Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Going abroad?

Two things to think about if you are leaving our shores. Firstly, the banks seem to have started implementing differing degrees of security on use of their debit and credit cards in foreign countries, varying from nothing to a full block. The BBC News article "Telling your bank you are travelling abroad" gives some background information, but if you are going somewhere different this year, it may pay you to warn your bank in advance!

Secondly, a timely and topical piece from the Citizens Advice Bureau:

Know your rights when it comes to flights!

Hopefully, if you are going on holiday this summer, you will have a wonderful time and get the rest and relaxation you deserve. However, should your flight be subject to delays, it’s useful to know your rights.

The existing legislation applies to all flights departing from or flying to a European Union airport via an EU airline.

If your flight is cancelled or changed within 14 days of your journey, for reasons other than ‘extraordinary circumstances’ (see below), then you have the right to a refund or alternative transportation, as well as compensation. You can claim up to €600 depending on the notice of cancellation, your flight distance and how much delay you suffer. Since November 2009 you could also be entitled to compensation, as well as meals, drinks, two phone calls (or emails, faxes etc) and accommodation if necessary, if your flight is delayed.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as extreme weather, strikes or security risks, you won’t be entitled to compensation. The airline should book you onto the next available flight, or offer a refund if your flight is delayed by more than 5 hours, but only if you decide not to travel. You may be entitled to receive catering, communication and accommodation assistance if your flight is delayed for a number of hours or eventually cancelled.

If you are on a package holiday, the travel company must follow arrangements set out in the travel brochure to cover delays. If they don’t, you may be able to claim a refund and/or compensation.

The Civil Aviation Authority website offers more info at: www.caa.co.uk. If you believe you are entitled to compensation but the airline or tour operator denies responsibility you should see an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau, ( for Thame CAB, telephone 01844 217186).