British holidaymakers booking trips within the EU after Brexit are being urged to check the small print amid claims travel firms are failing to clarify their rights.
The consumer group Which? said it believed holiday companies should be providing updated terms and conditions for customer cancellations and refunds in the event the UK leaves the EU without an aviation deal on 29 March next year.
There have been warnings, most prominently from Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary, that flights could be grounded in that eventuality because UK operators would no longer come under the single market for aviation.
Which? said it was particularly important for customers booking a non-package holiday in Europe to ensure they would not be left in limbo as they would not be covered by current repatriation guarantees under the Abta scheme.
Its investigation found a very mixed picture.
It found Tui, Jet2 and On the Beach “failed to provide any reassurance that any information would be communicated upfront”.
Thomas Cook, it said, had amended its terms and conditions but they stated that it would not provide compensation or reimburse expenses if it was to change the circumstances of a booking due to airspace closures.
Expedia told researchers it believed passengers would be entitled to compensation in the event of disruption, although it was yet to sell post-March 2019 holidays.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of airline industry body Airlines UK, said a deal to cover aviation was achievable to avoid any threat of disruption.
He said: “Just as they do today, airlines will continue to comply with all legal requirements, paying compensation quickly when it is due and making it easy for passengers to claim.”
Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said: “We want to work with Government and businesses on issues such as this in order to deliver a Brexit that puts consumers first.”