We may already have the answer to your question. If you can’t find an appropriate answer we advise contacting your Personal Travel Agent. In addition, we advise checking the FCDO, ABTA or Travel Health Pro websites. All sources of information are listed under ‘Updates & Sources’
How do I get in touch?
Your Personal Travel Agents are here to answer your questions. Please get in touch with them in the ususal way
Where can I find the latest travel advice?
We have listed a number of reliable sources within the ‘Updates & Sources’ section. We advise you check the FCDO for updates regularly: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Does Tier 3, 4, 5, Local or National Lockdown mean I am entitled to a refund?The Package Travel Regulations require the organiser to cancel and refund in certain circumstances and specifically if the package cannot be delivered. If the destination is on the FCDO list advising ‘against all but essential’ travel then the organiser must offer a cancellation option along with the option to change the booking. However more recently some organisers have offered the option to book and waiver that right, this is something to be aware of. Ultimately if the package can be provided there may be no refund offered and instead the organiser will attempt to get refunds from the airlines, hotelier and so on.
Do I need travel insurance?
We strongly advise that you purchase a substantial Travel Insurance Policy.
Do I need to get tested before I travel?
Some countries require the provision of a negative Covid-19 test. These tests are not available on the NHS and need to be sort privately. We advise you check the FCDO website where requirements for entry are clearly outlined & the information is updated regularly. This information may change between booking and travelling so we advise that you keep monitoring those pages: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional information is available on our dedicated ‘Testing’ page.
Will I need to self-isolate following international travel?The answer is dependent on where you are traveling back from and if they are part of the travel corridor list. We advise that you check the FCDO website regularly as countries territories and regions can be taken off or added to the travel corridor list at any time: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Please note that whilst isolation on arrival is likely to trigger the cancellation and refund option, isolation on return to the UK is very unlikely to mean the package cannot be provided and therefore the travel organiser is not expected to offer a free cancelation. If this presents an issue to you, please enquire as a change to a later date may be a better option.
Should I continue to make my holiday payments / clear my balance?We appreciate the uncertainty you may currently be feeling. We want to reassure you that we provide full financial protection for our package holidays. Holidays we sell as an agent come with protection for your money if it is a package holiday, single elements such as hotel or flight only are unlikely to have any financial protection.
You should continue to make payments / clear your balance within the specified time frames (see our T&C’s) If you were not to pay off your holiday within the specified time frame we or the supplier would unfortunately have to cancel your travel arrangements.
If I have to cancel my holiday what will the costs be?
When we act as the agent cancellations can only be accepted in accordance with the terms and conditions of supplier of your arrangements. The supplier may charge the cancellation charges shown in their booking conditions. In addition, we may also charge an administration fee of £25 per person. Please view our Agency T&Cs for further details: cooptravel.co.uk/information/terms-and-conditions/booking-terms-and-conditions/
When your Package Holiday Booking is with usSince we incur costs in cancelling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay a cancellation charge. Please view our T&C’s for further details: cooptravel.co.uk/information/terms-and-conditions/atol-booking-conditions/
If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of an insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. You can cancel your booking without paying cancellation charges if the performance of your package, or the carriage of passengers to your destination, is significantly affected by unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. If your holiday is covered by the ‘Co-op Holidays Promise’ you can cancel up to 6 weeks prior to travel and you will only lose the deposit you originally paid.
Can I reschedule my holiday?When we act as the agent we will try to assist but cannot guarantee that such requests will be met. Amendments can only be accepted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the supplier of your arrangements. In addition, we may also charge an administration fee of £25 per person. Further details are available in our T&C’s: cooptravel.co.uk/information/terms-and-conditions/booking-terms-and-conditions/
When your Package Holiday Booking is with us-If, after our confirmation invoice has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes, but it may not always be possible. Where we can make a change, we will charge for any cost we incur. We reserve the right to charge our own service or administration fee of £25 for any change in addition to those listed. Full details are available in our T&C’s: cooptravel.co.uk/information/terms-and-conditions/atol-booking-conditions/
If your holiday is covered by the ‘Co-op Holidays Promise’You will not be charged our usual administration fees. If you decide to change your plans the only costs that you will incur are those introduced by the travel suppliers, airlines, hoteliers etc. If prices increase or fall as a result of the change, you will either pay or receive the difference.
What happens if my holiday is affected by Coronavirus?
Rest assured if you have a booking with us that is then affected by Coronavirus our expert advisors will be contacting you to discuss your travel options following further confirmation from our operators.
What if I get sick while on holiday?
ABTA suggest before you travel, check that you can take out suitable travel insurance that covers your for Covid-19 related illnesses and ensure that it is in place as soon as you have booked your holiday. Keep the policy number and insurance phone number with you while on holiday and leave a copy of the policy with a family member or friend.
Check the Travel Health Pro website for the latest advice: travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/499/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice-for-travellers
What is a Refund Credit Note?A Refund Credit Note entitles you to rebook a holiday at a future date or receive a cash refund at the expiry date of the note. It also retains the financial protection that you had with your original booking.
If your original booking, for example a package holiday with flights, came with ATOL financial protection, the RCN will still provide this protection. If your original booking came with ABTA financial protection, for example a cruise holiday or other package holiday including rail or coach travel, the RCN will still provide this protection.
Refund Credit Notes may look different depending on your travel provider, but they should all comprise the following:
- An expiry date, which is the date to which your money is protected and is based on your travel company’s financial protection arrangements. You are entitled to re-book or have a cash refund by this date at the latest (if your original booking was for a package holiday).
- The value of the Refund Credit Note must be equal in value to the amount you paid for the original booking (or less the amount your travel provider has offered you as a part cash refund).
- The Refund Credit Note must include the original booking details and reference.
