Should holidaymakers to Greece be worried about a Grexit?
Although the Greeks have voted "no" in the referendum, the question of Grexit has been put on ice for the moment. However, nobody really knows what currency, if any will be coming out of cash points in Athens at the end of this year.
Would you like to cancel your flights or holidays? Tour operators and airlines are under no obligation to provide a refund should you decide to cancel your trip to Greece.
Please note that if the Foreign Office does issue “do not travel” advice - which at this stage seems extremely unlikely - that effectively means that those of us who do still want to fly to Greece, will most likely not be able to - because the vast majority of travel insurers will suspend cover as a result.
Many tour operators have been very flexible with customers wanting to change their travel plans following the Tunisia massacre, but there will be no real reason for them to be as accommodating regarding holidays to Greece.
Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice. Holidaymakers should check how much cash their travel insurance policy covers them for and should take appropriate security precautions against theft such as using their hotel safe or splitting cash up between their party.
Nevertheless, Abta doesn’t think holidaymakers will be affected in any way and tour operators say they have many representatives in Greece and are monitoring the situation carefully.
Are you flying to Greece this summer or have you just came back? We would love to hear from you....
Written on by Jakub KotanShould holidaymakers to Greece be worried about a Grexit?
Be aware of flight delays this Summer
Summer is here and many of us will be planning to head abroad for a break in the sunshine. The number of people flying each year is on the rise, and so is the number of delayed or cancelled flights.
A punctuality report from the Civil Aviation Authority reveals that the number of flights departing on time from the UK's ten main airports fell to 79% in 2014.
If you find your travel plans disrupted by unexpected delays, you could well be due compensation. Back in 2004 the EU extended a law known as EC Regulation 261/2004 to cover financial compensation as well as free refreshments and accommodation, if your flight is cancelled or delayed by more than three hours or you are denied boarding against your will.
Depending on how long you are delayed for, and how far you were travelling, you could claim up to €600 per person.
There are a few rules you need to understand before you start your claim:
You have to be travelling on a flight within the EU and the flight has to be operated by an EU-based airline.
In the past a lot of airlines tried to get out of paying compensation by stating that the delay was due to "extraordinary circumstances. But in the past year, it became increasingly difficult for airlines to use this reasoning if there was a technical fault. However delays caused by bad weather, industrial actions and other force majore situations still mean that airlines do not have to pay compensations.
If you find yourself delayed and think you are entitled to compensation then get in touch with us.
You will need to tell us where and when you traveled and what airline did you fly with – this will take only a few minutes of your time and the rest will be done by us.
And remember, no win, no fee!
Written on by Jakub KotanBe aware of flight delays this Summer
Summer holidays due now
Summer Holidays are just around the corner and we all are thinking about this year’s summer getaway. Be that a family holiday by the sea, a romantic city break or just a much needed battery recharge.
Read some useful tips on how to save on travel this year, so you can spend more on your favorite ice cream or wine.
1. Sometimes the actual airlines have better flights than the travel sites, so check them all out. Skyscanner is great tool - comparing millions of flights to find you the best deal.
2. Check all of your loyalty point cards and see if you can get a free flight. If you have points on a bunch of different airlines you can go to points.com and convert them to the points you need. You can also buy points if you need more and this should be cheaper than buying the flight.
3. If you need a hotel and a flight, see if it's cheaper to book both on travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity. It can be cheaper than booking separately because the hotels pay some of your way and you get the fly bigger airlines that normally land in the closer airports unlike budget airlines as Easyjet or Ryan Air. This of course will save you a significant amount on taxies traveling from and to your airport.
4. When you find your favorite hotel that's on a budget then search for promo codes for that hotel. Sometimes you'll find one that works on their own site and you'll save a lot, lot!
5. Make your own snacks - budget airlines make extra cash by selling snacks to hungry flyers at sky-high prices. So plan ahead and bring your own snacks and sarnies with you.
6. If you're flying with a budget airline and want to stow luggage in the hold, expect to pay a hefty whack. To minimize weight, wear your heaviest clothes and shoes. If you're near the weight limit, put heavy gear in your pockets, then put your jacket under your seat on the plane.
7. Take a note of any flight delays - You can get up to €600 compensation for flight delays if the airline was at fault. Under EU rules, you may get compensation for delays of three or more hours. In some instances you may also get your ticket money back, plus other costs such as meals and accommodation.
Written on by Jakub KotanSummer holidays due now
Air passenger rights conference!
I believe that the below summary of our first air passenger rights conference may be of interest to the public and look forward to receiving questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- EUDELAY decided to organize this conference so major claim companies, consumers and legislators could meet over a discussion on the current and future air passenger rights. The conference was opened and closed by Jakub Kotan from EUDELAY and the key speakers were Mr Pavel Telicka, MEP (Vice-Chair of Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and member of Transport and Tourism Committee), Mr Coby Benson, solicitor at Bott&Co and Mr James Walker, Resolver (closely working with Moneysavingexpert)
- Introduction to the problem:
- EC Regulation 261/2004 gives air passengers right to compensation from airlines when their flights are delayed, cancelled, re-routed or in case of denied boarding. The compensation amount is set in the regulation and depends on the flight distances. Flights shorter than 1500km carry compensation right amounting to €250, flights between 1500km and 3500km and intra-community flights pay €400 and flight disruptions on distances greater than 3500km should amount to €600 per passenger.
