‘Airline went bankrupt and owed me £4,200’ | Travel


✉ I have written to South African Airways (SAA) several times asking for a refund for tickets for a trip that was due to take place in 2020. It was of course canceled due to Covid, and SAA no longer flies to London. I am owed £4,200, which is a substantial amount for me. His answer ? An automated response, then tumbleweed. Do you have any idea what I should do next? I was thinking of writing to the CEO of SAA. Or do you think I should contact the UK International Consumer Center (UKICC)?
Donald Gibson

SAA was placed in administration in December 2019 and its operations were mothballed in 2020; it began flying again in September 2021 under new private ownership but without European routes. last december he said he would offer refunds but the process was proving “slower than expected” due to Covid protocols. He did not respond to my requests to review your application and because I thought contacting his higher-ups was a waste of time (this so rarely works) and that the UKICC, which offers advice on cross-border disputes , does not cover South Africa, I suggested you try a Section 75 claim with your credit card company; claims can be made up to six years after the initial payment. After several months of back and forth with American Express, you have now received a check for the flights and are thrilled to finally be reimbursed.

✉ This letter comes to you from a lounger by the pool in Crete. My dear wife complains that her clothes are too tight, and I can barely see the bar above the forehead of my beer belly. Our two sporty sons in their twenties just texted each other about their 14 mile jog and 100 mile bike ride. Where can the four of us go in May to celebrate my wife’s 60th birthday, where we might have a chance to lose a few pounds and where my boys won’t be bored? We would like warm weather and a flight no longer than ten hours, great service and the option of great food and wine.
Assheton Bogg

Pine cliffs, Algarve


Take your tribe and their different energy levels to the Algarve and stay at Pine Cliffs, which has an excellent spa and a range of wellness programs that should suit you all. You and your wife could sign up for a week-long detox, which combines lots of massages, fitness classes, and nutrition counseling, while your sons could join the seven-night Fitness Journey, which includes personal training sessions, nutritional advice and a range of massages. Both cost £1,877 pp in May and include full board (thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk). Flights to Faro start at around £275 in May with British Airways (ba.com). Or splurge for a week at the adults-only BodyHoliday in St. Lucia where there are plenty of sporting activities, one spa treatment included daily, group fitness classes, comprehensive health assessments, personal trainers and a resident nutritionist who can advise you on a weight-loss meal plan (there are six restaurants to choose from). A seven-night all-inclusive holiday from May 10 costs £3,050 pp sharing two rooms, including flights and transfers (tropicalsky.co.uk).

✉ My fiancée and I are planning a honeymoon in Cape Verde in April. We would like to leave for ten days and be as active as possible, both in and on the water, and in the hills. Along with this, we would like our accommodation to be somewhere small and cozy and away from the tourist masses. What would you recommend?
Johnny Savile

KE Adventure Travel offers a ten-night self-guided walking trip split between the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antao that ticks all your boxes. You’ll tackle spectacular hiking trails on ancient mule tracks in the mountains and along the coast, then finish the holiday with two nights in the remote fishing village of Tarrafal and stay in a guest house right by the beach . It costs £1,255 pp next April, including some meals and transfers (keadventure.com). Non-stop flights from Gatwick to Sao Vicente with Tui start at around £900 (tui.co.uk). Flights with TAP Air Portugal start at around £750 but require an overnight stay in Lisbon (flytap.com).

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✉ I have booked first class tickets for £152 for my husband and I to travel from Leeds to London on June 8th. In case one of us gets sick, I purchased trainline.com travel insurance with ERGO. It was the week of the heat wave, plus there were rail strikes that day, and all the news channels and the LNER website itself were telling people not to travel because the lines to London were closed. I thought I would have no problem getting reimbursed, having taken out insurance. I immediately phoned trainline.com and ERGO and was told to put my complaint in writing. I did and got no response. After several long waits of calls and more emails, I was told the insurance didn’t cover us because we “didn’t follow its terms and conditions.”
Jill Bateson

There was no need to claim travel insurance as the train companies offered refunds for trains canceled due to strikes, and trainline.com should have told you this perfectly when you first made contact. He has now refunded you. “We are sorry to hear that Ms Bateson did not receive the refund to which she was entitled at the time, which we have since corrected. During this heat wave, we have offered refunds to all customers, whether their train has been canceled or not. We have invested in making refunds as easy as possible,” a spokeswoman said.

Disney World, Florida

Disney World, Florida


✉ We are thinking of taking our family on a trip to Disney World in Florida this Easter 2024 to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary. We will be a party of ten with children aged four to seven and would like easy access to the parks. Do you have any advice on hotels or houses to rent?
Nigel Wilkinson

It’s tempting to book a villa for a multi-generational trip, but if you have the budget, the perks of staying on-site at a Disney Resort make it worth it and make the experience relatively simple. If you choose the mid-range Caribbean Beach Resort, for example, you’ll get park transportation (including Skyliner gondolas that take you to Epcot and Hollywood Studios), early entry, and extra hours. at the theme park (which makes all the difference with wait times for popular rides), and early access to restaurant reservations. The resort itself is ideal for families, with rooms spread across six “villages” around a lake and a huge pool with waterslides. It’s too early to know pricing for 2024, but it’s worth booking with a Disney specialist like Bon Voyage, who can tell you the latest Disney inclusions (these vary from year to year), and you can pre-register for flights (bon-voyage.co.uk).

If you have a complaint, suggestion or question regarding your holiday, please email traveldoctor@thetimes.co.uk

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