To help direct your query as efficiently as possible, please refer to the key information below;
Note to customers
As the ability to travel overseas to enjoy holidays finally becomes possible again, there are some important points that we feel we should bring to your attention. The following information is provided as a general guide as in not specific to your booking more general observations and points to consider. Specific information relating to the travel and accommodation that may be provided in your arrangements may be available and a good starting point is the websites for those suppliers, that may be airlines, cruise lines or hotel websites.
The world is opening but is quite different.
Whilst we are all excited that the ‘new normal’ is ahead of us, it is important to point out that your experience of travelling will likely be quite different to the last time you went overseas. From airports to transfer coaches, taxis locally and the facilities you enjoy in your hotel, there will be many changes, some slight and to be expected some more noticeable. You may be required to carry face masks and wear them at different times, for customers who have pre booked specific seats on a plane for example, you may find that the airline is adopting an approach to take some seats out of service to manage social distancing. In the hotels you may find the meal arrangements include stipulations to pre book to manage the number of people gathered together.
Whilst all of these alterations will have some impact on your experience, this may be the ‘new normal’ and whilst we appreciate this may change how you feel about your holiday, most Tour Operators don’t class this as something that entitles customers to cancel their arrangements without forfeiting cancellation charges.
We do understand that some of our customers may prefer to defer their arrangements to a later date and we will do whatever we can to accommodate this. Charges incurred in any change are likely to be made and the terms of the various Tour Operators and travel suppliers would be discussed with you before agreeing to proceed.
When we have organised a package we follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice, most Tour Operators do the same, and we observe their guidance when we determine if arrangements can go ahead or not. The travel entry requirements are listed on each countries specific page and we urge all customers to keep checking that information when making their decision around travelling and how safe it is, we cannot give you the answer and each customer must make their own decision based on the various information available, we will however ensure we signpost to the information to help you make our calculated decision.
Both these website may be useful:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice This is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, which since the Coronavirus outbreak began has been offering British nationals advice. Initially with advice to some countries saying that you shouldn’t travel unless it is essential (you have to be the judge of what is essential) and later to advise “against all but essential travel” to any overseas destination. This will slowly reax and each country will have its own specific guidance.
https://reopen.europa.eu/en This is the European Unions website which has more information compiled by the EU from the data provided by each member state. If you are travelling to a non-EU Destination this site won’t be relevant.
We've been working hard to ensure your holiday can go ahead as smoothly and safely as possible, in-line with official government guidelines.
Your health and holiday experience are our top priority, so rest assured you're in safe hands.
Click here to get FCO advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice. We advise all customers to visit the official gov.uk website here
To help reduce the risk of infection and to keep you and airport staff safe, a number of additional measures have been introduced at some airports. Social distancing won’t always be possible in an airport environment, but please keep a safe distance between you and other people whenever possible. The following other measures are likely to be in place to keep you safe:
For further information specific to your airport please use these links
Manchester Airport Click here
Birmingham Airport Click here
Gatwick Airport Click here
Heathrow Airport Click here
Luton Airport Click here
Stansted Airport Click here
Bristol Airport Click here
Cardiff Airport Click here
East Midlands Airport Click here
Leeds Bradford Airport Click here
Liverpool Airport Click here
Newcastle Airport Click here
Glasgow Airport Click here
Edinburgh Airport Click here
The impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the travel industry and the suppliers who provide services to create a package holiday has been extensive.
There have been necessary changes to how Co-operative Travel issue refunds to customers for their cancelled holiday arrangements. During this time refunds are taking longer than usual, and we thank you for your patience.
If you have booked a package including an element of transport, such as a flight, train, cruise, ferry, it is important that you know that your money is safe and you are financially protected from the financial failure of any of the suppliers, or indeed ourselves as your Travel Agent, or Organiser.
If your booking is cancelled because the FCO advise against travel, you are entitled to a refund, but you may need to be patient with the unfolding refund process. It will be dependent upon the tour operator on your booking.
We operate mainly as a travel agent, where we sell other companies’ holidays in the capacity of an agent. This means we can offer to you the consumer a wide range of travel arrangements rather than being limited to just offering one company in the main. When we collect money from you, it is paid over to the travel organiser. If the arrangements are cancelled and a refund is applicable, we must receive the money back from the supplier in order to hand it back to you.
A Refund Credit Note entitles you to rebook a holiday at a future date or receive a cash refund at the expiry date of the note. It also retains the financial protection that you had with your original booking.
