Top five ways to avoid Easter travel problemsDon’t be left out of pocket for not knowing your rights

04 April 2014


Schools across the country have broken up for their Easter holidays, marking the start of the Easter travel period.

With greater numbers of people using train stations and airports, disruptions, delays and price rises are a likely occurrence.  

So here are our top five consumer rights tips to help you avoid those travel tribulations that could leave you out of pocket.

1. Know your flight rights

Flight delays and cancellations can cause dismay when you're eager to get to your holiday destination. But you do have legal rights.

Under the Denied Boarding Regulation you're entitled to free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay, along with free accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.

You could also be entitled to compensation if the delay is more than three hours and you're flying within Europe.  

2. Know your train rights

It can be more than a little confusing trying to work out if you’re entitled to compensation if your train is delayed or cancelled, as different train companies have different rules.

However the National Rail Conditions of Carriage are the underlying rules for train travel in Britain and these set out the amount of compensation you're entitled to.

The minimum compensation for a delay is 20% of your single ticket (10% of a return, unless you were delayed on both legs) if you're more than one hour late. 

But as a general rule, most train companies are more generous than this and around half will refund 50% of your ticket for a delay of 30 minutes or more.

3. Know your car hire rights

If you’ve booked car hire for your holiday, you’ll want to get what you’ve paid for.  If you don’t, then the car hire company is in breach of contract.

The company is also in breach of contract if it has overbooked and there isn’t a car available for you at all. Most companies cover themselves with terms and conditions that say they can’t guarantee a particular make or model.

But if you’ve asked for a specific type of car – such as a large family one – and you get a small hatchback, then the car hire company can’t hide behind its terms and conditions.

4. Know your package holiday rights

If you’ve bought a package holiday and the holiday you get is nothing like the one you paid for, you have rights under the Package Travel Regulation (PTR) 1992 entitling you to compensation.

Your holiday should be as described, your accommodation and resort clean and safe, and you should be charged the holiday price to which you agreed. If not, you have the right to complain and seek redress.

It’s important to remember that you have a duty to give your holiday company a chance to put right any problems that occur.

5. Know your accommodation booking rights

Arriving on holiday to find that your accommodation has been overbooked is not an ideal start to your trip.

But you do have legal rights to ensure that you are not left out of pocket. These differ depending on how you booked your holiday, for example as part of a package holiday or direct with a hotel or travel company.

Find out more by reading our guide to overbooked accommodation.

More on this…

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  • Find out more about how the consumer rights website can help you
  • Five facts you may not know about your consumer rights