- Disruptions caused by elements outside airlines’ control are called ‘extraordinary circumstances’. These may be bad weather, industrial actions, airspace restrictions and so on. Airlines are not required to pay compensations when delays are caused by extraordinary circumstances. However, when a flight disruption is caused by an airline itself then the above monetary compensation shall become payable to the suffering passengers. Courts in different member states (eg. Huzar v Jet2 in the UK) and the European Court of Justice have clarified the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’. Airlines should no longer excuse themselves from compensation payments because they had for example an unexpected technical fault or their crew went over their working hours. The list of excuses used can go on almost indefinitely. Nevertheless, various courts have now interpreted the Regulation and many airlines have started paying out. The word ‘many’ should however be taken with a pinch of salt. We experience innovative arguments almost every day. I will use just two examples for now: Recently, some airlines started restricting passengers from claim by modifying their term and conditions of carriage, and by saying that technical faults are in fact manufacturer’s faults and therefore nothing to with the airlines. Despite this argument, we have the existing Regulation and its court interpretation which brought some clarity to air passengers. The EU has been working on an amendment to this legislation and I fear that its implementation can push air passengers rights back to square one.
- Panel discussion:
- Claim companies such as EUDELAY and Bott&Co resolve as many as 35 per cent of claim in court hearings, with 98% success rate. These figures show that over one third of the flying industry is still determined to fight passenger rights all the way. Still, I can see this as an improvement because we are actually getting positive results and money for suffering travelers. The courts have clearly been on the consumer side and the trend seems continue.
- The relative positivity and improvement in passenger rights may be due to change in the not too distant future. The European Council now has an amendment to the Regulation 261 on its desk that could turn the existing law on its head. The amendment includes:
- Extending the minimum delay to 5 hours, 7 hours on medium distances and so on.
- Passengers may have limited time to 3 months from the delay to submit their compensation claims. Considering that only under 10% of European citizens know about their passenger rights, then the remaining 90% will most likely have no time to learn about these before they loose them. To compare this with the current state of affairs, time limits for bringing claims are currently governed by locals in individual Member states (eg. 6 years in the UK).
- There may be an exhaustive list of eventualities that are considered extraordinary. Predictably, this will lead to an endless court decisions and new interpretations as to what actually is in control of airline operations and what may be not.
- Passengers’ future:
- Mr Telicka admitted that the amendment is under an immense pressure of airline lobby groups. And he stated that the future of air passenger rights really depends on politians’ ability to resist this pressure. Honest view but not really comforting.
- Mr Telicka believes that maintaining the current status of air passenger rights shall eventually include other modes of transport and ultimately entire unification of rights of a traveler no matter whether traveing on a train, bus or an aircraft. Soon, we will be buying single tickets combining a number of modes of transport together, therefore the EU should be ready for this alternative. Visionary and appreciated indeed.
- Mr Telicka, as a member of the transport committee, stated that he is in favour of maintaining air passenger rights to the level they are now, rather than reducing them as the amendment of the EC Regulation 261 suggests.
- In my opinion (shared with Coby Benson), no amendment to the existing regulation is needed. In fact, it will be detrimental no matter what this amendment brings. We have had the Regulation 261 since 2004 and have only now achieved some sustainable clarity on interpretation that have gradually improved the rights of air travelers. This clarity was actually delivered by numerous court decisions that are now more or less obeyed. No matter what the Regulation 261 no.2 contains, its implementation will erase the entire history of court efforts and air passengers will kiss good-by to compensation payments as we have known them for the past ten years.
- And finally, all attending claim companies and law firms including EUDELAY, Bott&Co, EUclaim, Flightright and Refund.me met in a workshop and established a unified approach in defending air passenger interests. We hope to be heard significantly more in the next few months as the EU will be discussing the amendment to the Regulation 261.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further questions.
Written on by Jakub KotanAir passenger rights conference!
Will the EU give up on air passenger rights?
An air passenger rights alliance is currently putting pressure on the EU not to approve changes to the law that will make it more difficult for travelers and holidaymakers to claim compensation for lengthy flight delays.
Suggested changes to the law governing flight delay compensation will mean that airlines will only have to pay for flights delayed by at least five hours or more - up from three hours at present.
Many airlines are also arguing that the legislation should be revisited so it’s clear that they don't have to pay compensation for delays caused by technical faults.
EU transport ministers are due to consider the proposed amendments to EU legislation 261 next month.
It’s estimated that under existing legislation, flight delay compensation cost airlines an average of €0.88 per passenger.
Under the proposed changes, the Alliance estimates that airlines will face 72% fewer successful claims from delayed passengers.
In addition, the time in which passengers will be able to bring a claim against airlines in the UK be cut from six years to only 3 months.
The Alliance for Air Passenger Rights, which consists of companies and consumer associations from Germany, France, Denmark and Spain and newly from the UK, was establish to stop the legal changes proposed by the European Council.
Written on by Jakub KotanWill the EU give up on air passenger rights?