What happens when your flight is withdrawn, plus where skiers should go in April
Wednesday 07 March 2012
Q. I booked a flight for a family Easter holiday from Manchester to Istanbul with Jet2.com. Later, I received a very blunt e-mail saying they had decided to withdraw the flight and offering either a refund or flights to a portfolio of closer destinations I am not interested in. I feel it is wholly unsatisfactory for an airline to take a booking and then turn round and say they won't honour the booking. Name withheld
A. Airlines are at liberty to cancel single flights or entire routes with a minimum of two weeks notice and need do no more than refund the fare paid – irrespective of the fact that it could cost you hundreds of pounds to buy a replacement.
Big airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair sometimes cancel individual flights during the low season on commercial grounds, if advance bookings are poor. They will offer customers a refund, or the chance to travel on an adjacent departure.
Jet2 says: "We have taken the difficult decision to cancel services to Istanbul for this summer. We take pride in offering great flight times for our customers. However, as the landing slot times offered to us in Istanbul were not as originally agreed, we made the decision to withdraw the service. We will be contacting customers affected by the cancellation to apologise for the inconvenience and offer a free of charge transfer to one of our other city, sun or ski destinations from the region."
While many people will agree with you that an airline has a moral duty to get you to your destination if you book in good faith, the law is on the carrier's side.
Q. My wife and I are novice skiers looking for somewhere – preferably Europe – to ski in April. Somewhere with nightlife would be good, but skiing is paramount. Tony Stanford, London
A. With some of the best snow conditions for decades, this is a great winter to learn to ski – and April is an excellent choice for beginners. The weather is warmer, the days lighter and the crowds thinner. But the excellent snow has fuelled a surge in demand for late-season holidays, which means bargains are thin on the ground. I suggest a mainstream option: Austria, which offers all manner of attractions if you decide skiing is not for you, plus excellent accommodation and tuition. Check neilson.co.uk for its cut-price "accommodation-on-arrival" options, as late in the season as you can, for a high-altitude resort such as Galtur.
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