Sun Sea Sand and Stress

Now is the time of year when we start thinking of golden beaches and long hot days on some distant shore, where the only decisions are about when to have the first cocktail of the evening. But getting to that idyllic spot is not without its hazards, and rather that lowering stress levels the travel experience can end up doing the opposite.

The most frustrating and commonly experienced problem for most holiday goers is the delayed flight. Some relief may be on the way however.

Until now it was quite difficult to get any form of compensation from an airline for a delayed flight. A recent survey has shown that airlines turn down over 90% of legitimate claims which are then not pursued by passengers.

A recent ruling by the European Commission may change all that. A delayed traveller now has a better chance of winning a claim because the definition of delay has been changed in the travellers favour. Although compensation is not huge ( mosts cases will be worth a few hundred pounds), there will at least be some reward for unnecessary flight disruption.

Problems can of course arise when you get to your holiday destination as well.

Holiday contracts are in a special category in that the fundamental purpose of a holiday is for the holiday goer to enjoy their break. If this does not happen the holiday provider may be liable for breach of contract.

If the brochure/travel agent does not paint a true picture of what you can expect, then the tour operator may well be liable for breach of contract

Your compensation should be based on the reduced value of your holiday. Rarely is the full value of the holiday refunded, unless there has been complete failure to provide a holiday, and usually a refund  of a percentage of the cost will be awarded.

Accidents.

What if you have been injured on holiday? Balcony falls and diving accidents are all too frequent. Road accidents either on bus transfers or in hire cars are also very common.

If you booked a package holiday ie accommodation and travel together then you would be covered by the Package Holiday Regulations. This allows a consumer to bring a claim against the Tour Operator instead of the hotel owner. Court proceedings can be brought in this country, even though the case would be judged using local safety standards.

Tim Quinn is a Partner in the Litigation department of Howard and Over LLP

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