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Travel agent leaves holidaymaker stranded after forgetting to tell her BA cancelled route | Travel News | Travel





Flights for Lyndsey Pereira’s January holiday from Gatwick Airport, London to Fuerteventura, Spain had been booked back in March 2018. The fights had been booked with online travel agent Opodo and they were due to fly out with Thomas Cook and return with British Airways (BA). However, when the pregnant mother of two and her five other family members turned up at Fuerteventura airport to return home, they got a horrible shock. They were told they couldn’t get their flight because British Airways was no longer flying from Fuerteventura.

It is alleged that Opodo failed to inform Pereira of this update, despite BA notifying the travel agent, reported The Independent.

Pereira had even received a message from Opodo telling her to check in for flight BA2701 at Fuerteventura the day before the booked flight.

It read: “Boarding passes cannot be requested in advance and you should collect them at the airport check-in desk. Have a great trip!”

When British Airways announced the suspended route last summer, Opodo should have notified customers and offered a range of options, including a full refund or alternative flights.

When Pereira contacted Opodo following the shock discovery at the airport, she claims she was given little help.

According to the Independent, they said BA could fly the family back five days later but did not offer accommodation. Opodo said she could get a refund from BA of the original flight price.

With no other choice, the mum-to-be and her family had to fly home via Dublin and stay overnight in the city in Ireland before flying back to Gatwick, costing her an extra £1,800.

An Opodo spokesperson told “We have thoroughly reviewed this case and appreciate it being brought to our attention, it appears that due to a rare technical glitch in our booking systems, we did not inform the customer of their flight cancellation.

“To compensate Mrs Pereira for the inconvenience, we would like to refund the price difference between the original tickets and the new ones.

“At Opodo, our customers’ experience is our number one priority and we are constantly innovating on their behalf to provide them with the best experience.

“We strive for 100 per cent customer satisfaction and always try to resolve any customer issue as quickly as possible.”

However, Pereira was not entitled to compensation under European air passengers’ rights rules because BA gave more than two weeks’ notice of the rate suspension and they do not cover the failure of the travel agent to share the information with the customer.

If holidaymakers’ flights are cancelled it is key to know what you are entitled to and be well equipped with the facts

“If your flight is delayed or cancelled, head over to the airline’s counter and make sure to ask them for a leaflet with all the relevant information,” Michael Reay at travel search platform HolidayPirates said.

“Every airline in Europe is obliged to provide you with all the relevant information regarding cancellations and delays.

He added: “It is also worth remembering or writing down the names of the people you speak to, as that will help you in case of conflict and in terms of getting compensation.”

However, make sure you’re not wasting time and avoid queuing if you can. Being proactive at this early stage is vital – take action instead of waiting around.

“If it’s after 8pm and there are ongoing cancellations due to bad weather or a system failure and you are unlikely to be booked onto another flight, use your smartphone to look for a hotel room,” said Michael.

“If you are going to be waiting, you might as well be comfortable. If there is a possibility of you being booked onto another flight, call the airline while you are queueing.”


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Travel & Escape

Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?





Canadians are ready for the borders to be re-opened and will be flocking to sun destinations this winter like never before. The number of people who have said that they are ready to “get out of Dodge” and “fly the coop” is an indication that there is a pent-up demand for travel and excursions that has been bolstered by a two-year sabbatical from vacations of any semblance. 

While Canadians are going to be heading south, we can expect some of our citizens as well as those from other nations to be looking to Canada for their adventure holidays. When the requirements for the two-week quarantines are lifted, we will be seeing a quick rebound of tourism as other countries who have already lifted their restrictions have seen. 

But are we ready?

In 2019, tourism contributed $105 billion to the Canadian economy. Tourists from outside of Canada spent over $16 billion dollars.  Those numbers were down considerably in 2020 and it is only natural that many people in the industry suffered as a result of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

While some folks, fearful of the spread of variants, believe that the borders should never be re-opened, the reality is that to save our tourism industry and the economy, we need tourist traffic from outside of Canada as well as interprovincial travel. As Canadian and foreign tourists start their migration towards our tourist and nature attractions, there is some hesitancy about the readiness of the industry to manage the coming tsunami of people.

