Due to catch a flight this week but worried about the weather? Travel agents offer their advice
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
This week's ice and snow has caused disruption for drivers and public transport – but what's your position if your train journey or flight plan has been disrupted because of bad weather?
For flights and package holidays, travel insurance is the key to claiming money back if your plans are hijacked by the weather.
However, with increasing numbers of people venturing abroad, research has shown that as many as one in four travellers do not take out insurance.
Daniel Adams, business development manager at One Traveller in Swaffham, said something as simple as checking the purchasing or insurance rights on your current account, paying through a credit card to offer more online protection, or paying for insurance with your airline, can increase your chances of reimbursement.
'The biggest thing is having insurance,' he said. 'When people book low cost airline holidays unfortunately the insurance is not going to get them out on another flight that day – it is just to be sure they are going to get their money back.
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'In terms of flight delays and cancellations, you are only entitled to a refund if it is the airline's fault, for example a mechanical failure. If it is weather-related, it is an insurance job.
'Tour operators like us are there to be contacted so we can call the airlines and rearrange everything for our customers.'
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Mr Adams said One Traveller had only had one of its package tours affected by the Beast from the East – a singles tour to Egypt – but that it had been able to rearrange regional connecting flights for all but two passengers, who were due to fly from Glasgow Airport.
He said for its other scheduled package holidays, the company's tour guides had been stationed at airports five hours before flights were due to leave – as opposed to the normal three – in case passengers arrived earlier than normal to avoid disruption.
Regional travel agent Premier Travel said a number of customers had been in touch about itineraries that had been affected by the weather.
Jamie Rogers, manager of Premier Travel's Reepham Road branch in Norwich, said the firm was making contact with all customers due to travel soon and checking in with airlines and tour operators on their behalf.
He said: 'People who have made their own independent arrangements should contact the service provider directly, who will be able to inform them of the next steps such travelling to an alternative airport, delaying travel until the next day or whether the flight has been cancelled.
'If your flight is operating, then you will be expected to check in as normal. What many people don't realise is if they don't turn up at the airport to check in, they will be considered a no-show and not eligible for a refund.
'Whether people receive a full refund due to bad weather all depends on how they booked. When you book a flight and then a hotel separately, you might get your money back for the cancelled flight but there is a chance the hotel will not refund you, as it was not their responsibility that the flight was cancelled.
'That's the advantage of booking through a travel agent – a package holiday is protected in the event of situations such as adverse weather so you will get your money back.'
Rail services across the region have been severely disrupted this week, with many services from Norwich to the coast unable to run. With services cancelled, delayed and revised, Greater Anglia lifted time restrictions on its tickets to enable travellers to use any service available.
If your train service is delayed you can claim compensation through the 'delay repay' scheme.