Many of us who book through travel agencies feel secure being able to book our trips, hotels and flights face to face with a travel expert. The thought of the travel agency closing never crosses our minds, especially not when we’re abroad and enjoying our holiday. This happened last week, leaving more than 1000 passengers stranded abroad when Sun4U folded.
Sun4U was a travel agency based in Birmingham and specialised in package holidays and trips to Spain, the most popular travel destination among British vacationers. The company announced on Thursday evening that it would dissolve and that travellers with bookings and currently on holiday would be responsible for finding their own alternative modes of transportation. This includes 1,200 travellers, mostly in Spain.
What went wrong?
Sun4U is believed to have really suffered, like many travel companies, during the flight ban that affected UK airspace in April as a result of the erupting volcano in Iceland. Unable to catch up after the losses, the company informed its staff last week that the company would fold.
The travel agency’s main tour operator, Goldtrail Holidays, also folded earlier this summer, putting a lot of stress on Sun4U to find other flights/accommodations for travellers to Turkey and Greece.
What to do?
Travellers abroad who have booked a holiday with Sun4U must contact the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) or their supplier, indicated on their holiday invoice. Travellers who have booked full-package holidays have some protection with Air Travel Operators’ Licensing protection.
Those however that merely used Sun4U only to book flights have no protection if they’ve paid Sun4U for their flights. If however the travellers paid their flights directly with the airline, they should have no trouble.
Travellers on package holidays, expecting to travel in the coming weeks, are advised now to apply for a refund and make alternative holiday plans. If you need to search for last minute flights from the UK, use liligo.co.uk.
Those who made hotel reservations with Sun4U can still go on their holiday, but might have to pay twice for their rooms and bookings.
Telephone contact for Civil Aviation Authority: 08 445 717 260
Img: felipe_gabaldon / flickr cc