The Holiday was a Nightmare!

The Regulations

If you have booked a holiday through a tour operator with travel and accommodation booked together as a package, you will be protected by the Package Holiday Regulations. Under these regulations, you are able to claim compensation from the tour operator in the event that something went wrong, was not as described or was not stated, which led to additional expense, disappointment, or mental distress of any kind. This means any problem with the flight, the hotel or the excursions, even if it could not have been the fault of the tour operator directly. It also includes situations whereby the reality was not what was depicted or described in the brochure or on the web.

Your complaint

In the first instance, your complaint should be taken to the tour operator, not the travel agent (unless your complaint is related to something you were told which turned out not to be the case). You will probably have to follow the complaints procedure required by the tour operator and certainly put it in writing. Any statement should be backed up where possible by supporting evidence such as photos, statements from other holidays-makers and receipts for additional expenses. The crucial thing is that you do it quickly – this means immediately after (if not during) the holiday.

Damages / Compensation

If your complaint is genuine, you have the right to claim compensation from the tour operator, although it must be seen to be reasonable and fair. If you are offered a sum of money which you feel does not reflect the distress suffered, you may reject it and press for more. If your complaint is not ultimately dealt with to a reasonable level of satisfaction, you can then contact the trade body – ABTA, who will look into it further via their dispute resolution service.

If the airline goes bust

This is a slightly different matter and one which you will need to turn to the CAA’s consumer protection scheme, ATOL for remedy. ATOL will ensure you are protected if your flight was booked as part of a package through a tour operator. This is also the case if the tour operator itself collapses. You will also be protected if you bought your ticket from a travel agent, but only if you DON’T receive the ticket within 24 hours. You should also ensure you are presented with an ATOL receipt which states that you are protected – best to check this with the travel agent before you buy.

Making a claim for those who are protected

If the airline collapses before your flight departure date, but you have already paid for the ticket, you should make a claim via the CAA (ATOL) website. If the airline collapses while you are at your destination, and cannot get home, the CAA will inform you as to whether they will put you on an alternative carrier, or whether you should purchase an alternative ticket and claim a refund once home.

Alternative remedies

If you are an independent traveller and have booked travel and accommodation separately or directly via the airline’s or hotels websites, you will not benefit from any of the above protection and should look instead to your travel insurance which may provide financial cover. If you have paid on credit card, irrespective of whether or not this is a package, you will also have the added protection of the Consumer Credit Act which imposes equal liability on the credit Card Company, in the event that something goes wrong and you need to make a claim.

For all travellers who experience flight delays are automatically entitled to monetary compensation for overbooking (where they are ‘bumped off), and compensation ‘in kind’ for delays due to late arrivals and technical faults – these are refreshments, free telephone calls etc. For further details on this go to the CAA website (

Leave a Comment

9 comments… add one
  • Eleanor H 30 June, 5:57 pm

    I hope you can help…. we recently went on a holiday, to a new hotel and were toldt that the hotel was four* standard and completely functioning. Following complaints of other guests that had stayed at the hotel we contacted the package company before departure and received an email to say the hotel was complete and 4* standard.

    The hotel was not complete or 4* star, we took pictures as evidence, but have heard from other couples that complained that the response from the package company to them has been….
    * The description of facilities was broadly accurate, although due to it being low season some of the facilities were not available, as this is subject to last minute change we were not able to inform you. The star rating is a local star rating, and as they vary we cannot be deemed responsible for the hotel standard*

    Feeling i would get a similar response I have contacted the Natoinal, regional and local tourist board…all of whom have said they don’t know the hotel and haven’t inspected it for star rating.

    Firstly, what should I prepare so that I can respond effectively and secondly is a ‘broadly’ accurate description acceptable?

  • Lisa Carter 25 April, 1:30 pm

    I am writing to complain about this holiday I booked through Jewel in the Crown.

    I made my reservations through J in the C, I asked about the accomodation as I was travelling & staying alone you told me you had no information on what accomodation I would receive.

    My room turned out to be round the back of the resort, up back stairs that no one else ever used, which were quite isolated. This was round the back of the hotel where they burned the rubbish everyday, on an open space where the smoke and smell came straight to the door of my room, this was extremely smelly & the dirty smoke landed on everything which was quite disgusting.

    The worst thing regarding my room was THE 2 INCH GAP between the door and door frame to the terrace! This was letting in loads of mosquitos so I was constantly bitten by mosquitos during the first 2 nights and became very ill.
    The first morning I complained to my tour representative, about the problem, and he assured me he would speak to the manager to rectify the problem, I did see him speak to him breifly but nothing happened.

    The second day I spoke to the manager myself, he assured me he would arrange to have the door fixed, he sent someone to look at it but nothing more happened.

