✉ My suitcase did not arrive on the carousel after an easyJet flight from Pisa to Gatwick. It has now been over 21 days since it was lost but I found it impossible to speak to anyone at the airline. Also, the travel insurance I purchased through easyJet (via Columbus Direct) claims not to cover lost luggage on the way back from my trip. It’s incredibly frustrating as I have items totaling over £1000 in my suitcase. What would you advise?
Piles of stranded luggage sitting in airport terminals will be one of the lasting images of the summer of 2022. Fortunately, after sending your details to easyJet, they managed to track down your case, which had arrived at Gatwick, apologized for the delay and arranged for it to be delivered. “This is not the level of service we expect from our customers and so we are exploring this with our baggage handling partners at Pisa and Gatwick airports,” a spokesperson said. As for your insurance policy, it seemed unlikely that lost luggage would not be covered when returning from a trip. Columbus Direct said that when you contacted the company your bag was delayed, not lost, and they told you they would not cover the cost of essential items as it is assumed you would have them at home. You can still make a claim for lost baggage on a return trip.
✉ My husband and I, along with our 23 year old daughter, would like to rent a two bedroom villa somewhere in the Mediterranean at the end of September. A private pool is a must and sea views are important, as are good restaurants serving local dishes. We don’t care about nightlife and don’t want to stay in a complex of other villas or a large resort. We would like to fly from Heathrow or Gatwick with transfers to the villa lasting no more than an hour (we are happy to hire a car) and our budget including flights is up to £4000. Ideas?
Valtos beach in the Greek province of Epirus
Crete will still be wonderfully warm at the end of September, and 50 minutes from Chania airport is Blue Sea, a whitewashed villa with those crucial views (Maleme beach is practically at the bottom of the garden) and a private swimming pool close to some lovely local tavernas. It costs £1,698 for a week from 27 September and flights with easyJet from Gatwick cost around £200, leaving you with enough budget for car hire (vintagetravel.co.uk). Another two-bedroom beauty sits near the long sandy beach of Valtos in the mountainous province of Epirus in northwestern Greece. The photogenic port town of nearby Parga has no shortage of traditional tavernas and Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos are easily reached by ferry if you fancy a day trip. A week from September 25 costs £1,068 pp including flights and car hire (ionianislandholidays.com).
✉ We are a family of five, with children who will be 15, 12 and 9 next summer, and are planning to take them on their first African safari. We have already done a safari in South Africa and we don’t know if we should go back or visit another country. We have a budget of £15,000 and would also like to go to the beach or town. What can you suggest?
● How to plan a safari: everything you need to know
● 14 of the best hotels in Cape Town
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but £15,000 isn’t a big budget for a safari for a family of five booked through a UK tour operator – and you may need to be flexible with dates to get flights that don’t break your budget. One option is to take a private version of Kuoni’s five-night Big Five Safari in Kenya, which visits Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks, followed by five nights half-board at the Sarova Whitesands resort in Mombasa. It would cost around £14,000 with Ethiopian Airways (kuoni.co.uk). Or you can head back to South Africa, which is a great safari choice if you’re on a budget. You can spend two nights in B&B at the boutique Welgelegen Guest House in Cape Town, which has a swimming pool and stunning views of Table Mountain (the nature reserve is a short walk away), then spend five nights in full board at Marataba Explorers. ‘Camp, a fenced, child-friendly camp at the foot of the Waterberg Mountains in the northwest of the country, free of malaria. A seven-night trip starts at £13,567 including flights and transfers (aardvarksafaris.com).
✉ I am leaving by train from London with a friend for a wedding near Bordeaux next weekend and wondering if Eurostar is affected by all the current problems? We have two hours of transit time in Paris but, if we miss our connection due to delays on the Eurostar, can we use it on a later train?
Eurostar has not been affected by the number of cancellations which have caused chaos for airline passengers, but there could well be huge check-in queues at St Pancras station during the holidays, so don’t cut things. Eurostar advises arriving 60 to 90 minutes before departure. You have planned plenty of time for your trip through Paris to Gare Montparnasse, but if disaster strikes and your train is very late (or cancelled), you can use the Hop on the Next Available Train (HOTNAT) service. ) of which Eurostar is a part. This allows you to catch the next high-speed service departing from the same station as scheduled. (In Paris, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse count as one station.)
✉ My daughter and her fiancé traveled to Malaga for a holiday before the birth of their first child. They booked their rental car from Delpaso through Holiday Autos and checked the government’s driving in the EU website: no International Driving Permit (IDP) was obligatory for Spain. The Delpaso website also stated that no IDP was needed, just a photo driver’s license, passport and the credit card that guaranteed the reservation. But on arrival at the rental car office they were told that because they had no PDI they had to pay £200 extra insurance. They were told Holiday Autos insisted on payment, not Delpaso, and they couldn’t have the car without paying the fee. Why should a broker insist on this when it is not legally required and it is not the company providing the rental?
A quick look at the Delpaso reviews on the Trustpilot website reveals that it was definitely not Holiday Autos that insisted on this extra payment. Many other UK travelers arriving at Malaga airport have been similarly caught and forced to pay because they do not have a PCI, with abandoning their booking being the only alternative. When I sent your case details to Holiday Autos, they initially insisted the requirement was part of Delpaso’s terms and conditions, but eventually acknowledged that there was no reason for those egregious extra charges and has now refunded them in full.
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