Summer has arrived. With that brings all the summer plans in your calendar that you may have been saving for and looking forward to all year. Perhaps you have booked to travel to Wimbledon, the Open Championship, Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Women's Football or Men's Rugby World Cups or the Grandprix at Silverstone. Or it may be that you are looking forward to a sunny holiday or city break.

With recent headlines prophesying the doom of summer strike action in the travel industry now is as good time as any to prepare for the summer ahead in the event of any cancellations, delays or changes to your summer travel plans.

Trains and ferries

With industrial action having already affected many train passengers across the UK, it is prudent to check ahead of departure to confirm if your journey is affected by any cancellations or delays. If your journey is affected, it is worth checking if your tickets can be refunded or exchanged for similar journeys. Often, there are staff at train stations who may be able to assist with information relating to cancellations and delays to trains.

If you experience delays and cancellations to any ferry journeys, then the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is a helpful source of information regarding your entitlement to a refund or compensation. ABTA guidance however is that no overnight accommodation has to be offered, or costs reimbursed, where the delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ferry.

Planes

The aviation industry has seen an increase of passengers and tickets bought for European flights this year bringing the activity in the industry closer to pre-pandemic levels. There have been murmurings however that Border Control may strike this summer which could affect domestic and international flights. Your travel provider or airline should update you regarding any cancellations that may impact your travel plans. Where cancellations are known in advance, you may be encouraged to contact the airline to arrange new flights at similar times, but you may have to consider flying from a different airport, for example.

If your flight is cancelled with no warning or on short notice, again your airline may assist you with finding new flight times. If the new flight time has a 'domino' effect on the rest of your travel plans –for example, you miss the first night of your holiday and the corresponding benefits of your all-inclusive deal, you should note the impact to enable you to include this in your claim against the airline.

Finally, your holiday or flights may be ATOL protected. ATOL is a scheme that protects travellers and their money if the travel operator they booked with ceases trading, before, or whilst they are on holiday.

Be prepared

Here are some tips to prepare you for any changes to your summer travel plans: -

  1. Look in to travel insurance and select a policy which provides you with appropriate cover for your needs.
  2. Keep a record of your booking details, payments, tickets, receipts, and contact numbers if required to speak to your travel provider at home or during your travels.
  3. If your travel plans are affected, you should keep a diary of events with corresponding times so that you can look back on this should you require to submit a claim for compensation in the future.
  4. If your travel plans are affected, keep a note of any extra costs that you have incurred or any benefits that you have lost out on as a result of a cancellation or delay. For example, this could include missing a night of your holiday, missing an event that you bought a ticket for, travel costs to an alternative airport, train station or ferry port.

If you are affected by changes to your summer plans, it is important to keep a record that you can look back on in the event that you require to submit a claim for compensation or a refund in the future. This is due to the importance of contemporaneous documentary evidence in proving a legal claim where another party has failed to fulfil their side of a contract or agreement.

This is a broad summary of some of the issues that could arise from changes to your summer travel plans. If you have any questions at all in relation to the matters discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to get in contact with your usual Brodies contact or one of the contacts listed below who will be happy to assist.

Contributors

Naomi Davies

Senior Solicitor

Andrew Smith

Senior Associate