Consumer rights survival guide

Holidays, flight delays and cancellations


If you book a package holiday, the travel agent has a duty to provide a holiday that matches the description you were given when you booked the holiday. If you think you have been mislead when buying a holiday, you should complain to the tour operator representative at your resort (if there is one) and they should try to rectify the situation. If there is no representative, or they do not address your issue, you should take photographic or video evidence where necessary. When you return home you should contact your tour operator and explain why you were unsatisfied.


If you do not feel that your complaint is handled satisfactorily you should call consumer direct on 08454 040506. Or, if the agent you booked your holiday with is a member of The Global Travel Group, The Travel Association, or the Travel Trust Association you should contact these groups using the websites listed below.

When you are booking a flight or a holiday, you should check that the travel agent you are using has an Air Travel Organiser's License (ATOL). All holiday companies based in the UK are required to have an ATOL. The ATOL scheme ensures that you will not be stranded abroad in the event that the travel agent cannot complete your holiday contract/return flights.

You can use the CAA website to check if the travel agent you are using is ATOL registered: Civil Aviation Authority


If your flight is delayed for less then five hours, there is not much you can do apart from mooch about in the airport being really bored. According to European law, airlines are supposed to 'provide assistance' to passengers who are delayed including catering, communication and overnight accommodation if necessary. If you are stuck for a couple of hours I wouldn't expect too much though.

If your flight is delayed by more then five hours, you are entitled to a refund of your fare PROVIDING you don't fly.

If your flight is cancelled, your airline is required to offer you alternative flights. If this alternative is not acceptable, you should be offered a full refund, and in some circumstances, compensation.

If you are not happy with your airline's response to a delay or cancellation, you should initially contact your airline or tour operator if you booked a package holiday. If you are still dissatisfied, you should contact the Air Transport Users Council (AUC). Alternatively, you can contact any of the websites below:

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