Monthly Archives: December 2017
We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money; the Consumer Council has compiled a holiday booking check list, to keep you and your holiday booking safe;
Financial Protection for your Holiday
Before booking you should check whether your flight or holiday package is ATOL protected and don’t leave home without your ATOL Certificate
- ATOL (the Air Travel Organisers Licence) is a financial protection scheme for air passengers. If you book an ATOL protected holiday or charter flight and your tour operator, airline or accommodation provider goes out of business before you travel you can claim a full refund.
- If a service provider goes out of business while you are abroad, you will be able to continue your holiday and arrangements will be made for you to fly home once the holiday is over.
- Jersey residents must be aware that ATOL only protects packages or flights, which originate in the UK ñ always check with your tour company/travel agent regarding ATOL protection and eligibility.
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Protection
- Many Jersey residents will enjoy the FlyDirect options (and ferry packages) now available from Jersey; it should be noted that these are not eligible for ATOL protection (as described above).
- However, such packages and flights would be financially protected as long as the company with whom you make your travel contract in Jersey is bonded with ABTA (and they are current members).
- ABTA includes protection both in the event of failure of the tour operator prior to departure, in which case deposit/balances paid would be refunded, and for repatriation in the event of tour operator failure whilst clients are abroad.
Financial protection if you are not covered by ATOL
o If your flight is not ATOL protected, you should ensure your travel insurance policy provides cover in the event that the airline goes out of business. Take out travel insurance adequate for your destination, activities and everyone in your party.
o If you buy a ticket using a credit card and the airline goes out of business, you may be able to claim a refund from your credit card company under the Consumer Credit Act. The cost of a single (i.e. one leg) ticket must be at least £100.
Other Holiday booking pointers;
- Double check all details such as travel dates, itineraries, destinations and travellers before confirming payment, as you may be charged for amendments
- Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
- If renting a private apartment or villa, call the owner/agent directly to ensure that it is legitimate. If the number is not provided, email and request it. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar site. Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy.
- Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service.
- When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
Put your travel insurance in place sufficiently ahead of your trip to make sure that you benefit from all of the cover. Channel Islanders are advised to make sure that the element covering missed flights and missed connections includes the flights to and from home.
The medical cover needs to be adequate to help pay medical bills; £2 million medical cover is advised by Which for just Europe and £5 million for worldwide. but do check what counts as Europe or Worldwide by your insurance company.
We usually travel with many of our gadgets and you should consider cover for these too whilst traveling, you may need to extend your home insurance to cover as single items on your travel policy may only be covered for £250.
A good travel insurance policy should provide cover for Illness, injury or death while you are away, to allow you to be repatriated. Illness or the unexpected can interrupt travel plans therefore it is advisable to check the cancellation provisions – how much are you covered for in the event of the holiday being cancelled by unexpected events e.g. illness. You must declare pre-existing medical conditions – as otherwise your cover will be voided.
Check that the policy covers
- Liability for accidents involving others;
- The airline going out of business;
- Natural disasters, natural events e.g. volcanic ash cloud and severe weather;
- Political instability;
- Security risks.
If you plan to enjoy risky activities whilst away you should say so to make sure that you are covered for risky activities, for example skiing, scuba diving or climbing.
And finally you may be better to buy an annual policy rather than single trip cover plus READ THE SMALL PRINT…always check what isn’t covered.
Seeking a New Chairperson
The Jersey Consumer Council seeks an exceptional and experienced
candidate for the position of Chairperson. As a high-profile consumer
champion, the Chairperson will have:
- Expertise in relevant and current consumer issues
- Political awareness on consumer issues
- Excellent communication and social skills to engage with stakeholders,
government and the media, as well as the community
- Time to commit around 12 hours a month
- A strong consumer voice to empower individuals
The day-to-day Council activities are managed by the Executive Officer with
the Chairperson undertaking a strategic and active role.
For more information, on a confidential basis, please contact the Executive
Officer (see below). To apply please email or send your curriculum vitae and
supporting letter marked Private and Confidential, by 5th January 2018 to.
Jersey Consumer Council
9-13 Central Market
St. Helier JE2 4WL
Newsletter Out Monday 4th December
As the Festive season begins to gather momentum we pause for a moment to consider Preventing Financial Pressure at Christmas.
It’s easy to get carried away spending at Christmas, however we are suggesting that in the flurry of preparations and parties we all stop, reflect and consider a few pointers to clarify our Christmas shopping to help prevent financial pressure. Our newsletter shares 6 simple pause buttons.
Christmas is a time of celebration, you don’t want it to be a time when you set yourself up with money headaches for next year.
Our December newsletter launches:
“Consumer Action is a Powerful Force”
It’s time to recognise that the Jersey consumer is a powerful force that is coming to the fore, have you joined this wave of change?
Interestingly the vast majority of online consumers are more than happy to vote with a click of their finger if dissatisfied. It would seem that Jersey consumers are now prepared to vote with their feet when in retail shops and gaining a similar experience on price or service.
Our festive issue showcases the simple toolkit to support you in your purchasing routine.
