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Coronavirus: Armagh travel agent answers key questions around your holiday

Armagh travel agents – Professional Travel – have been inundated with queries ever since the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19.

This independent family-run business and their small team have been working around the clock responding to queries and concerns.

It comes as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising people against all non-essential travel worldwide, but what happens for those who have book a holiday…

Travel agent Kerry Smyth has answered some essential questions in relation to your holiday..

I have a holiday already booked and paid for, what will happen to my money if the holiday is cancelled?

If you have booked with reputable ABTA travel agency/ tour operator your money is protected and will be refunded in full if your holiday is cancelled or provided as a credit for you to rebook.

How will I know if my holiday is ABTA protected ?

Holidays that are protected should display the ABTA logo along with a unique number. If your unsure ask your travel company.

I booked my holiday independent of a travel agent, doing it all myself online. Am I covered if my flights are cancelled?

At present if your flights are cancelled or the FCO advise against travel then most airlines will either refund in full or leave your money in credit to be used at a later date.

If you have paid by credit card you can claim the costs back through your card provider if the amount is over £100

If you paid by debit card ask your card provider about “charge back”.

Contact your hotel, transfer company and airport parking ASAP to find out what their cancellation charges are.

Please be aware they are under NO obligation to refund your money. Though push the matter as FCO current advice is against all but essential travel within the next 30 days.

I paid for my holiday in cash through a travel agent, what happens if the airline or agent goes into administration due to the virus? Will I get my money back?

There is no need to worry if you’ve paid your ABTA travel agency in cash; if they go into administration your money is protected. Make sure you have copies of your original receipts and invoices as these will be required later to make a claim. If you have misplaced them it would be wise to ask for copies now .

If my holiday is not cancelled and I don’t want to travel due to an underlying health issue, will my travel insurance cover me?

If you cancel before your final balance is due then you will lose your deposit. It may not be worth claiming this through your insurance if there is an excess on your policy.

If you have paid your balance and declared your pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer and your GP advises against travel you should get a full refund less any excess charges if applicable.

This advice is based on our policy that we sell, you will need to check with your own insurance provider where you stand in this situation for the correct advice specific to your policy as they are all different.

If your holiday is not cancelled and you no longer want to travel, most operators/ airlines are waiving the change fees for you to book a future date of travel, however any difference in price – if there is any – is applicable to you.

I am in self isolation and due to go on holiday in seven days. Am I covered ?

Most tour operators or airlines will allow you to date change and waive the change fee however any difference is applicable to you or they will hold it in credit for you.

Alternatively this is something you may want to check with your insurance provider.

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