Who will pick up the pieces when a DIY holiday booking goes wrong?
Wednesday 12 December 2012
Q. I booked to go to Budapest for a short break, outbound with Wizz Air, coming back with easyJet. Our flight out was cancelled because of an electrical fault at Budapest airport. Wizz Air offered to refund the flight, and said I could write to them regarding the cost of the hotel, but cannot guarantee I would get the money back; easyJet refuses to do anything. I did not take out travel insurance. Sophia, London
A. This most unfortunate set of circumstances reveals the hazards of booking outbound and inbound flights with different airlines – and putting together a DIY holiday rather than a proper package.
Had you booked a short-break package through an operator such as Expedia, Cresta or Kirker Holidays, you would be entitled to a full refund of the cost of the trip, including the hotel. But because you chose to put it together yourselves, the hotelier has no obligation to offer a refund: your room is, after all, ready and waiting. Wizz Air offers a glimmer of hope about the hotel bill, though it has no legal obligation.
Neither has Wizz Air any liability for your return flight. Had you booked both legs with the airline, it would have to refund both fares. As it stands, Wizz Air is obliged to offer you the choice between a full refund and a seat on a later flight to Budapest, but for a short break the latter is not much help. Meanwhile, easyJet is entitled to say, approximately, "Our plane is ready to fly you from Budapest – the fact that you can't get there isn't our problem".
The only chance of salvaging anything from easyJet is to change your flight no later than two hours before departure. Go to easyJet.com, select the "Manage My Booking" facility and use the "Transfer flight" option. The fee is £35 (or €42, since you are starting in Europe), plus any difference in fare. But if you paid over €42, there will be some residual value. The airline does not offer a "credit note" facility, so you will need to settle on a trip. It can be on any easyJet route – you do not need to set up another trip to Budapest. You will, of course, have to book and pay for another flight in the opposite direction.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Chelsea victory parade mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 2 Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
- 3 Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
- 4 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
The 50 Best spas
Hitching a ride to South Korea: what it's like being the only female passenger on board a cargo ship heading to Asia
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
Y-40 Deep Joy: This is the world's deepest swimming pool
Secrets of the Azores
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
£32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...
£27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...
£24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...
Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...