What should I do if I am stranded abroad?
If the passenger accepts an alternative flight, the airline is responsible for meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and two telephone calls or emails.
If the length of time until the next available flight is unreasonable (the number of days, cleverly, is unspecified), the airline should book passengers onto another airline. This rarely happens. Most European airlines will not pay for a flight on another carrier. Instead, they will insist that passengers wait for the next available flight.
Some airlines organise accommodation, others will refund the cost of a budget hotel. Should your airline advise you to buy your own food and accommodation, keep all receipts, and keep such costs to a reasonable minimum, before making a claim when you get back to Britain. The hope is that passengers will give up and make their own way home. If you choose to make your own way home overland, it is highly unlikely that airlines will be responsible for the costs of alternative travel arrangements.
What about package holidays?
Those passengers on package holidays should be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is legally obliged to get them home. Customers will usually be allowed to stay in their original hotel, or will be moved to one of a similar standard on a half-board or all-inclusive basis. The exact situation will depend on the operator’s booking terms and conditions.
Can I cancel my accommodation?
If you have booked a hotel, a villa or other accommodation independently of your travel arrangements your contract is directly with the hotel or villa and you are responsible for any cancellation. If you can’t get there, you will have to do your best to persuade them to give you a refund or rebook for a later date – but they are not obliged to do this.
Am I covered by my travel insurance?
Some policies have different levels of cover for a “consequential loss”, such as a hotel booking made independently. You will need to check the terms and conditions which apply to your policy directly with your insurer.