Update: January 25th, 2021
As announced by the UK Government, we are now in a period of lockdown. As a result of this new lockdown, all non-essential travel has been banned and holidays have been cancelled.
Similar measures have been put in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We are contacting all affected customers in departure date order, up to and including 14th February 2021. In the meantime, please continue to check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website for up-to-date information.
Additionally, please note that the UK Government has announced that all international travelers will need to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to be allowed entry into the UK, and a 10 day period of self-isolation is mandatory upon entry, regardless of the outcome of the test.
Getting in touch
Our phone lines are open Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm, and our colleagues in our contact centre have been busy speaking to customers, particularly those whose travel is most affected. In addition to these core hours we are working Monday-Friday 8am-6pm answering questions and sending messages to customers who are looking for clarification on any upcoming holidays. Please be patient as we will contact all affected customers.
We appreciate you may have some further concerns about your holiday and have laid out some FAQs below.
Can I change the dates on my booking?
In the current environment with workloads from flight cancellations and hotel closures, there is limited resource we could assign to quote requests to change dates. We do not set the prices for flights or hotels. These are set by the airlines and hoteliers respectively. Therefore any price increase to change dates is as result of the pricing policies of these suppliers and not On the Beach. Over the past few weeks and prior to the new advice about travel to Spain, we have quoted several thousand date change requests. Because summer 2021 is currently on limited release, these quotations were often double the price paid for the 2020 holiday and as a result well in excess of the cost to cancel the holiday. As a result of this only a very small proportion of the customers quoted proceeded with a change of dates. We regret that we are therefore unable to deal with date change requests at the current time.
The above advice also applies to requests to change destinations.
What happens if my hotel is closed?
Where flights continue to operate, these are non-refundable. To protect package organisers and customers then where hotels are closed, package organisers are obliged to provide suitable alternative accommodation. A suitable alternative is deemed to be of the same or higher star rating (and quality), the same board basis and a similar location.
The relevant clause in the Package Travel Directive is as follows: Where, following commencement of the package, significant proportions of the package cannot be performed, alternatives offered should be at no extra cost and should, where possible, be of equivalent or higher quality than those specified in the original contract. If the organiser is constrained to propose alternative arrangements of a lower quality, the organiser must grant an appropriate price reduction. Travellers may choose to reject alternative arrangements only if they are not comparable with those originally agreed, or the price reduction offered is inadequate.
A change of hotel is not a major change that triggers the cancellation of the package and so where hotels are closed but flights are operating, suitable alternatives are being booked for all guests for the duration of their stay. Our operations team continues to deal with these in departure date order to ensure that all guests have suitable accommodation for their stay.
How do I know if my flight is cancelled?
The operations and service teams have been working around the clock to update our systems with the flight cancellations as the airlines move through their forward programmes and notify the cancellation of any flights that are not operating. Whilst these are updated in system, any balance payments are suspended as we work out whether each holiday is proceeding as planned. Where the flights are confirmed cancelled then you will be notified via outbound email and we can begin the process of commencing the application for a refund.
What is the UK Government's position on cancellations?
On the government’s website they reference the following when advising how travel companies use the FCO advice:
“Travel companies and airlines often take our advice into account but the decision to cancel or reschedule a flight, holiday, tour or excursion is a decision that can only be taken by the travel company and the customer. The question of refunds is a matter that must be resolved between the customer and the relevant airline, tour operator or travel agent. We don’t dictate when travel can or can’t take place.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-the-foreign-commonwealth-office-puts-together-travel-advice.)
How are refunds being managed?
Where holidays are cancelled, we are able to refund any monies paid for hotels and transfers within 2-4 weeks. These refunds are automatically added to your booking and an email will be sent to tell you how to claim. Where monies are owed for cancelled flights, we are doing our best to refund as soon as we receive from the airlines but with many millions of refunds to process across the industry and the workloads created by the changing travel advice, the refund process is slower than it should be and for this we apologise.
On the Beach pays for flights for all of its customers in full at the time the booking is made. In order to protect you in the event of cancellation, OTB is obliged by the Package Travel Regulations to refund cancellations within 14 days, but this assumes that airlines will have refunded within 7 days in line with the requirements on airlines under EU261. Airlines have not complied with this law for the last 4 months and OTB has been one of the loudest advocates lobbying regulators and government to get them to impose the law for the benefit of all consumers. Clearly travel companies cannot afford to refund flight monies without receipt of refunds from airlines and of course those airlines that we are waiting on refunds from are many times bigger than us and have had billions of pounds worth of support to ensure that they can pay these refunds via us to you.