Hit harder than many sectors, the tourism industry has been affected by the pandemic in ways that other industries haven’t. The closure of attractions, fairs, tour bus companies, sporting events, concerts and community events with any semblance of a large group has forced workers in this industry to look for jobs elsewhere to survive. As a result of this migration of talent there will be many tourism related businesses that will have difficulty scaling up to meet demand.  According to Statistics Canada, 32 per cent of accommodation and food service companies expect that attracting workers is going to be an obstacle for them this year.

Even if you have some warm bodies to fill your positions, having well-trained staff will remain a problem for many tourism and food service companies. Most business leaders in the industry understand the result of having improperly trained staff working in positions serving the public. The consequences of poor customer service can be long lasting and devastating. Unfortunately, as a result of the constant opening up and shutting down scenarios that have been seen in the economy over the past 18 months, most operators have been reluctant to increase the staffing levels that will be necessary to meet demand. The consequences will be that there will be no other option but to have staff that are not fully trained or optimally equipped to take care of the flood of vacationers.

In order to adjust to the coming demand, tourism-related businesses will need to be prepared to hire and train new employees to promote and deliver their services. This should include systematization of training, hiring and onboarding processes to enable companies to get up to speed quickly when the demand starts.  

While tourism deserves to have their days in the sun and profit from increased business, we need to recognize as Canadians that it takes a country to host visitors and we need to encourage and support those people in the industry who have been hit so hard.

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Travel & Escape

COVID-19: Tourism bookings start increasing as B.C. opens up





Tourism in B.C. is restarting but don’t expect it to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While B.C. Ferries is welcoming recreational travellers and relaxing its mask requirement at terminals, face coverings will still be mandatory on board whenever you’re not in your vehicle.

Several Indigenous tourism businesses and locations that were closed to visitors are planning to reopen July 1.

Other tourism businesses are welcoming back visitors but won’t be in a position to handle big volumes because of a lack of staff, said Anthony Everett, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island.

“Everyone needs to travel with a great deal of patience,” Everett said from Nanaimo. “Most businesses are running at a fraction of capacity of what they did prior to COVID.”

Many tourism sector workers have left the industry and found work elsewhere, Everett said. Particularly hard hit are restaurants that can’t find kitchen workers and companies doing tourism-related activities such as kayaking.

He said the benefits of tourism won’t be evenly distributed.

Last year, Victoria struggled all summer long and while bookings for accommodation have increased, some of the city’s restaurants are only open for lunch, others only for dinner.

“This is all going to take time to build up,” Everett said.

“Frankly, I think it will take years. This summer, bookings are going up, that’s what we’re been waiting for. It’s not going to be the exact same experience you were used to prior to the pandemic. I hope people remember and recognize that.”

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Travel & Escape

Mountain biking the Sea to Sky Trail





With the 700-metre granite dome of the Stawamus Chief as a backdrop, my friend, Ken, and I climbed on our bikes in Squamish and began pedalling north. Our destination was Whistler, an uphill trek of some 80km that we hoped to cover in two days.

It would be easier to ride the opposite way—from Whistler to Squamish—because it’s downhill. But it wouldn’t be the Sea to Sky Trail if we rode that way. Besides, how hard could an elevation gain of more than 600 meters be?

I have driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler many times. It’s arguably one of the best drives in Canada, but when I learned about the Sea to Sky Trail, I knew I needed to experience it on a bike. It’s a slower pace, and largely away from the highway, so it would allow us to appreciate the journey—the valleys, river gorges, lakes, and forests—in a way you can’t in a car.

While the Indigenous peoples of the Coast Salish and Interior Salish have used this corridor as a historic travel and trade route, the idea of a multi-purpose Sea to Sky Trail was first imagined in the early 1990s. But given the geographical and funding challenges, it’s only been in the last decade or so that the vision of the 180km trail from Squamish to D’Arcy, north of Pemberton, has been realized.

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