Storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin hit the United Kingdom in close succession over the weekend leaving a trial of devastation. Gale force winds, burst river banks, power outages, torrential downpours and fallen trees left many places in the UK in chaos. Trains, flights and even some bus services were suspended and people were warned to not leave their homes unless it was essential.
The winds have since calmed; however, the MET office has now warned that parts of the United Kingdom, mainly the north, are expecting snowfall. Between 5cm at low ground and 30cm at high ground will fall over the coming days.
Understandably, those with a holiday booked will be looking forward to it now more than ever however, with more bad weather expected, travellers should be prepared for cancellations and delays. Particularly if they are travelling by air.
Those who are unable to reach their holiday destination due to travel cancellations, or if their holiday accommodation has been affected by the bad weather should speak to their travel agent or tour operator to recover any loss of expenses. In most cases, they will be entitled to a refund or be able to book to travel at a later date.
If the trip was booked independently, travellers will need to speak to their travel company and accommodation provider. It is important to bear in mind that with independent bookings, refunds will be solely down to the discretion of the company used. Those who are unable to claim back costs in this instance, but booked their holiday using a credit card will be able to submit a chargeback claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. They will need to speak to their card provider directly to discuss this option. It may also be possible to claim back costs if a debit card was used, again this will need to be discussed with the provider.
As a last resort, if costs cannot be claimed back elsewhere, travellers will need to check their travel insurance policy. Force Majeure, an event which happens outside of control including natural disasters, civil unrest, acts of god and any other unforeseeable event that could disrupt your trip, is generally not covered as standard under most travel insurance policies. Having said that, if the policy covers cancellation for any cause or does include Force Majeure, a claim can be submitted. This is provided the policy was purchased before the storm warnings were announced. Any policy brought after the storms were announced will not cover cancellation as it is a ‘known event’.
Those who have been disrupted on their return to the United Kingdom will need to speak to their travel agent/tour operator or the travel company they booked with regarding refunds.
As a result of the bad weather, passengers landing into London Heathrow on Friday 18th February experienced severe delays with their luggage. In the event of lost luggage, a Property Irregularity From will need to have been completed prior to leaving the airport in order to submit a claim through a travel insurance policy. Any claims regarding the delay of luggage on return to the UK will need to be taken up with the airline.
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