Holiday Complaints: what can you claim for?
Was your holiday not as advertised in the website description? Was your flight cancelled or delayed? Was it a holiday from hell?
Here’s what to do if you want to make a complaint to your tour operator or airline and your rights if they ignore you.
A number of our lawyers have worked for the major tour operators including Thomas Cook and First Choice so they have inside information about the attitudes tour operators have to their customers who pursue complaints.
Is your Holiday Claim Justified?
Is your holiday complaint genuinely the fault of the tour operator, or did you just expect too much?
“Our room was too small to fit our entire family and we were all tripping over each other. The all-inclusive restaurant buffet always packed and we often had to queue, There was nothing to do at the hotel if it rained.”
It is important to be realistic with yourself about what a tour operator will consider to be a reasonable complaint. If you have booked a Twin Room but asked for extra beds it was always the case that your room was going to be too small. If you book at peak time, expect queues. If the hotel did not promise entertainment and a games room, it is difficult to hold the tour operator responsible when the weather is awful.
If your holiday complaint is fair, first try and resolve it yourself with your tour operator or airline while at the hotel or on the flight. Be reasonable. If this approach fails, help and advice is available.
- Consider the Booking Conditions to find out What the Complaint Process is.
- If you have a complaint about a hotel, go to the hotel reception or guest relations manager if they have one initially.
- Contact your tour operator or local representative about the complaint as soon as possible. If your complaint about the hotel is serious and your hotel is seriously substandard or poses a risk to your health and safety, the travel company should put you in alternative accommodation or repatriation costs.
- The holiday rep may offer you “Compensation in Resort” which could be in the form of an accommodation upgrade or a financial payment – which could be a payment in local currency. NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD NOT ACCEPT COMPENSATION IN RESORT IF YOU SUFFERED AN ACCIDENT OR ILLNESS AT THE HOTEL OR ON YOUR TRAVELS. IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT YOU ARE BEING OFFERED TOO LITTLE.
- If you are not satisfied with the way that your holiday complaint was dealt with during the holiday, you can complain directly to your tour operator when you return to the UK.
- When making a complaint always keep a record and take a screenshot if you are using the tour operator or airline’s portal.
- Remember to take legal advice before you write to your tour operator if you suffer an accident or injury.
- Think about how much would be a reasonable sum to claim for. Your can claim for loss of value from the holiday and loss of enjoyment. If only half your holiday was ruined and there was no accident or injury you may struggle to claim much more, even if you take the holiday company through the small claims court.
Tour Operator Holiday Complaints
For advice about a holiday complaint for compensation against your Tour Operator we have devised individual pages for the major travel companies. Click on one of the links below for more information.
- First Choice Complaints
- TUI Holidays Complaints
- Jet2 Holidays Complaints
- Easyjet Complaints
- Thomas Cook Complaints
The pages have useful information including some of the contact details for contacting the tour operator.
Holiday Complaints – Your ABTA Rights if you Cannot Resolve your Holiday Complaint
Member companies of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or must adhere to a Code of Conduct. They also offer arbitration services to resolve disputes.
All tour operators are obligated to provide details of their holiday complaints procedure. You can usually find this in the brochure under tour operators’ booking terms and conditions – just follow the stated advice.
If your tour operator is a member of ABTA it must acknowledge your holiday complaint within 14 days and reply within 28 days. If they fail to do this they will be in breach of ABTA’s Code of Conduct and liable to a substantial fine.
If your tour operator is a member of ABTA, contact ABTA in the first instance if you are unhappy with your operator’s response or if there’s no response to your holiday complaint.
ABTA operates an arbitration scheme and will provide details on request. The scheme is designed for lay people to pursue holiday complaints claims against their tour operators without attending a court hearing.
For details of how to make a holiday complaint if your tour operator is a member of ABTA visit ABTA’s website.
By booking through a member of ABTA or AITO, you should have peace of mind if your tour operator or airline fails. Your holiday should be protected and you should be repatriated if your tour operator or airline fails while you’re abroad. You’ll find more on ABTA’s and AITO’s financial protection schemes on their websites.
The Small Claims Court
If you decide to pursue your holiday complaint through the courts and your claim is under £10,000, you can choose the small claims court. Information about making a small claim can be found by visiting HMCS Court Service website.
Also consider reporting your holiday complaint to your local trading Standards office, which may take up your holiday complaint for you. More about Trading Standards can be found on their website.
WARNING – WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT OR THE ABAT ARBITRATION PROCESS FOR ACCIDENTS AND ILLNESS THAT HAS LASTED 7 DAYS OR MORE. PLEASE CONTACT US FOR A FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Airline Complaints – Holiday Complaints about Airlines
For all holiday complaints concerning:
- Flight delays
- Flight cancellations
- Lost and damaged luggage
- Insolvent air carriers
We suggest that you contact the airline directly but if you cannot get a reasonable resolution please visit the Civil Aviation Authority’s website, where you’ll find a full explanation of your rights and the ability to register your holiday complaint online. If you do not have direct access to the internet you can call the CAA on 0207 453 6888 who will register your complaint on the online system for you.
If your flight was part of a package holiday, also follow the procedure for complaining to your tour operator. They accept responsibility for the services (including flights) they provide.
We hope that this information will help you. if you’d like any more advice, drop us a line using the enquiry form at the top of this page.
Simpson Millar Solicitors LLP have been helping consumers for 150 years. We’re nationwide, with offices in Manchester, London, Leeds, Bristol, Liverpool, Billigham and Cardiff.
Simpson Millar’s holiday claims lawyers assist holidaymakers who suffer illness or accidents on holiday abroad.