Why have I not received my refund in full?
Your refund will be completed in two stages:
- We will first be returning any monies paid towards the cost of your hotel and transfer. This refund will be paid in cash and will be credited to the payment card used at the time of booking.
- Your flight costs will be refunded once we have received these from your airline. We are in contact with your airline to confirm that these also will be paid in cash. We are unable to commit to any time frame for this element of your refund as this is down to your airline themselves, however please be assured that we will pass this over to you as soon as we receive it.
Why do I not have a pending refund in 'My Bookings'?
If you do not have a pending refund showing on your 'My Bookings' page this is because we have not yet received your refund from the airline.
How can I claim a refund for any extra costs associated with my flight?
If you have paid your airline for any extras (for example priority boarding or additional luggage) then these will have been paid using your own payment card and the cost should have been refunded directly to you. If you have not yet received a refund for these extra costs then you will need to speak to your airline.
Do I still need to make my next instalment payment?
You should ensure you keep up with instalment payments as per the original booking terms and conditions. Failure to keep up with payments may result in the holiday being cancelled and subject to cancellation fees. Where we cancel your holiday in these circumstances, you will not have ATOL protection, nor will your holiday be covered under the Package Travel Regulations. If the information from the airlines then later changes and your flight is cancelled you will not be entitled to a refund as we will have already cancelled your holiday.
My holiday has been cancelled – why does it still show as ‘confirmed’?
We are working through a considerable number of bookings and, as such, our online system may be slightly delayed in reflecting the status of your booking. If you have received an email from us confirming that your holiday has been cancelled, then no further action is required and this will show on our system shortly.
My flights have not been cancelled by my airline however I wish to cancel my holiday. How much will this cost me?
Cancellation costs will vary depending on when you are due to travel and the type of holiday purchased. For full cancellation costs please log into the 'My Bookings' section of our website where you can see a full breakdown of costs and – if you wish to cancel – submit a cancellation request.
I am unable to maintain payments due to redundancy or my wages being reduced. Can we delay payments?
When you log into the 'My Bookings' section of our website, there is an option to change the date of your next instalment payment. If you are unable to make a payment, as per the original booking terms and conditions, you will need to send us a message through ‘My Bookings’.
Can I remove individuals from the booking, rather than cancel entirely?
You can make changes to your booking by logging into the 'My Bookings' section of our website. Please be aware that amendment charges will apply as per the original booking terms and conditions.
What will my travel insurance cover?
It's always extremely important to take out travel insurance whenever you plan to travel. In regards to Coronavirus, you should refer to the individual policy of insurers to check if you're covered.
If you have an On the Beach travel insurance policy please see our dedicated FAQs page for a complete breakdown of your coverage.
Am I covered by ATOL?
If you have booked a flight-inclusive package holiday, you are financially covered by ATOL.
What happens if I catch the virus on holiday?
In the event that you do feel unwell whilst abroad, we ask that you comply with instructions given by the health authorities. For the latest advice please visit the FCO website.
What happens if we are quarantined when we are on holiday?
You can find up to date information on the FCO website.
What happens if there is an outbreak whilst I am away?
You can find up to date information on the FCO website.
Planning for your holiday
How can I get tested before I travel?
Many destinations will currently require you to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken before arrival. To find out more about the different testing options available to you, visit our Covid-19 testing before you travel page.
What happens if my chosen hotel is unavailable?
It is our responsibility to make sure that your holiday goes to plan, and that you and your fellow holidaymakers are looked after for the duration of your stay. Therefore, if – for any reason – your chosen hotel is unavailable, we will look to find you a suitable alternative, to the same or better standard and we will be in touch if this is the case.
What new health and safety measures are airports and airlines implementing?
From the moment you arrive at the airport, your wellbeing comes first. New measures have been introduced, such as readily available hand sanitiser stations throughout airports, and all planes will be disinfected thoroughly between each flight. At some airports you can even pre-book security slots to avoid the queues.
Holidaymakers will be expected to wear masks and all boarding passes must be presented on a mobile device, rather than a print-out. Additional checks may be in place, so giver yourself plenty of time to get through the airport. It’s important that you check the websites of both your airline and departure airport for the most up-to-date information on this before you travel.
What can I do to protect myself while I'm away?
Will I need to quarantine when I return to the UK?
The government has announced that anyone entering the UK from abroad must self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
I have transfers arranged whilst on holiday - what safety measures will be put in place?
Our transfers partner has put together this useful guide highlighting the precautions and safety measures that they are taking to ensure your wellbeing whilst abroad.