It’s been a terrible couple of weeks for the airline industry. First Ryanair had to cancel thousands of flights due to pilot unavailability and now Monarch has gone bankrupt. Both events have left passengers stranded, out of pocket and more than a little angry.
Against this background, it’s understandable that holidaymakers might be reluctant to sign up to future trips. Besides, October has only just arrived and not all of us have brushed every last grain of sand from our flip-flops. That hasn’t stopped the holiday companies putting out their offerings for 2018 though. There really are some bargains if you can plan ahead that far. And it is possible to protect yourself from any company meltdowns between now and summer 2018.
For example, Team Minted likes to take off to Majorca in August. Buying near the time, we end up paying £300 or more per person for a return from Gatwick with Easyjet. However, last weekend (a few days after they released summer tickets) we secured seats for £220 each, a saving of £320 on the family-of-four holiday. We could’ve saved even more if we’d taken the unsociable hours flights.
Fingers crossed that we will all be well enough and able to make it. But there are a few other precautions we took (or you could take) to ease worries of potential screw-ups:
- We bought flights using a credit card so we are protected by the Consumer Credit Act if our airline goes bust – so long as the flights cost between £100 and £30,000.
- If we were buying a holiday (ie flight + accommodation), we would’ve checked that the company is ATOL-protected and we’d get our money back (and transport home) if the worst happened.
- We bought travel insurance at the same time so any cancellation between now and the holiday date is covered.
- We checked that our policy does cover the trip being cancelled due to ‘any reason’ and ‘consequential losses’ ie loss of car hire or rooms because the flight never happens.
Personally, I never need an excuse to think about holidays, but here is one. Now that Monarch, a major airline, is down, there could well be fewer flights available next year. Theoretically, ticket prices could rise. Easyjet must be rubbing its little orange wings, especially if Ryanair can’t get back up to speed. Also, if the pound stays weak, making holidays abroad more expensive, there could be a run on UK holidays too. Really, if you want a dream holiday next year, it’s probably best to start looking around now.
See the SMM guide to travel insurance here.