My number one choice for next Easter is Istanbul. There are very few cities in the world that combine such a deep and complex history, such a fascinating food culture, and a shopping experience to match the Grand Bazaar. Tourist numbers have been well down for the past couple of years and, while Turkey’s political problems are not over, the situation is much more stable now. Alternatively, Marrakech is lovely in the spring sunshine and just over three hours’ flight away. St Petersburg is one of Europe’s great cultural centres, rates highly in our readers’ surveys and is an alluring introduction to Russia. It won’t be warm – expect temperatures peaking at about 46F (8C), but so many treasures are in its palaces and museums that the weather is unlikely to spoil your break.
Our cruise trip was cancelled, but the agent won’t refund our flights. Where do I stand?
In March a friend and I booked a holiday to Iceland over the telephone with Hays Travel, comprising flights, a night in a hotel in Reykjavik and a cruise around Iceland with Pro Cruises. We travelled out on Saturday Sept 15 and boarded our ship, the Ocean Diamond. Around 7pm that evening we were told that the ship had a broken propeller and the cruise was cancelled. We were given the choice of a tour by road or a full refund of the cruise.
We chose to take a refund. Pro Cruises would not help get us a flight home as our flights had not been booked through them. I contacted Hays Travel on its out-of-hours number but was told that the relevant staff did not work at weekends. We felt we had no alternative other than to sort out new flights ourselves. Pro Cruises did pay for our food and board over the weekend and we flew home two days later.
We have received a refund for the cruise and the unused hotel room, but we are out of pocket by about £1,000 for the original flights, the replacement return flight, transfers to Manchester airport and the cost of kennelling two dogs. Our insurers, the AA and Marks & Spencer, say we have no cover and Hays Travel and Pro Cruises say that they have no further liability. Can you advise how we can claim for our loss?
AMrs Hunt’s paperwork from Hays Travel appeared to show that she had bought a package holiday. As defined by the EU’s Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) this is a holiday where two or more elements (accommodation, flight, cruise, car hire and so on) are sold for a single “packaged” price. This was the case with Mrs Hunt’s holiday, which is described as a package and for which she made a single payment. However, she was issued with an
Atol Flight-Plus certificate, which only makes the agent responsible for the insolvency of the airline. In effect, her cruise and hotel comprised one contract and her flights another.
Hays Travel should have issued clearer paperwork and helped Mrs Hunt rebook her flights. Abta agreed on the need for clearer paperwork but said that it did show that Hays Travel was acting as agent.
Legally Hays Travel has a case here, but it has now repaid all of Mrs Hunt’s expenses. It is good to see an agent step up, but it also shows that further clarity is needed.
giving your full name and, if your query is about a dispute with a travel company, your address, telephone number and any booking reference. We regret that we cannot personally answer all the queries we receive, but your email will be acknowledged.
GREEK ODDYSEYNaoussa in Paros is an ideal base for island-hopping