Holidaymakers’ fury as they battle to refund and rebook trips over fears Portugal will extend travel ban

FURIOUS holidaymakers now face a battle for refunds and to rebook trips over fears Portugal will extend its travel ban for UK tourists.

Despite the country being added to the UK green list, allowing quarantine-free travel from May 17, current EU restrictions may still ban Brits from entering the country.

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Holidaymaker spoke to Sue Flynn on BBC Breakfast this morning

Reports suggest Portugal may not open its borders to UK holidaymakers until May 30, putting trips, including for the Champions League final in Porto, in jeopardy.

Now, Brits are turning to travel firms asking for their money back as they no longer feel like the trip will be allowed to go ahead.

Travel companies don’t have to issue refunds if you decide not to go on the trip – you’ll only get your money back if the firm cancels it.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, holidaymakers Sue and Sean Flynn, both 55, from Leeds, said the situation was “really frustrating”.

Sue told BBC Breakfast’s Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty her holiday to Faro now hangs in the balance

Travel: What are your rights to a refund?

MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled. Here's what to do if you're affected.

Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.

You are entitled to a cash refund if it’s cancelled your holiday but many have large delays processing cash or may offer vouchers instead.

If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.

Keep in mind travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCDO advice changed, otherwise you won’t be covered.

If you don’t have travel insurance or the excess on your insurance is so high it’s not worth claiming, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees.

The married couple, who own a holiday business in Kalkan, Turkey, had been hoping to fly to Faro with Ryanair next Friday.

“We’ve had four flights cancelled, and when we thought that Portugal was going on the green list, we thought, well, we’ll change to there,” Sue said.

“But unfortunately this has come along, to throw a curveball, and here we are again looking at potentially cancelled flights – it’s really frustrating.”

TUI warned they may be forced to cancel flights, telling Sky News: “We will only take people on holiday if FCDO travel advice allows and borders are open. We therefore await an update from Portuguese officials.

Alamy
Brits face mass flight cancellation due to the Portugal border closure[/caption]
Reuters
It was hoped that holidays to Portugal could resume from Monday after the country was added to the UK green list[/caption]

“Should both of the above not be in place on the 17th May we will cancel flights and offer customers a full refund, or let them change to another holiday for free.”

However, easyJet has told passengers that they still plan to resume flights from Monday.

Confused and frustrated customers have taken to Twitter to try and rearrange their trips.

One easyjet customer said: “Due to the news on Portugal not [allowing] tourists in due to state of calamity being extended – can you advise if there is an option to cancel now?

“Due to go 31st and don’t want to buy all the covid tests with uncertainty. I would rather cancel now.”

Another asked Airbnb whether it would extend it’s flexible cancellation policy.

Earlier today, Brits took to Twitter to ask travel firms what their policies will be if Portugal had extended a UK travel ban

In the event Brits’ holidays can’t go ahead, a Ryanair customer asked the airline: “I hope you will refund tickers and be clear about the rules when advertising this kind of events.”

Tommy asked TUI if he will be refunded in full if the ban is extended.

Portuguese MP Cristovao Norte said a decision should be taken “immediately” over whether British tourists can travel to Portugal from May 17.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We are today going to make an urgent inquiry asking the (Portuguese) government whether or not the English travel can come to Portugal next Monday because we are three days ahead from 17th and no one is sure what is going to happen.”

Asked if the decision could change between now and Monday, he said: “It’s possible but I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

“Yesterday there was a council of ministers and the minister responsible told the press they didn’t have a definitive decision.”  

The UK could be added to the EU’s travel green list from next week, the Sun revealed yesterday, with diplomats set to meet on Monday to discuss the blueprint.

Only 12 countries are currently on the green list
Only 12 countries are currently on the green list

However, ambassadors from the EU27 will then gather on Wednesday when they could rubber stamp it – which is still too late for Portugal holidaymakers hoping to visit from Monday.

Eurocrats have said the plan should be adopted by the end of this month “at the latest”.

Portugal’s lockdown extension could also wreck plans to hold the Champions League final in Porto on May 29.

Up to 20,000 Man City and Chelsea fans are planning to descend on the country for the all-English final.

Nervous Brits have taken to social media, fearing last-minute cancellations.

One person wrote: “I am due to travel on 28th to Madeira and literally paid for our testing kits two days ago. No idea what’s going on.”

Another person asked: “I have a flight to Portugal Monday it is illegal to go there so why I am I being charged to change it.”

Only four of the countries on the green list are welcoming Brits, with destinations including Australia and New Zealand not opening their borders to tourists.

While Brits won’t have to quarantine when returning to the UK from a green destination, a pre-arrival test and a Covid test on day two are still required.

The rest of Europe is on the amber list, which requires a 10-day home quarantine.

 

 



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