Jet2holidays and easyJet holidays are among the tour operators to sign up to a ‘Package Holiday Pledge’ created by the BBC’s Watchdog programme.
The consumer affairs programme launched the pledge to give customers “extra assurance when booking a package holiday” after viewers raised issues with some holiday companies.
Companies taking the pledge must make six commitments (see below). Other travel firms that have signed are Tui, Travel Counsellors, Travel Republic, Trailfinders, Virgin Holidays and British Airways Holidays.
Jet2holidays said that by signing it was “publicly declaring” its commitment to refunds and rebookings.
However, the package holiday specialist, and the UK’s second largest Atol holder, reiterated it has already been delivering on these commitments throughout Covid. It has refunded more than £1 billion to customers affected by the pandemic.
The firm pointed out it also ranked in the top two travel firms for providing refunds, according to MoneySavingExpert, and has Which? Recommended Provider status.
Jet2 chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We are proud to sign up to BBC Watchdog’s Package Holiday Pledge, and we are proud of the fact that we are already delivering on the commitments in the pledge.
“We have been looking after customers and independent travel agents throughout the pandemic, and we have the accolades to prove it.
“That said, we warmly welcome BBC Watchdog’s campaign as it will further help customers when it comes to understanding who to trust and who not to trust when booking a package holiday.
“With confidence returning and holidaymakers looking forward to getting away this summer and beyond, this pledge further underlines our customer-first strategy.
“Quite simply, it tells customers something we have been proud of saying for years – we deliver package holidays you can trust. Many other companies, when asked by BBC Watchdog, simply could not pledge that.”
Matt Callaghan, easyJet holidays customer director, said: “We’re really pleased that our industry leading customer policies mean that we’ve been able to sign up to BBC Watchdog’s Package Holiday Pledge, and that holidaymakers can be reassured that our policies are endorsed by the nation’s leading consumer champion.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve prided ourselves on doing the right thing, from being the first major tour operator to repatriate customers, to processing refunds in an average of 10 days and launching the Protection Promise, which offers the ultimate flexibility and protection.
“Our customers can also rest assured that they always come first, so unlike many other holiday providers our policies are long term and here to stay, rather than a short-term reaction to the events of the past year.
“So we’re really pleased that this has been recognised by Watchdog and we’ll continue to do the right thing now and, in the future, when we can start taking our customers away on their well-earned holidays once again.”
The commitments in the pledge are:
- If flights are cancelled or changed because of Covid-19, customers can rebook without incurring amendment charges.
- If FCDO (Foreign Office) advice changes to warn against all but essential travel to the destination country, customers can rebook without incurring amendment charges for any element of the booked package.
- If a customer or a member of their household receives a positive COVID test prior to travelling, they can rebook without incurring amendment charges for any element of the booked package.
- If any element of the booking is not available and Jet2holidays is unable to offer an equivalent holiday (in line with Abta’s definition of a ‘significant’ change to a booking), customers will receive a full refund.
- Refunds will be paid within 14 days of cancellation.
- If – between booking and departure – the UK imposes quarantine on arrivals from the destination country, customers will be entitled to change or cancel their booking without incurring charges for any element of their package.