- The Refund Credit Note must not include any other amount offered as a rebooking incentive or other offer. Any such offers must be documented separately and are not covered by any scheme of financial protection.
- You should retain all previous booking documentation including booking confirmations, ATOL Certificates where appropriate and proofs of payment.
My Personal Travel Agent has offered me a Refund Credit Note instead of a cash refund. Should I accept this?
Thousands of customers have already amended and rebooked their holiday or have received a Refund Credit Note from their travel provider. If your original holiday was covered by a financial protection scheme (e.g. ATOL or ABTA), your Refund Credit Note is financially protected by ATOL or ABTA (whichever covered your original booking) in the event your travel business fails. It is important that your Refund Credit Note includes certain things, please see more detail on this there (see What is a Refund Credit Note above). If you are uncertain about accepting a Refund Credit Note, then talk to your travel provider about your options. ABTA can also provide information on these.
As a long-term member of ABTA, The Personal Travel Agents follow the rules for Refund Credit Note. If you have evidence that an agent is not following the above rules, in the first instance please contact your Personal Travel Agent
If I accept a Refund Credit Note, will I lose my right to a cash refund?No. A Refund Credit Note preserves your right to a cash refund, which can be redeemed at the latest at the expiry date of the note.
Your refund and the Package Travel Regulations (PTR)
The complication with the scale of the current refund position is that the travel organisers are also waiting for the funds back from airlines, hotels, transfers and tour providers. If the amount of refunds that are due were all paid over, within the 14 days as set out in the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), there wouldn’t have been enough time for the funds to have moved around from company to company.
Ultimately someone would fail in the chain and there would likely be a domino effect leaving customers without refunds and having to make a claim against the protection schemes that are in place.
Is a holiday voucher the same as a Refund Credit Note?No. A holiday voucher is different to a Refund Credit Note. Holiday vouchers, gift vouchers and other discount vouchers are not protected by the schemes of financial protection.
When can I redeem my Refund Credit Note for another holiday or cash refund?
Your Refund Credit Note should include an expiry date which is based on your travel company’s financial protection arrangements, or a date sooner than this.
The reason the dates will vary by provider is because some companies will have financial protection in place for their holidays for a longer period than others. The majority of holiday bookings are covered by ATOL. ABTA does not have the authority to set dates for when ATOL protection applies, this is set by the Civil Aviation Authority.
How is my money protected and why is it important?
The majority of package travel arrangements provided by ABTA Members are protected by either the CAA’s ATOL scheme or by the ABTA Bond of the Member company. Both the ATOL and ABTA schemes protect a refund that was due for a holiday that has not taken place if a travel company fails. You can check this for yourself on the ATOL Air Travel Trust Payment Policy, section 4.2 on page 28.
ABTA is an independent organisation, recognised by the UK Department for Business (BEIS) as an Approved Body under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. Some of our Members provide bonds through one of the other two Approved Bodies – ABTOT or the CPT Bonded Coach Holidays schemes. ABTA accepts the use of both of these schemes for our Members. Some Members also use financial failure insurance products rather than Bonds. These are also permitted under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. ABTA checks that all these are in place and monitors them, so that customers do not have to do so when booking with an ABTA Member. Further information on the ATOL scheme can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website.
Where can I get a Test & how much do they cost?
We have compiled some resources related to ‘Testing’ on our dedicated page. There are a number of private businesses that offer this service.
Will I lose my money/holiday if my test doesn't come back in time or is positive?
It is your responsibility in ensuring you have the correct tests conducted within the specified time frames for the country you are travelling to. Tour operators may have different terms & conditions in relation to a positive test result and subsequent next steps. We advise you check with your tour operator and we are happy to assist.
Can I use an NHS test?Covid-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS. You will need to arrange a test privately.
Can I get a test at the airport?
There are testing facilities available at some UK airports. Further details are available on our dedicated ‘Testing’ page.
Will you be able to go out and eat normally? What are the rules for eating out in bars and restaurants abroad with Covid safety in mind?
Different countries might have different rules, make sure you follow the advice of the local public health authority. Any measures in place are designed to keep you and the local people safe. The FCDO website is a handy place to keep up to date on this kind of thing.
What if the country I'm visiting doesn't require a Covid-19 test but then introduces it as a requirement. Will I be allowed to amend my holiday or have a refund?
We advise you check with the operator / supplier of the holiday as their booking terms may differ, in addition to offering varying levels of flexibility to amend or refund.
If your holiday is covered by the ‘Co-op Holiday Promise’ you can amend with no administration fees & cancel 6 weeks prior to travel and only lose the deposit originally paid.
Are bars, shops & restaurants open at the airport?
Prepare for the potential situation where limited shops are open as well as limited food & drink vendors. We advise you check the website of the airport you are travelling from for confirmation.
What is the process going through the airport?
Each airport may be operating slightly differently from one another. Generally, you should expect social distancing, directions of flow, temperature checks, increased check-in times & stricter hygiene / cleaning measures.
We advise that you check the website of the airport you will be traveling from. The link below will take you to the Birmingham Airport updates page as an example: birminghamairport.co.uk/covid-19-updates-and-advice/
Will airlines still offer food and drink on board?
Every airline will operate slightly varied onboard protocols. Be prepared for limited or no onboard service. We advise you check with the airline you are due to fly with.
Do I need to wear a mask on the aircraft?
You will be required to wear a face covering onboard the aircraft. You can remove your face covering to communicate with someone who relies on lip reading, to avoid harm or injury, take medication and eat or drink, if reasonably necessary.
ABTA guidance for staying safe on holiday: abta.com/tips-and-advice/staying-safe-on-holiday
The latest advice from the Government on safe air travel is available at: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-air-travel-guidance-for-passengers