It seems that the Icelandic Ash Cloud may be with us for a while, and the travelling public of Britain and Europe are learning to live with it. Certainly the aviation authorities and airlines seem to have found a way to work within safe limits, avoiding the chaos of 15-22 April, and recent airspace closures and delays have been on a much more manageable timescale.
Unsurprisingly many people booking our trips are asking the question - how might my holiday be affected, and how will Exodus look after me?
As a responsible tour operator, we take our obligations very seriously, and will ensure that if your journey is affected by ash, either at the start or end of your trip, we will look after you. But the key message for anyone planning to travel by air this summer is that by booking a package, your holiday and money is fully protected; but buy the flight and the holiday separately, and your holiday is at risk.
Here is how you will be protected
If you book a ‘flight inclusive’ package with Exodus, your booking is protected by the Package Travel Regulations (1992), which obliges Exodus to deliver on all components of the package, including the flight element. Therefore, if your outward flight is cancelled, Exodus will offer alternative travel arrangements at no extra cost, offer a transfer to another holiday or provide a full refund.
If you have purchased a ‘flight inclusive’ package and your homeward flight is cancelled and you are delayed overseas, Exodus will ensure that you are accommodated at no additional cost until we are able to arrange travel home.
To protect your entire flight routing, clients requiring regional flight connections to London should arrange them through Exodus.
If you are concerned about the ash cloud affecting your holiday, your best protection is to book your full travel arrangements, including all flights, with Exodus.
For full details of our policy, please download our Ash Cloud Policy
Here is how we will ensure you are looked after
If there are major airspace closures, our Customer Operations team will be available 7 days a week, and we will provide emergency assistance on a 24-hour basis. Customer Operations contact details are as follows: 0845 863 9643 or 0044 20 8772 3747. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our aviation team will re-book all outward travel for the next available flight, and we will offer this to our clients. For those already overseas who are trying to get home we will book the next available flight, while looking for the earliest of all travel options.
Our overseas staff will be fully briefed on our policy and will keep our clients updated on a regular basis about travel plans.
During the April closure we were proud of the service we were able to offer our clients, and were pleased to receive many emails and letters praising our staff and leaders around the world for their hard work and professionalism.
Quote from 'The Times on Sunday' (16 May 2010)
Jane Foster, of Evesham, Worcestershire, writes: "We were caught up in the flight disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud and stranded in Madrid after a holiday booked with Exodus. Not only did Exodus get us a booking on an early flight once things started moving but immediately offered to refund our accommodation and breakfast costs. We sent our receipts by e-mail, received confirmation of the refund amount on the same day, and a cheque within three days. Exodus is a role model for excellent customer service that deserves recognition."