12th Oct 2018
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the package holiday trade body, is encouraging members to insert Brexit clauses in terms and conditions, in order to protect against potential travel chaos if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal.
The confidential blueprint, which was leaked to The Mail on Sunday, was sent out to ABTA’s members to advise them on how best to prepare for a no deal scenario and keep costs to a minimum.
ABTA recommends that customers should be provided with refunds by travel agents if package holidays cannot go ahead, but in such a scenario companies “would not be liable for additional compensation”, as disruption caused by a no deal can be considered “unforeseeable and unavoidable”.
As a result, holidaymakers face not being compensated if their vacation is cancelled due to Brexit-inspired disruption, while the guide also advises travel agents to increase charges for booked holidays in the event that the pound slumps.
This could see customers sent additional bills on top of the original advertised price of a paid-for holiday.
The report also highlights that the aviation industry would face “serious challenges”, that Britons would face “considerable disruption at borders”, and that travellers could need to apply for international driving licenses for use in the EU.
Last month the government said that flights could be grounded in a no-deal scenario, while Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also concurred with this view.
An ABTA spokesman said: “Anyone who books and pays for a package holiday through a UK travel company will receive a full refund for that holiday if it cannot be provided due to Brexit.
“As Brexit is a situation which is beyond the control of travel companies, customers will not be entitled to compensation.
“If you book an individual travel service – e.g. a flight or a hotel – the supplier’s terms and conditions will apply. They would usually offer a refund if the service cannot be provided. If Brexit was the reason, compensation is unlikely to be available, as it would be deemed beyond the control of the travel service provider."