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Archive for October, 2010

French strikes – Travel delay – what are my rights?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

A week that started with industrial action in Belgium, disupting Eurostar services to Brussels, now weary travellers are faced by a national strike across France disrupting travel and causing delays and cancellations. France has been hit by several coordinated strikes in the past two months in protest at proposed pension reforms that would increase the minimum retirement from 60 to 62 and this week’s escalation is a sign of more to come. Airlines running short-haul flights have been told to carry enough fuel for their return journeys, following strikes at a dozen of the country’s oil refineries. It is reported that around a quarter of petrol filling stations across the country have run dry. More flight and train cancellations and delays are expected.

For those flying from UK airports and who suffer delays or are stranded, then it’s useful to know what rights you have. Under the European directive of Air Passenger Rights, all EU operators have a duty of care to passengers and should be responding to claims for delay by providing at least food and drink vouchers for those caught up in the delays at the airports.   If you are stopped from boarding, you may be entitled to compensation between €125 and €600 depending on flight distance and the delays incurred when re-routed.  For long delays, you may request a refund of your ticket if the delay exceeds five hours, but only if you decide not to travel.

The only snag is that, as with so much EU legislation, what is given in one hand is often taken away in the other. Under these rules the airline can claim protection for delays relating to, yes that’s right “weather and strikes” amongst others. The protection the airlines have is a sting in the tail for passengers as losses from “Weather, Air Traffic Problems, Security & Safety, Political Unrest, and Strikes, are reasons why an airline will not pay out compensation to travellers. So all WASPS have a sting in their tails!

So what about travel insurance? Under the delay section of a policy, most insurers will give some benefit for periods of delay faced at the airport. For those facing longer delays, then travellers may be eligible to abandon their holidays but do check your individual travel insurance documents as some of the cheaper basic covers do exclude this protection.

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

Top tips for your Gap Year

Friday, October 15th, 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. Children may have to be under 18 and many have travel restrictions.

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