Updates & Resources For Clients
Travelling And Covid-19
Travel consciously, travel safely. Canceling your trip is not the only option.
The World is a very different place right now and we know now is not the right time to travel but we are here for you when the time is right. We have been working tirelessly since mid-March changing and canceling all of our existing bookings and processing refunds. This has required a great deal of patience on your part and ours and we are still working through the process as this crisis has continued to unfold. We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation and we will keep you informed as travel restrictions are lifted and the Government publishes a green list of countries safe to visit.
We are seeing strong demand for holidays for 2021 as so many people had to cancel their 2020 trips and we expect it to be a very busy year, so we recommend planning your holiday now.
Our office is now open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday. Please note that we close for lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm, and we are not open on Saturdays, until further notice.
Your safety and well being is important to us so we have protective screens and a hand sanitiser station in place for clients. We will be observing social distancing and restricting the numbers in the office. In the meantime, please get in touch for any travel inquiries or advice regarding your bookings.
The Travel Boutique Team
Covid-19 & Travelling FAQs
We appreciate your patience as we work through this Covid-19 Crisis. Please see the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we have been receiving over the past months, in order to offer some reassurance and as much clarity as we can during these uncertain times.
When will I get my refund/travel credit refund?
At the moment, we ask that you please allow a minimum of 12 weeks from your date of travel for refunds/travel vouchers. As you can imagine the volume of bookings, airlines, and suppliers are trying to process, and with limited staff, it is overwhelming. In some cases, it could take up to 12 months to get a cash refund. This situation is beyond our control and it very much depends on the airline and supplier. We are doing our very best and a lot of clients have already received their refunds.
To give you an idea of the scale of things, Ryanair is processing 10 million refunds per month! That’s only one company and most are working with less than 50% of staff, to keep within government guidelines and a downturn in business. It is going to take time to work through all the bookings, but it will happen.
We understand that some people are out of work, times are uncertain and people are eagerly awaiting refunds, but we must receive the payment from the air carrier or supplier before we can return this to you – when we get it, you will get it. We ask for your patience and understanding during this time.
I Haven’t Heard Anything About My Booking!
We are working through our bookings in departure date order and are currently focused on Autumn bookings for 2020. At this stage, nearly everyone will have received a call or an email from us.
If you are traveling later this year and haven’t heard anything from us, please email email@example.com with your name and date of travel, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Our calls are more of a courtesy, to keep communication open, to allow you to make a payment or if you have any questions and we will give you the best advice we can regarding how to proceed with your booking.
I am due to travel this Summer and Don’t Want to Travel Because of Covid-19. Can I have My Money Back Please?
Currently, the Irish government still has travel restrictions in place. Some airlines and travel suppliers have canceled services up to the 30th of August 2020.
If your booking falls outside of Irish government travel guidelines, then you are bound to full terms and booking conditions. If your airline or travel provider has not canceled your holiday or disrupted it for more than 2 hours, you are unable to exercise your rights under EU261 regulations.
If you break your contract with The Travel Boutique, you lose your consumer rights. If you do not break your contract and it materialises that travel cannot happen as planned, then you will have more options and rights as a consumer. Balances and payments must be paid as per your confirmation invoice.
There has been an amendment to EU261, due to the unprecedented situation caused by the Pandemic:
The Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross, has welcomed the Government’s agreement to provide a State guarantee for a special form of a refund credit note for package holidays booked through Irish registered travel agents and tour operators.
Minister Ross said: “The travel restrictions imposed across the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to the widespread cancellation of holidays during March, April, and May, with many people having to postpone holiday, wedding and honeymoon plans. Under the EU Travel Package Directive, people who have had to cancel such bookings because of the Covid-19 travel are entitled to a cash refund, and that entitlement will continue to apply. However, it is also the case that many travel agents and tour operators are having severe cash flow problems, and it is not clear that all of them will be able to meet all of their current cash refund obligations and at the same time be able to stay in business. The Government has therefore agreed to back a new refund credit note that travel agents and tour operators can offer their customers.”
The refund credit note will work as follows:
1. It can be to the value of all of the refund due or part of the refund alongside part cash.
2. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date, it can be exchanged for its cash value, or can be used to book a replacement holiday.
3. It will be State-guaranteed in the event that the travel agent or tour operator becomes insolvent.
Minister Ross continued; “These are very difficult days for our tourism industry and for the many travel agencies and tour operators who have seen their businesses face near-collapse in recent months. However, it is also financially challenging for people who booked holidays and are entitled to a refund of their investment. The Refund Credit Note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.”
Unfortunately, it won’t always be possible for us to offer an immediate cash refund as in most cases we are in turn waiting to receive it back from our suppliers so we may have to issue you with a refund credit voucher for now which is fully covered by our Government Bond and you will be able to cash it in after 12 months or can use it to rebook another holiday with us.
We recommend that you change your booking to 2021 where possible rather than cancel but please be aware that any change fees or fare difference will apply.
We can assure you that our clients’ welfare and consumer protection is very important to us and we will endeavor to get the best possible outcome for everyone and appreciate your patience and understanding as we help out all of our existing clients and we look forward to seeing you all soon and hope that it won’t be long before we can all travel freely again.
When will it be safe to travel again?
That is a million-dollar question. We are constantly monitoring the situation and working with the ITAA, Department of Foreign Affairs, and our travel partners – tour operators, airlines, and cruise companies.
It is going to take time as each country and Government make decisions as to when borders can be opened and tourism recommence but we expect to get some clarity from the Government by the end of July.
We have seen strong sales for 2021 already, a lot of our clients have transferred their holiday to next year, as so many people had their travel plans disrupted this year due to the pandemic and with the State exams being delayed. We expect there will be a huge demand for holidays next year, so our advice is to book early. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for early booking offers for 2021.
The Travel Boutique is fully licensed and bonded with The Commission for Aviation, and as an agency, we are working to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients within the boundaries we have been faced with. This has been a very difficult time for us as a business.
No one could have predicted how much the Covid-19 Virus would impact our daily lives or that the whole world would have to shut down, and all travel be stopped. Our team has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to offer you, our customers, the best service we can.
We ask that you be kind and show our staff respect during this time, and be rest assured that our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We will get through this. We just ask for your patience and understanding, as it will take time due to the scale of cancellations.
We value your custom and our aim as always is to take great care of all of our customers. When the time is right, and you are ready, we will be pleased to look at your future travel plans. In the meantime, stay local and stay safe.
Wishing you & all your loved ones good health.
Linda, Marian, and Tim.
The Travel Boutique.
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