A Real Mixed ‘Fruit’ Festive Cake Tasting
Mince Pies in 2015, Christmas Puddings 2016 and for 2017 we put the ‘Iced Fruit Bar’ to the blind tasting test.
lovely rich spice and alcohol aroma’
‘almond taste throughout’
‘a little dry and crumbly’
‘high fruit comment’
’loved the cherries’
‘not much marzipan’
Will you agree with our blind taste testing?
This edition also questions Meal Deals and what’s in the deal?
Meal deals are designed to offer a quick way to grab a full lunch with a main, a snack and a drink. However, there must be an art to understanding the offerings. Are you a meal deal expert or are the deals baffling to you too?
We have an exciting range of lunchtime talks on offer – from staying injury free on the ski slopes to wills, inheritance, scams, pensions & the new Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decision Making Law …
We have all seen startling footage this summer on national TV of a passenger being forcibly removed from an American flight because of overbooking. Naturally the impact of overbooking is not usually this physical. But this does make you wonder if and why airlines over book?
Our research has revealed that most airlines overbook certain flights. We asked several of our carriers why they overbook and easyJet explained that around three million easyJet customers each year don’t show up for their flights and if these seats were left empty, it would force up prices for everyone else. BUT the passengers have already paid for their seats so why does it matter? Upon investigation this is because in the first instance revenue is reduced as the empty seat doesn’t buy on board refreshments. Airlines sell a proportion of certain seats on certain routes and flights at certain times more than once to ensure that revenue is earned in order to sustain the lower ticket prices many of us enjoy today.
easyJet said that ‘they get it right in around 97% of cases, meaning that many tens of thousands of customers who want to fly, get to do so. In only a very small proportion of cases – a tiny fraction of less than 1% – will a customer be denied boarding’ as a result of over booking. easyJet highlighted that very few passengers who do not intend to travel with them actually cancel their flights.
Some passengers may be denied boarding as there may also be occasions where, due to unforeseen circumstances such as disruption on an earlier flight operated, technical problems, etc., that the airline needs to make a change to the aircraft type which is operating a specific route. This might mean that a smaller aircraft is substituted than originally planned, which may lead to a shortage of seats.
How do airlines decide which routes and journey’s to overbook?
When overbooking a flight airlines target those flights with a consistent history of no-shows and then overbook them by a small number where they they can confidently predict everyone who wants to fly should be able to do so.
Flybe explained that they ‘carry 8-million passengers a year flying and on average operates some 520 flights a day. Like all other airlines, Flybe carefully manages each flight by employing in-depth statistical analysis to ensure that each departure is as commercially viable as possible. This is to ensure the lowest possible fares are always available to its customers whilst at the same time being confident there is only ever a very small risk that a passenger would be denied boarding. This is primarily employed on multi-frequency routes where historically it is shown there is a consistent percentage of no-shows’
What simple measures can the passenger take to reduce the risk of being denied boarding as a direct result of overbooking?
- In the first instance check in on line at the earliest opportunity; this confirms to the airline that you intend to travel as booked, so that airlines can more accurately understand whether they still have seats which are available for other customers who may not yet have made their reservations.
- If you are denied boarding as a result of overbooking – negotiate, without being greedy. Establish accommodation needs if appropriate, refreshment allowance. Also ask when the next available flight to your destination is due to depart by any airline not just by the one who has denied you boarding and request if you can be allocated a seat on this flight.
- Remain calm and reasonable
What does the EU Directive have to say on the matter?
In the rare cases where a passenger may be offloaded, airlines should take their responsibilities very seriously, fully understanding how frustrating and inconvenient the situation is.
Compensation must be paid in line with EU261 – typically within 5 working days – as well as dealing with their immediate requirements at the airport. The Consumer Council have published a Plane Facts guide to help navigate you through your rights when flying
The booklet details the ‘Denied boarding’ process;
When an airline has overbooked a flight they must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats before passengers are denied boarding.
If you volunteer to give up your seat:
- You must be provided with compensation, either cash or airline vouchers. The level of compensation must be agreed with you.
- If you decide to continue your journey, the airline must also book you onto an alternative flight. If the airline cannot fly you to your intended airport, it is allowed to fly you to another airport within the same region. The airline must then transfer you to either your intended airport or a close by location agreed with you.
- If you decide not to continue your journey the airline must refund your ticket and give you a flight back to the original point of departure if relevant. Refunds should be provided by the airline within seven days. If an insufficient number of passengers volunteer to give up their seats, the airline will deny boarding to a number of passengers
If the airline denies you boarding:
- You are entitled to immediate compensation. (Please see table 2 on page 20 for compensation rates in Plane Facts).
- You are also entitled to the same option of a refund or alternative travel arrangements offered to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats.
- If the airline cannot fly you to your intended airport, it is allowed to fly you to another airport within the same region. The airline must then transfer you to either your intended airport or a close by location, agreed with you.
Compensation and assistance will not be provided to passengers who are denied boarding because they are deemed unfit to travel by the airline, for example if you are intoxicated, or abusive etc.
Airlines regularly review their overbooking methodology to make it more accurate and do everything we can to minimise the number of people who are affected, whilst optimising the yield from the fare levels at which they sell.