If your original booking, for example a package holiday with flights, came with ATOL financial protection, the RCN will still provide this protection. If your original booking came with ABTA financial protection, for example a cruise holiday or other package holiday including rail or coach travel, the RCN will still provide this protection.
Refund Credit Notes may look different depending on your travel provider, but they should all comprise the following:
Thousands of customers have already amended and rebooked their holiday or have received a Refund Credit Note from their travel provider. If your original holiday was covered by a financial protection scheme (e.g. ATOL or ABTA), your Refund Credit Note is financially protected by ATOL or ABTA (whichever covered your original booking) in the event your travel business fails. It is important that your Refund Credit Note includes certain things, please see more detail on this there (see What is a Refund Credit Note above). If you are uncertain about accepting a Refund Credit Note, then talk to your travel provider about your options. ABTA can also provide information on these.
As a long term member of ABTA, Co-op Travel follow the rules for Refund Credit Note. If you have evidence that an agent is not following the above rules, in the first instance please contact our Customer Support team. firstname.lastname@example.org
No. A Refund Credit Note preserves your right to a cash refund, which can be redeemed at the latest at the expiry date of the note.
The complication with the scale of the current refund position is that the travel organisers are also waiting for the funds back from airlines, hotels, transfers and tour providers. If the amount of refunds that are due were all paid over, within the 14 days as set out in the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), there wouldn’t have been enough time for the funds to have moved around from company to company.
Ultimately someone would fail in the chain and there would likely be a domino effect leaving customers without refunds and having to make a claim against the protection schemes that are in place.
No. A holiday voucher is different to a Refund Credit Note. Holiday vouchers, gift vouchers and other discount vouchers are not protected by the schemes of financial protection.
Your Refund Credit Note should include an expiry date which is based on your travel company’s financial protection arrangements, or a date sooner than this.
The reason the dates will vary by provider is because some companies will have financial protection in place for their holidays for a longer period than others. The majority of holiday bookings are covered by ATOL. ABTA does not have the authority to set dates for when ATOL protection applies, this is set by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The majority of package travel arrangements provided by ABTA Members are protected by either the CAA’s ATOL scheme or by the ABTA Bond of the Member company. Both the ATOL and ABTA schemes protect a refund that was due for a holiday that has not taken place if a travel company fails. You can check this for yourself on the ATOL Air Travel Trust Payment Policy, section 4.2 on page 28.
ABTA is an independent organisation, recognised by the UK Department for Business (BEIS) as an Approved Body under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. Some of our Members provide bonds through one of the other two Approved Bodies – ABTOT or the CPT Bonded Coach Holidays schemes. ABTA accepts the use of both of these schemes for our Members. Some Members also use financial failure insurance products rather than Bonds. These are also permitted under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. ABTA checks that all these are in place and monitors them, so that customers do not have to do so when booking with an ABTA Member. Further information on the ATOL scheme can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website.
We are keeping in touch with all of the travel organisers we work with to make sure refunds are received as quickly as possible although there has been a call to government to permit that refunds should be made in the form of a Refund Credit Note, effectively delaying the refund to allow the companies involved to work through the administrative tasks to get funds back to the customer.
The Refund Credit Note would be redeemable against a future booking and there may be a option to exchange for cash at a later point (on or before March 31st 2021 is likely).
It is important to note that the value would remain protected against the original booking to keep consumer financial protection in place, so your investment remains protected.
Due to the changes to businesses around the world from reduced staffing levels, offices being unavailable and the additional loss of new sales whilst consumers are coming to terms with the changes on their own circumstances, there is inevitable disruption and we would ask for your understanding of these facts.
Sometimes when we sell travel arrangements to our customers, we become the organiser as dictated by the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), and so the responsibilities and obligations fall to us.
We will do our very best ensure that refunds are provided but we rely on our third-party travel partners to make that possible. This may mean you are provided with a Refund Credit Note until cash is received back from airlines, hoteliers etc. The Refund Credit Note may be redeemed for a cash refund at a later date if you are unable to use the Refund Credit Note in the meantime (We are working with 31st March 2021 to redeem or exchange).
The information from many of the travel suppliers involved in the holidays we sell is changing from day to day, which in turn means it is difficult for us to be able to give clear and absolute guidance to our customers and would thank you for your patience as the refund process evolves.
Page updated: 21/04/2020 11:00