Travelling this Christmas? Tips & advice for how to prepare for your trip
As consumers start to firm up their plans to travel over the festive period, the Consumer Council is calling on the public to make themselves familiar with the latest public health advice and to be prepared in the event of new travel restrictions coming in to place.
The call is being issued in response to 118,062 passengers flying through Northern Ireland's three airports in December 2020.
The Consumer Council provides free, independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. Their mission is to protect and empower consumers, investigating complaints on their behalf about energy, water, transport and postal services as well as researching local consumer issues.
The Consumer Council wants to highlight some things to look out for when travelling over the holidays. Top tips include:
- Check the latest travel requirements before you travel - Government restrictions and guidance are changing regularly, so keep up to date with the latest information from official news sources, both for your destination and for when you return.
- Be flexible when you book – Consider flexible airfares and cancellation terms for accommodation. They may be a little more expensive but could save you money if you are forced to cancel your trip for personal reasons.
- Know your rights – Brush up on your consumer rights when it comes to delayed or cancelled flights or sailings. You are due a refund only when your flight or ferry is cancelled by the operator.
- Proof or no proof – Check if you need to have pre-departure COVID-19 tests and if you’re fully vaccinated, have your vaccination certificate to hand in case you need it.
- Get insured – You should always have valid travel insurance that meets your needs before your travel, this is especially important during COVID-19 and if you’re travelling abroad.
- Book help in advance – If you have a disability or reduced mobility you may need to book special assistance 48 hours in advance.
Richard Williams, Head of Transport at the Consumer Council, said: “Over the next few weeks there will be an increase in the number of consumers flying in and out of Northern Ireland. It’s the time of year when many of us will be in a rush to get home to see our loved ones or to get some winter sun. "However, with travel restrictions constantly changing at the moment it is more important than ever that this year we take note of what is expected of us when travelling by air and sea."
For more information on travel rights and complaints contact the Consumer Council on 0800 121 6022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for free, independent advice.