The UK is set to have its hottest day on record today with temperatures predicted to reach 41oC. The surging temperatures have caused catastrophe across most of Europe. Wildfires are spreading rapidly along the Mediterranean with France, Spain, Croatia, Greece and Portugal being worst affected. It is believed more than 1,000 people have lost their lives in Portugal and Spain due to the extreme heat over the past few days.

In south-west France, more than 16,000 people have been evacuated; including holidaymakers. In southern Spain, not far from the popular tourist destination Malaga, more than 3,200 people have fled the fires and over 70,000 hectares of forest has been destroyed. It is believed fires have burned through more than 30,000 hectares in Portugal.

Thousands of firefighters and waterbombing aircraft have been deployed to try and control the spread. The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office has updated its travel advice for Spain and is warning holidaymakers of the extreme heat.

In the UK, temperatures are expected to be hotter than Jamaica, the Maldives and Barbados. Flights from Luton Airport were cancelled yesterday due to a defect in the runway surface and many train services have been cancelled. National Rail are urging customers to travel, only if absolutely necessary.

Holidaymakers who have been affected by flight cancellations and delays will need to contact their airline. Although compensation will not be available (due to this being an extraordinary circumstance and something that is outside of the airlines control), the airline will need to rebook customers onto the next available flight, even if that is with a rival airline. Those who checked-in before the delays or cancellations were announced may be entitled to claim a delay benefit from their travel insurance provider. Read more here. If the delay exceeded 24 hours (12 hours for some travel insurance policies) and they were offered no alternative so wish to cancel their holiday, they will need to check their travel insurance policy for travel abandonment.

Those with holidays booked in or near regions affected by the wildfires will need to speak to their tour operator or travel agent. It may be possible for them to change the travel dates of the trip. Holidaymakers who have booked their trip independently will need to speak to their airline and accommodation provider, or check their travel insurance policy for force majeure cover or cancellation for any cause. This will only cover cancellation costs if the wildfires have directly affected the region they are travelling to. Disinclination to travel will not be covered.

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