Rollover credit keeps couple’s cruise dream alive after visa delay wrecker – The Crusader

Rollover credit keeps couple’s cruise dream alive after visa delay wrecker – The Crusader

May 30, 2022

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Ellen and Darren Farley had saved hard for the trip, an 11-day break sailing around Portugal and Spain with P&O Cruises in April. As Darren is disabled and Ellen cares for him, having a few days without pressure and with everything laid on was even more special.

And they did everything correctly and in the right order well in advance when they booked. But, despite all the sensible preparation, unforeseen circumstances and systems intervened, a wrecking ball crushing their hopes.

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++;

“You are our last resort,” Ellen told Crusader when she thought she had run out of options.

Ellen booked the holiday in February and the same day took out single break insurance for them both costing £62 in all.

As a Chinese national living in the UK post-Brexit, Ellen now needs to get a visa to travel to Spain. “I applied the day I booked everything else and got an appointment for March 16,” she says.

“But I was shocked just two days before on March 14 for the Embassy to inform me that the office was shut and my appointment had been cancelled.”

Staff challenging a 14-year wage freeze had just taken strike action, a dispute that rumbled on until May 9.

Ellen was given another appointment date for May 6, so long after the holiday.

“I had to cancel our trip and I realised doing that so near to departure was very difficult,” she explained. “I asked for a refund and was told this was not possible. We were so upset and knew it would be a long time before we could afford another trip.”

Any hopes of their insurance being able to help were also dashed. Ellen took the policy out with intermediary CoverForYou and underwritten by Axa.

While the policy does cover aspects of cancellation, what it does not is the customer’s failure to hold important documents needed in time for the booked trip, so Ellen’s claim was refused.

Axa said: “We sympathise with Ms Farley’s situation, however, her travel insurance policy does not provide cover for being unable to obtain or produce valid travel documents.”

This situation was not Ellen’s fault and she did leave as much time as possible. However Axa rightly advises in general that “customers apply for visas or other relevant travel documentation in plenty of time and check country specific requirements before travel”.

This condition is the norm and especially relevant in times of passport renewal delays and travel becoming more unpredictable.

But it was not over yet as Ellen in her distress had not raised with P&O the possibility of rolling the trip over. When Crusader talked her through this alternative, it turned out this was one that would be just as perfect for her and Darren.

Crusader asked P&O Cruises if it could consider this, especially in the light of the circumstances.

The operator came back within a couple of days and has enabled the couple to have a wonderful second chance.

“A future cruise credit to the value of [Ellen’s] original cancellation fees has been arranged,” a spokesperson explained.

“That way she hasn’t lost anything and she can absolutely re-book her holiday at a suitable time.

“We have asked our contact centre to get in touch with her to explain about the credit, which will be valid for two years and they will also talk her through possible dates that might work for her and then she can either book directly or visit her travel agent to arrange.

“Thank you so much for letting us know and we do hope Ellen is pleased. She can now plan ahead and allow plenty of time to deal with the Spanish embassy.”

And here at Crusader we won’t be forgetting in a hurry either the couple’s shouts of delight when we told them the happy news.

“We have now booked again for November,” they added, “your support made a world of difference.”

· For more information about cover in the event of delays and other changes, see advice from leading trade body the Association of British Insurers: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/travel-guide/travel-checklist/

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