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Archive for August, 2010

CAA travel arrangement for Kiss Flight customers

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

These are the CAA arrangements for those caught up in the collapse of Kiss Flights and its owner Flight Options:

THOSE ABROAD – There are around 13,000 people currently overseas. All of them will be able to complete their holidays and return to the UK. Flight Options sold charter flights to Mediterranean destinations, under Atol number 4233, mainly through travel agents. The CAA will be arranging repatriation for all Flight Options customers in line with the scheduled end of their holiday. They should check-in for return flights as normal.

THOSE WITH FORWARD BOOKINGS – These total around 60,000 and they will be able to claim a full refund for the Atol-protected elements of their holidays from the CAA. These people should not travel on booked holidays after 6pm today but instead make a claim.

THOSE DUE TO FLY TODAY – Flight Options/Kiss Flights’ customers with flights leaving the UK before 6pm today will fly as planned. Passengers should go to the airport and check in as normal.

ARE PEOPLE PROTECTED? – In order for customers to determine whether they are Atol-protected or not, they should check that they booked a flight with Flight Options/Kiss Flights. To do this, customers should check the invoice/receipt received at the time the booking was made and paid for.

CONTACT DETAILS – Atol-protected Flight Options customers who are currently abroad and experiencing difficulties should contact the CAA for more information on 0044 161 444 5811. Those with forward bookings requiring general advice about refunds under the Atol scheme can contact the CAA on 0844 571 7262.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Kiss Flights failure underlines need for holiday protection

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

If holidaymakers heading abroad were in any doubt of the need to have their trips fully financially protected, then the collapse of London-based Kiss Flights should have convinced them. Fortunately for the thousands already away on Kiss Flights-arranged trips and the thousands more with forward bookings, the company’s operations were covered. This financial protection came in the form of the Atol (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) system which is run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Under the Atol scheme, the CAA is able to arrange for Kiss Flights’ customers to carry on with their foreign holidays and be flown home while offering compensation to those with forward bookings.

Normally, if people buy a package holiday which involves air travel they will be covered in the event of a company collapse. The difficulty comes when a trip is not Atol-protected. For instance, some flight-only and some accommodation-only holidays will not be covered by the Atol scheme. To make things even more complicated for confused consumers, their payment method may determine whether they are financially protected. If people, say, book a flight-only trip and pay for it using a debit card then it is unlikely they will be covered should their airline cease trading. However, if they have used a Visa debit card they will be covered, as they will if they use most credit cards.

Some travel insurance policies provide protection but you need to search around.  Known as Dynamic Packaging Protection, these policies will pay out up to a specified amount for costs not covered by schemes such as ABTA and ATOL and is well worth having.  Travelandinsure.com offers such protection on its Gold policies.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel costs increase to visit USA

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Britons travelling to the United States will have to pay £9 to apply for permission to enter the country using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) from September 2010.  The fee is being levied for all passengers using the compulsory online pre-approval scheme that is replacing green I-94W visa waiver forms.

Prospective visitors must pay a $14 (£9) fee from Sept 8th, which US officials said would go to a fund to promote tourism. ESTA applies to nationals of all 36 countries, mostly western, that enjoy visa waiver status, the system that allows tourists to enter the US without a full travel visa. Visitors to the US, who need a visa, pay a fee starting from $140 (£85), depending on the nature of their trip.

An approval from ESTA is valid for two years and can be used for repeated visits to the US. Around four million Britons visit the US each year. The online system has been introduced in phases since 2008 and is now compulsory for all tourists, who must submit their approval reference number to their airline at least 72 hours prior to check-in.

There is no such equivalent fee for United States tourist visitors to the UK. It remains to be seen whether the impact of paying for an ESTA will put of travellers from visiting the USA.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

EHIC does not replace travel insurance

Friday, August 6th, 2010

With around 25% of people travelling abroad without travel insurance, it is worth asking why?   One reason is a view that the EHIC, short for European Health Insurance Card, will provide cover in case of needing medical treatment abroad.   Yes, up to a point, so do you actually need to take out travel insurance?   Well, simply put, you need both if you are planning to travel abroad.   One does not replace the other.

