Delayed flights and overbookings. On a regular or a non-regular flight, "The carrier is liable for damages occasioned by delay in the transportation by air of passengers, baggage or cargo" (Warsaw Convention, Art.19). Furthermore, since the new European Legislation established on the 17th of February 2005, in the situation of a denied boarding (due to overbooking), the passenger has the right to:
either choose a full refund of the flight's ticket, or accept another flight to the final destination in the best delays or at a later date, as well as conserving the right to legally demand a compensation for financial or moral prejudice.
Namely to receive an immediate financial compensation in function of the flight's distance. It can be 200 pounds for a journey under 930 miles, 320 pounds for a journey between 930 and 2,150 miles and 480 pounds for a journey over 2,150 miles long.
Finally, the carrier must take care of food and accommodation for the passenger waiting for a later flight.
Concerning delays, the new legislation provides a compensation if the delay is over 5 hours. It consists of a ticket refund, with a return to the passenger's departure point, or a flight replacement. Furthermore, as soon as the delay is over 2 hours, the company must assume the passenger's food and accommodation expenses if necessary.
href="http://www.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/html/oservice/droits.htmComplete text of the passenger's rights
In the case of a contestation, the passenger can refer to, either the local court of the carrier's headquarters or of the agency who sold the ticket, or the destination's local court. If this approach does not work, the client must contact the Aviation Authorities, with a copy of the flight ticket and boarding card. Civil Aviation Authority, 45-59 Kingway, London, WC2B 6TE. Tel: 020 7379 9311.
Tour Operator problems
The agency is responsible for the application of all obligations foreseen in the contract (transport, hotel, location). If during the holiday certain activities are not on offer, the agency must propose alternative solutions (for example: a windsurf course in replacement of a diving one). It will have to pay for any additional expenses or refund you if the activity is less expensive. If you refuse the alternative solution, the agency should provide you with transport tickets, at no extra cost, to ensure your return or an alternative destination chosen by both the agency and yourself. In the case of a bad service (hotel in construction, a "beautiful beach" turns out to be a "sand pit"), get as much evidence as you can (photos, testimonies, dated documents, brochures, etc...) in order to prove the litigation. First, try and find a friendly agreement with the local agency representation. If no solution can be found whilst you are there or upon return, then contact a consumers association.
A deposit confirms a reservation (25% of the holiday's price). In principle, if you cancel, you lose your deposit. Some hotels partially or totally refund the deposit, in function of the cancelation reason (illness, deceased kin...) or because they can let the room easily, but there is no obligation. If the hotel cancels or the booked room is unavailable and that he doesn't find a satisfying solution, he then has to refund double the amount of the room. In case of litigation, contact the Enquiries Unit, Office of Fair trade, Fleetbank House, 2 - 6 Salisbury Square, London, EC4Y 8JX. Tel: 08454 040506.
Upon arrival, signal anything that is wrong to the owner (person or professional) with whom you have signed the contract in order to find a friendly solution. If the information given is wrong (far from the sea, one room instead of two, no fridge...) or they have forgotten to signal certain problems (airport proximity, hazardous electric installation) contact the OFT. Otherwise, get evidence (photos, testimonies), refuse to pay the balance and avoid taking possession of the premises.
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/, You can find travel advice for British travellers on staying safe abroad and help in case something goes wrong. Consular services: 020 7008 1500 in case of genuine emergency out of hours.
Trading Standards Institute (TSI): UK European Consumer Centre, 1 Sylvan Court, Sylvan Way, Southfields Business Park, Basildon, Essex SS15 6TH. Tel: 08456 040503.Internet: http://www.ukecc.net/.
All travel advice