CITY BREAKS

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

JANE FOS­TER

GREECE EX­PERT

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?

RUTH HUNT

QGILL CHARL­TON

CON­SUMER CHAM­PION

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.

to

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

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