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UK tour operators with decent Covid policies

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
It would be great to have a list of tour operators that are giving decent policies around cancellation or changing plans due to Covid, especially as it doesn't look like insurance policies are going to be helpful.

Crystal have created a policy I really like that they offer that if I get Covid the week before I go, have to isolate or subject to a regional lockdown, I can change the holiday without incurring any fee.
https://www.crystalski.co.uk/covid-19-faqs/

Esprit simply say if 'they' have to cancel the holiday, you can change or claim a refund, which leaves a lot of scenarios where I would lose my holiday.
https://www.espritski.com/about-us/in-safe-hands/

My daughter will be 4 in November, so I'm in the market for package holiday including child care, so my search is fairly limited. I'm keen to hear if anyone has read about what other operators are saying.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
BA Holidays https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/flights-and-holidays/holidays

Need to change your plans? If you book before 30 September for travel anytime up to 31 August 2021 you can amend your holiday for free or cancel it and exchange for a voucher that can be used up until 30 April 2022.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Neilson have a good policy. "Covid-19 protection - if you or a member of your party is unable to travel due to contracting Covid-19 prior to departure you can amend your booking free of charge."

https://www.neilson.co.uk/latest-travel-update
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
i see many operators now offering covid cancellation reassurance. some of these are the same operators who didn't stand by their original terms and conditions and so i find it difficult to believe them. some operators you may be considering given they offer child care are Family Ski and Ski Famille. This year we managed to get our money back from Family Ski only by chargeback yet you see them offering cancellation reassurance on Covid on their site today. Ski Famille we have used before but not this year but from reading some reviews its a similar situation.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
sugref wrote:
"... if you or a member of your party is unable to travel due to contracting Covid-19 prior to departure you can amend your booking free of charge."

I can see some difficulties with these sorts of terms, e.g.:
- unless the testing regime improves it may be difficult to prove that someone has Covid-19, particularly if at short notice or if they don't need hospitalising. Going on holiday isn't going to be a priority need for getting a test.
- it doesn't appear to cover someone having to isolate through being in contact with a known case
- even if proved, you only get to amend your booking: you can't cancel and get a refund. It won't be covered by insurance, so tricky for anyone restricted by dates etc.

This isn't something specific to Neilson - everyone's terms are deliberately quite loose; they are designed to give a veneer of reassurance
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I'd be highly skeptical about any CV-19 policy T&C's not being skewed in the TO's favour. In the current climate with CV and who knows what will happen post-B in January I wouldn't be giving any money to TO's right now in the current climate. Will they even be around to honour any commitments they are making?....I'd personally sit tight and book nearer the time if things improve.....consequently i'm booking nothing for 20/21 season sadly, i've all but written it off as a no-go, quarantine and the risk of potential quarantine, and insurance for travelling covered/ not-covered (?) is not something i'm prepared to mess with, too busy at work to contemplate it, and without a vaccine it's all up in the air imo. My view is see what it looks like in 21/22 and then go again and big - once we know what it looks like.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I think we've learned that words are cheap and legally binding contract conditions and laws can be ignored. Not just (understandably) by small companies that lack the cashflow to Do The Right Thing, but large operators and airlines who work on the basis of 'So sue me ...' No one knows what the landscape will be like by this winter, so like others, I'd say it's logical to just wait until closer to the time to book an expensive TO holiday. Conversely, if you're self-organising, I can see it makes sense to book reasonably-priced flights or Channel crossings as the worst-case loss isn't going to be that significant, and makes sense when flights and crossings are a much more finite resource compared to accommodation.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
To help with some clarity regarding package holidays.

If booking a package the TO is bound by the PTRs. There are Covid guarantees by the very nature of the PTRs. If FCO advice is against all but essential travel then you will get a refund in full. If the TO goes pop - under the ATOL (if a flight is booked as part of a package) then you will get a refund in full. If booking a package that isn't ATOL protected and you have paid by credit card then you will get a refund in full. If your destination is in lockdown then you will get a refund in full. If quarantining is required on return from a destination then so far we have found that FCO advice changes to mirror this almost immediately so they will advise against all but essential travel so you will get a refund in full if this happens. If lockdown occurs when in resort your TO will repatriate you free of charge art their expense. You should receive a refund on the unused days of your holiday and claim on your insurance for the remainder.

If regionalised lockdown prevents you from leaving your home - then that's down to you or your insurance company.

Insurance companies are now covering for catching Covid and having to cancel and also if catching Covid in resort (Rock is one that springs to mind but there are at least another 2).

AFAIK there is no insurance for TOs against any of the risks they are taking and they are shouldering 95% of it here. No one in their right mind would go into tour operating now in this climate!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Snowfinders, I realise you have a high degree of expertise in these matters and that you're stating the "correct" position.

However, as we saw in another thread, this season some operators were rather creative in their interpretations. We had one major operator reportedly trying to claim that its sales operation was an agent for its travel operation, and that the latter was based overseas and not subject to PTR. Another smaller one ignored the PTR and contractual terms and just flatly refused refunds, one major airline (Ryanair) failed to deliver refunds as required and threatened customers with lifetime bans for chargebacks, etc.

I can therefore see the logic in looking only at operators a) with a proven track record of behaving appropriately, and b) with clearly stated policies, rather than just a reliance on what should be implicit as a result of UK law.

I'd have thought this potentially positions you (and other experienced agents) to add significant value next year, by guiding clients to operators who you know behaved properly, and warn people off the shadier alternatives, rather than planning to rely on regulation that has, so far, proven ineffective. If you can demonstrate that all your clients received an appropriate outcome (rebooking, refund, credit note etc.) that is a big vote of confidence for next year's clients.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
snowdave wrote:
@Snowfinders, I realise you have a high degree of expertise in these matters and that you're stating the "correct" position.

However, as we saw in another thread, this season some operators were rather creative in their interpretations. We had one major operator reportedly trying to claim that its sales operation was an agent for its travel operation, and that the latter was based overseas and not subject to PTR. Another smaller one ignored the PTR and contractual terms and just flatly refused refunds, one major airline (Ryanair) failed to deliver refunds as required and threatened customers with lifetime bans for chargebacks, etc.

I can therefore see the logic in looking only at operators a) with a proven track record of behaving appropriately, and b) with clearly stated policies, rather than just a reliance on what should be implicit as a result of UK law.

I'd have thought this potentially positions you (and other experienced agents) to add significant value next year, by guiding clients to operators who you know behaved properly, and warn people off the shadier alternatives, rather than planning to rely on regulation that has, so far, proven ineffective. If you can demonstrate that all your clients received an appropriate outcome (rebooking, refund, credit note etc.) that is a big vote of confidence for next year's clients.


Covid19 has been a steep learning curve for all in unprecedented times. The March turn of events was the first time and caught everyone out. Operators, agents, the public and even governing bodies were unsure of the legalities and we all went into meltdown. If it happens again we are all better placed. Operators typically paid (for instance) chalet rentals incrementally but all would have been paid by January so lost revenue. This year unless owners are prepared to accept rentals on a month by month basis the TO's aren't dealing with them - hence the chalet market is less than 50% of what it was pre-Covid. So they are better placed to offer refunds in a timely fashion.

The PTRs were an EU lead initiative so unless that rogue company had a non EU office the PTRs would still apply. Out of interest, who was it? (If it is on another thread I think you are safe to mention it). If it is anyone that we deal with I will have to investigate as I wouldn't want to put our name to that. All of the ATOL TOs that we deal with have now refunded. As a result of experiences post March we have dropped a great deal of suppliers - that will hurt us but it had to be done.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Snowfinders, It was Sunweb; I think it was @yoda who had the problems, and eventually got a refund via chargeback.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
snowdave wrote:
@Snowfinders, It was Sunweb; I think it was @yoda who had the problems, and eventually got a refund via chargeback.


Not a company that we have ever dealt with as we always felt they were a race to the bottom. If anyone has any issues then I would report to ABTA if you cannot successfully resolve directly and go through ABTA's arbitration service. I believe their HQ is Rotterdam, so being in the EU they have to abide by PTRs.
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