As many as four million people will head overseas for Christmas and New Year, testing transport at an already challenging time of the year.
Whether it’s winter sun in Morocco, a skiing holiday in Switzerland or a New Year celebration in Barcelona, the festive holiday period is brimming with opportunities for those who would rather get away from it all.
With hundreds of thousands of people also travelling to visit friends and family for Christmas, it’s one of the busiest and most demanding times of the year for the UK’s transport infrastructure.
Heathrow airport said it dealt with a total of 5.9 million passengers last December following another hectic festive period, while 2.7 million used Gatwick in the same month. In addition, thousands more passengers opted to cross the English Channel by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel.
Travelling at this time of year inevitably brings with it the greater risk of disruption from severe bad weather. But there’s a multitude of other threats to travel plans, ranging from industrial action affecting the transport network or air traffic control through to floods and terrorism.
Travel agents and organisers who arrange a package for a customer will have a responsibility under Package Travel Regulations to ensure their customer receives their holiday, and if that can’t happen, they will have to offer a refund out of their own pocket.
Even though the agent may be able to recover the cost of the disrupted journey from the transport provider, they still face the cost of having to book their customer on a replacement flight or refund their accommodation if there’s no alternative.
Travel Disruption Cover protects the agent against the costs of delays, curtailment, and abandonment, as a result of major disruption.
As well as the obvious financial benefits, cover such as this and supplier failure insurance are important ways for travel organisers to protect their brand by showing they are able to support customers in times of crisis.