Flight cancellations cause wedding chaos

The news has been filled recently with heart breaking stories of so many couples who have had their wedding plans thrown into disarray by events completely outside their control.  In particular, those who have been planning a dream destination based wedding and flying with the likes of Ryanair and Monarch have seen their plans thrown into complete chaos.

First, there was the recent announcement by Ryanair that it was cancelling over 50 flights a day up until October 31st affecting over 315,000 passengers due to a mess up with pilot holidays.  Subsequently, they announced they were suspending a further 34 routes from November to March affecting an additional 400,000 passengers.  The consequence has been easy to see with the news full of heart breaking stories of people who have had their wedding plans thrown into turmoil.

Then last week we had the news on Monday that Monarch had ceased trading with over 860,000 bookings affected and over 110,000 people stranded overseas.  One unlucky couple who were due to fly out to Gran Canaria on Monday morning for their wedding were forced to find and additional £12,000 on top of the £20,000 they had already spent for the wedding to pay for fresh flights for their 30-strong wedding party. 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/861509/monarch-airlines-news-collapse-couple-wedding-plans-ruined

Over the last few days we have had many enquiries from customers to enquire whether wedding insurance would cover this kind of situation.  Wedding insurance does not typically cover flight cancellations and normally most policies will not cover air travel.  As such, we recommend that all couples planning a dream wedding abroad should always purchase an additional travel insurance policy to provide added protection.  Travel insurance provides cover for events and circumstances that wedding insurance does not and vice versa. 

Also, in terms of flight cancellations, airlines are legally required to provide a number of options to affected customers.  In particular, customers affected by flight cancellations caused by the airline would be entitled to the following:

  1. You can apply for a full refund. Even if it is only the outbound portion of the flight that is cancelled, you can still get a refund for the return leg, assuming you do not want to use it.
  2. Or you can choose an alternative flight - perhaps on an earlier or later date. In most cases the airline will offer you another flight with them. 
  3. If the alternative flight being offered by the airline is not convenient and is not within a reasonable timeframe then you also have the right to be booked onto a different airline at no extra cost.
  4. In addition to the above you may also be entitled to additional compensation from the airline.  The compensation would depend on the length of notice given by the airline and the time of your arrival at the original destination.

The article below on BBC provides a good overview of your legal rights and what you should do if your flight is cancelled:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41305537

Also, in the case of Monarch, many people may have been travelling under a package holiday, which are typically covered by ATOL.  An Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. Travel firms selling air holiday packages must have an ATOL licence and must issue a certificate to you to prove that protection is in place. As such, if your tour operator were to fail, the CAA will make a refund to the customer or if you are already at your destination then they will arrange an alternative flight home after your holiday ends.

The recent events of the hurricanes in the Caribbean and USA, the flight cancellations by Ryanair and the financial failure of Monarch have clearly highlighted the need to ensure you have adequate financial protection in place for your wedding.   So when you are planning your big day, make sure you consider both wedding insurance to cover the actual wedding itself and a travel insurance policy to cover the overseas travel arrangements.     

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