First of all what is EHIC?  The EHIC has replaced the old E111 form which is no longer valid.   Do make sure you get your EHIC before you travel.   Application forms are readily available from Post Offices and you can also apply online through the Department of Health website.   EHIC is valid throughout the EU and a number of other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechenstein.   Should you be suddenly taken ill or have an accident in any of these countries, then the EHIC will entitle you, in most cases, to free, or at a reduced cost, necessary medical treatment.

Do remember, however, that an EHIC does not cover you for all the medical costs that you can incur or for your repatriation; it is not an alternative to medical insurance and to go abroad without appropriate medical cover, as provided by most travel insurance policies, is probably as close to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ as you can get.

Furthermore, an EHIC does not cover you outside the areas described and although the UK has mutual agreements with many countries, these arrangements don’t cover all expenses you can incur.   You may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs, a prime example is the USA and Canada where medical treatment is expensive and, increasingly, there are many other countries that fall into this category.   So we do recommend that before you travel that you always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination.

The Foreign Office advises that the level of cover should be at least £1 million for Europe or £2 million for the rest of the world but most travel insurance policies now offer cover beyond these figures and £5 million is becoming quite standard and even higher figures are commonplace.   As with all insurances where health cover is required, there may be restrictions because of a particular medical condition for example, which may result in a higher premium to be paid.   At the end of the day though, what you are paying for is ‘peace of mind’ and that is why it is so important to make sure you get cover before you go.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specilaist in ethical travel insurance.

Ten tips for Gap Year Travel Insurance

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Planning a gap year? Then here are a few useful tips to make sure you get the cover you need.

Tip 1.  Emergency Medical Expenses covers emergency treatment and to get you back home if necessary. Make sure you have this cover, if nothing else.

Tip 2.  If you have a medical condition(s), do tell the Insurance Company as they may decline any claim if you don’t.

Tip 3.  Check the amount insured for cancellation is enough. Some Gap Year trips can cost a lot more than the insurance cover provided.

Tip 4.  Check you have cover for an Airline going bust and if the Foreign Commonwealth Office warn travellers to not go to a country you are planning to visit.

Tip 5.  Get a policy that provides Personal Liability cover, just in case you accidentally harm someone or something and make sure it does not exclude harming a travelling companion under the Personal liability section and also that it does cover damage to accommodation.

Tip 6.  Get Gap Year insurance that covers working/volunteering and watch the small print as some will cover working but not if being paid, and some cover work but exclude many types of job.

Tip 7.  Pick the highest grouping of the sports or activity you think you might do or choose a Gap Year Policy that covers all unplanned sports and activities.

Tip 8.  Check how much kit you’ve got, and then check the cover provided under personal effects. Many items could be excluded, especially electrical items e.g. laptops, camera’s, etc.

Tip 9.  Buy Gap Year and Backpacker Insurance when you book your flight/trip so you are immediately covered if you have to cancel due to illness.

Tip 10.  Take two copies of your insurance documents. Leave one at home, take one with you and maybe scan into an internet document safe.

Tip Plus one!  For parents, a family annual multi-trip policy is for short trips, usually holidays and generally under 31 days for each trip and so is not suitable for extended period away or gap year durations.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Steep rise in travel insurance fraud

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The latest figures released  by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that travel insurance fraud has quadrupled since 2005. According to the ABI, in 2005 British holidaymakers made fraudulent claims totalling £1.42 million, a figure that had risen to £5.1 million in 2009.

Claims handling companies have become more fraud aware and are now primed to spot “telltale signs” of false claims, sometimes using voice monitoring equipment when dealing with individual claimants, to limit the widespread travel claim abuse. But insurance fraud is on the rise with many customers pretending that possessions, such as expensive cameras and iPods, have been stolen overseas, while others are upping the value of what has been stolen in the case of genuine theft.

 As the losses are abroad and police overseas are often not interested in investigating, people can claim possessions have gone missing. Some travellers who realise that they cannot afford holidays booked earlier in the year are believed to be cancelling trips, after feigning illness and tricking doctors into issuing certificates stating that they are unwell. Most travel insurance policies offer cancellation refunds when a traveller falls ill before a trip.

Sadly, if someone commits fraud, it’s honest customers who end up paying in the form of higher premiums.

This article is brought you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance