COVID 19 may take its name from the year in which it was discovered, but the year that suffered its impact was 2020. One year on, and with travel restrictions still firmly in place, many of us can look back at the quiet hopefulness we shared that the virus would somehow not survive the warmer summer months. We were naive. But now we know better.
However, with immunisations on the way, you may be starting to wonder whether now is the time to book your next trip. Prices are slashed, deals are everywhere, and there may never be another opportunity in this lifetime to get quite so much travel bang for your lockdown buck. Do you risk booking the flights? What if your plans are cancelled? Let’s take a look (check out this infographic for further reading if you have suffered from a cancellation).
What if My Plans are Cancelled?
If you had your 2020 travel plans unceremoniously cancelled, you are not alone. If indeed you did go through that experience, you may have noticed that the travel companies were difficult to read. The message was somewhat mixed as company bosses tried to make sense of what was happening. Some airlines and hotels were outright difficult to contact, which didn’t help. But they were as ‘in the dark’ as the rest of us, and we can perhaps forgive the slow response to customers asking when their bookings would be either rescheduled or refunded.
These days, reaction times from booking companies are reduced and the response is more concrete. So, what can you expect? In general, your travel company is going to offer you one of two options.
First, you may be offered a refund (where you are legally entitled to one). Second, you may be offered the option of travel at a later date. Booking agents aren’t going to miss a trick here. They know you want to travel, and they know you are more likely to change and keep your booking if a few extras are thrown in.
Be careful, however, because once you accept any offer of compensation, you may find the refund route more difficult to take if you change your mind.
Refund vs Change of Plans (which is best?)
Coronavirus is proving a global challenge (keep up to date with virus numbers here for sober reading). If the virus has cancelled your travel plans, you may be wondering what to do about your booking. On the one hand, you could simply pursue a refund and consider the matter closed. Alternatively, you could listen to any offer of an alternative booking and consider whether the deal is suitable for you (in terms of letting the travel companies keep hold of your money on the expectation that the new plans will be able to go ahead).
It’s a dilemma. The best advice is to check whether your travel plans are covered by an insurer that will refund you if the travel company goes bust. Next, consider whether you are OK with letting your money rest in someone else’s account, or whether you’d like your money back, just to be safe. The choice is yours.