Thursday, 29 Oct 2020

Coronavirus: Holiday firms urged to refund customers who cannot travel due to local lockdowns

Travel firms have been criticised for refusing to refund holidaymakers who have had to cancel their plans due to local lockdown rules.

Lyndon Brooks, who lives with his wife and two children in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said he was set to lose £2,000 because his travel company would not refund the money.

He was due to fly to Turkey from Birmingham Airport on 6 October after booking the flight as part of a package holiday with Jet2.

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But the 37-year-old said he was now unable to visit the airport without breaking the law due to coronavirus lockdown rules in his hometown.

Mr Brooks spoke out after Gerald Jones, the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, said a “number of his constituents” had contacted him about the issue.

Mr Jones added that he believed it was “completely unacceptable” for those “subject to local restrictions” to be “penalised in this way”.

COVID-19 measures imposed by the Welsh government on Tuesday mean people can only leave Merthyr Tydfil if they have a “reasonable excuse”.

The restrictions are under review.

Mr Brooks, who was due to travel with his wife and two children, told Sky News: “Jet2 have said the flight is still flying and you won’t be entitled to a refund.

“They told me to check with my insurance company.

“I checked with my insurance company, and I had COVID insurance but a local lockdown isn’t covered in it.

“It’s the first time I’ve used Jet2 to be honest with you, and this will be the last time I ever use them.”

He added that the company had said it would charge him £700 to delay the holiday until next year.

Mr Brooks added: “We can’t get to the airport because of the lockdown but Jet2 is saying that the flight is still going.

“They’re not concerned about local lockdowns.

“It’s not about the holiday it’s about having my money back.

“It is what it is with the holiday – it’s my money that we both worked hard for and saved for a holiday, and then all of a sudden I could be £2,000 out of pocket.”

He said he believed the lockdown in Merthyr Tydfil would be in place for at least another two weeks – and was likely to last for up to two months after that.

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Mr Jones said in a statement: “It’s completely unacceptable for people subject to local restrictions who clearly want to do the right thing to be penalised in this way, and holiday companies must respect the decisions of devolved and local authorities taken in the interests of public health, and their standing in UK law.

“A number of constituents have contacted me about this issue, and last week I joined with fellow Welsh Labour MPs in writing to the UK government urging them to act now. I have also written to the prime minister today following my question to him in parliament, and I hope he will now take action to clarify that these restrictions have full force in UK law, and offer clear instructions to holiday companies to do the right thing.”

Sky News has contacted Jet2 for a comment.

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