor weather conditions, strike action, or decisions taken by traffic management bodies or port authorities.
Contact your provider if you booked via a third party
If you booked your crossing via a third party, for example if you're on a package holiday, then contact them to ask about your rights as they should be the first port of call to try to put things right.
If you think you're being treated unfairly, check to see if the company you booked with is a member of ABTA. If it is, you can complain via the ABTA website.
If you have travel insurance, you may be able to recoup costs if you have travel disruption cover, which covers you if your trip is disrupted - but this will depend on what type of policy you have.
Trade body the Association of British Insurers told us that if your holiday travel is disrupted, you should first try and get a refund from from your transport provider, and then your accommodation provider or tour operator. Any bookings made through a credit or debit card may also be able to have costs recovered - see our Section 75 and Chargeback guides for further info on this.
The ABI added that some travel insurance policies do include cover for travel disruption when you can't recoup costs via other means. This typically covers certain non-refundable costs in specific circumstances - for example, if strike or industrial action, impacts your trip.
If in doubt, speak to your insurer to understand what your policy covers - though bear in mind that even if you're covered you'll likely have to pay an "excess" charge when making a claim.
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