What you need to know if you’re flying abroad this summer

What you need to know if you're flying abroad this summer

Travelers have experienced months of disruption (Bloomberg via Getty)

Holidaymakers have been hit by months of travel chaos, with a spate of canceled flights costing many families thousands of pounds.

Demand has returned to pre-Covid levels, but airlines have suffered from staff shortages after laying off large numbers during the pandemic.

As a result, airports have canceled hundreds of flights during the busy summer time.

Airlines have now been urged to review their summer flight schedules to ensure they are “deliverable”.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re flying abroad this summer.

– What should I do if my flight is cancelled?

The airline has an obligation to its passengers to rebook them on another flight. The airline could see if flights are available later that day.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy PC Agency, which advises airlines around the world, said: “If you are contacted it is the airline’s duty to rebook you on another flight to the same destination that day – whether or not that is the case the case is with the same airline or a different company.’

Another option would be to fly the next day or days, but “a lot of people get frustrated with that and may choose to cancel,” according to Mr Charles.

?? Licensed to London News Pictures. 06/13/2022. Manchester, UK. Holidaymakers queue for check-in at Terminal 2 of Manchester Airport. Credit: Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP

Holidaymakers queue for check-in at Manchester Airport (Image: Ioannis Alexopoulos/LNP)

– Should I consider getting a refund or compensation?

If a UK or EU based airline changes your flight or its time, you are entitled to a refund or compensation.

Mr Charles described the relevant rules as “rather complex”.

He said an airline could potentially claim the delay was out of their control and they were under no obligation to compensate.

Mr Charles added: “If a flight is canceled more than two weeks before your departure date you are not entitled to any compensation.

“If it is canceled a week or even 24 hours before then you are entitled to compensation.”

Bristol Airport, North Somerset, UK. 13 June 2022. Holidaymakers and commuters flying from Bristol are once again encountering long queues before 4am. Bristol was recently ranked as one of the worst airports, according to a new study. The UK's best and worst airports ranking was compiled by a national newspaper. The authors of the study took the UK's 16 busiest airports and looked at everything from the layout of the terminals to WiFi connectivity and the likelihood of delays. // Lee Thomas, tel. 07784142973. Email: (0000635435)

Long queues at Bristol Airport (Image: LT1Media)

Many of the changes to proposed Gatwick flights apply to travel due to depart during the summer rush in July and August.

Mr Charles said: “Many people would be given a refund or the chance to fly at a later date. If you’re going to be traveling over the summer, you need to be on the lookout for changes in your plans now.”

– How can passengers prepare themselves so that they are not neglected by trip changes?

If you’re looking for travel insurance, you can get coverage that can cover the cost of cancellations rather than having to chase after an airline.

Mr Charles said it was “wise” to get the right travel insurance for your needs, as cancellations could involve costs for which airlines do not compensate.

For example, if you make a separate booking – say for a hotel, car rental, attractions or a day trip during your vacation – those matters may not be taken care of by an airline if a flight is cancelled.

The airline may only reimburse you for the airfare, but the insurance company can help reimburse you for other bookings that you have had to cancel.

– What do I do with the travel documents?

You should keep all documents and receipts related to your trip abroad. This is needed if a claim needs to be made at a later date.

Some recent holidaymakers whose outbound flights have arrived safely have been caught after throwing away receipts abroad, only to find their return journey to the UK had been delayed or cancelled, according to Mr Charles.

He suggests keeping “receipts for the entire holiday until you come back” and “anything related to the expenses you make”.

It is possible that you can reclaim part of a canceled trip.

– Is there anything else you can do to be a responsible passenger?

It is important to leave up-to-date contact details with the airline or tour operator you booked through.

Correct email and contact phone numbers are required if an airline needs to get in touch with you at short notice.

Mr Charles said: “One of the airlines’ frustrations is that a passenger may have booked but their contact details are out of date and although they may have tried they are unable to get in touch.

“As a passenger you have certain responsibilities and it is not fair to criticize the airline when they have the wrong information for you.”

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Justin Scacco

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