    The third day I spoke to the manager again he told me it was IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ANYONE TO FIX IT, I asked to change rooms because of the door he said the resort was full, I asked to move at the end of the week on change over day he told me maybe, I asked for a mosquito net to be put over the bed nothing happened.

    I asked everyday for help with this matter & asked, Farty, the tour operator again to help, & as he was a Jewel in the Crown representative, to inform you that I was extremely unhappy with the standard of my room. Absolutely nothing happened, not the first week & not the second.

    I wedged a pillow between door & frame myself every night, which I find an absolutely ridiculous solution, & completely ruined my stay at this resort.

    I paid for my holiday & have been extremely disappointed, & as a single person travelling I have already paid an EXTRA SUPPLEMENT for a very SUB STANDARD room.

    I have pictures of the gap in the door & the state of the room with holes in the bedding, I also filled in a complaints form & the Jewel in the Crown questionaire related to my stay which I request you obtain a copy of, as there are many more observations ie, to serve something more than eggs for breakfast.

    I am submitting this complaint to you & await your response.

    This was the email I sent when I came back, J in the C responded that they would look into it, the response I got after that was where they lied about the gap in the door and about offering to change my room. Is there anything I can do now.

    Kind Regards Lisa Carter

  • Mr. P. Tigger 30 October, 9:27 pm

  • Mr J Speirs 8 October, 2:47 pm

    We recently booked a holiday with Thomsons to fly out on 26th October. I had an accident on 4th Oct and have been advised not to fly. We contacted Thomsons and they say that we lose 90% of our holiday payment. We paid £1226 and lose 90% of it.
    This is because to get all your money back you have to contact them 10 weeks before you fly but as we only booked this holiday 28 days before we was due to fly we had no chance of getting a decent refund.

    Period Before Departure When Notice Of Cancellation Is Received

    Percentage Of Total Booking Price
    70 days or more
    Loss of deposit
    69 – 57 days
    56 – 43 days
    42 – 29 days
    28 – 15 days
    14 – 0 days

  • maria 16 February, 10:43 pm

    My personal experience with Olympic Holidays has not been good. I would not travel with them again. Lack of help,service or assistance when needed was a great disappointment which caused considerable stress at a time when it was not needed.

  • Rita Nield 26 February, 8:23 am

    my comment is about Hays travel who we booked a holiday with leaving the uk on 3/2/14 on arrival at airport there was no transfer for us, the transfer was with Viajes martel canaries, on arrival at airport at 8-30pm we were told that they had gone out of business as you can imagene 2 ladies in their seventies where devasted we had to pay 60 euros to get to the hotel but becasuse of the upset we never asked for a receipt silly us. but we were told there would be no transfer back hope you can help regards rita nield

  • Jenny 10 June, 12:08 am

    Can you make people aware that if they hire a car while on holiday and it is broken into and anything is stolen your holiday insurance will not pay out. On our way back to the airport we stopped with friends at their privately owned house for lunch. Our luggage was in the boot of the car which was broken into. Some cases and hand luggage were stolen and the holiday insurance said we were not covered as the car was left unattended. Seems very unfair as we had to leave our apartment at eleven o’clock in the morning and our flight didn’t depart until seven the same evening. Where else were we supposed to leave our cases?

  • sue gyles 27 June, 12:44 pm

    had a problem with noise levels while aboard a river cruise got usual fobbed off letter, however it did state that they inform passengers of increased noise levels, which did not happen to us. What advise if any do you have for us
    We were woken up at 6am every day by the engine starting which continued until early evening.


    Sue Gyles

  • A Cordeiro 27 November, 10:29 am

    Not what Thomson promised…
    I bought a family all inclusive package from Thomson to go to Bodrum during the last half term break (end of October). Paid £3,500.00 for a 4-star hotel accomodation for 4 people (2 adults + 2 children). The hotel had good infrastructure…but nearly everything was already shut as it was the last week of the season. Freezing cold swimming pools, just 1 restaurant working and preparing the same food over and over again, tired staff, no wi-fi, and construction works everywhere! When we booked the holiday, we were told we’ve got the last 2 rooms and found out that other guests also “booked the last 2 rooms”. The assumption was the hotel would be full but there were only 50 of us, reason why the hotel manager said he “should have only left 50 chairs for the guests” after we complained about the poor service. The Thomson rep was replaced during the week and no one was there to advocate for us. My child got a strong bronquitis crisis because of the freezing cold swimming pool water and again, no support from Thomson. We’ve bought a day tour to Kos in Greece and were left with no information, a driver that could not speak English and on our own. On the way back to the airport the bus appeared 1:15 hours after the agreed time and we nearly missed the flight. Very distressing holidays and after I’ve put a formal complaint, nobody replied me. What should I do?