Annus horribilis for travellers courtesy of Sun4U and Iceland volcano

Posted on: 15 August 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

Holiday makers left in the lurch by collapse of Sun4U and volcanic ash, the coalition talks tough on law and order while the Annus Horribilis proves time can be a great healer.

Annus horribilis for travellers courtesy of Sun4U and Iceland volcanoIt’s nearly 20 years since the Queen described 1992 as her ‘annus horribilis’. Time travels so fast and we forget. Andrew Morton’s authorised biography of Princess Diana lifted the lid on Charles and Camilla; Prince Andrew and Fergie separated; Princess Anne got divorced; Windsor castle suffered a fire and the media turned on the Royals about the repair costs and the fact the Queen didn’t pay tax!

It’s easy to see why she preferred to forget that year! Two decades on Charles is married to Camilla, Princess Diana is dead, Prince Andrew is having his back massaged by a girl young enough to be his daughter, Anne has remarried and is 60 today and the Queen pays tax!

Progress? One thing is the for sure ‘time heals’! Let’s hope in 20 years we can look back on Blair’s wars and feel OK about them. Or we remember the ‘great crash of 2007’ nostalgically. Though the pain will be less I doubt we will ever fully resolve them with our conscience. For my part I will more than likely be worrying when my lunch is coming as I sit gazing out of the window of my retirement home. ‘Time heals’ is true but aging is the final solution!

Coalition initiative

More ideas from the ‘coalition’ and a new twist on saying government money! It’s proposed that criminals who admit ‘it’s a fair cop’ will get lesser sentences than those that plead Not Guilty and elect for a full trial! The logic is that trials use a lot of police time and cost a lot for the court process. Now I think this is a good idea except for two points. The first is the risk that suspects will be persuaded to plead guilty for minor offences as the sentence will be light and they can move on after a reduced fine or sentence. This could be abused by the police.

Secondly, with prison overcrowding and the pressure on judges to give lighter sentences there is a real risk that criminals who should be in prison won’t be. Time will tell if this economy is a good one!

Travel with care!

How many of us check all the small print of air tickets and holiday bookings. Well 1200 customers of Sun4U wished they had. The company was using a number of different companies in the group to place bookings for air tickets, car hire and hotels. The net effect was that in the majority of cases only the air ticket was covered by the ABTA bond. Net effect is they are now being asked to pay twice for hotel bookings!

Advice to all travellers – check your tickets and booking and see just what is covered. Also look to see if you travel insurance covers any of your out of pocket costs before you travel.

On another travel front we have the national airline of the Netherlands – KLM. Here’s a rum outcome for travellers – remember the dust cloud from the Iceland volcano.  Well it transpires that passengers stranded with KLM tickets have only been offered one night’s hotel accommodation and food even though EU law says they are liable for the full cost of the delay! KLM are arguing it is unfair that someone who has paid £100 for a ticket should expect full reimbursement. Well, KLM, the law is the law so pay up and stop being so tight!

To be on the safe side should something like this happen again I’ve just cancelled two business class tickets with KLM and rebooked with BA! I just hope the days I want travel won’t coincide with one of their strikes! Hey ho!

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