Coronavirus: Tui admits ‘we haven’t got it right’ over refunds

Simon Calder
Tui branches across the world have been closed as a result of the pandemic and while some are set to reopen over the coming days, thousands of jobs will be cut, the travel operator has announced: AFP via Getty Images

Britain's biggest holiday firm has admitted blunders over refunds for disappointed customers.

Tui’s managing director, Andrew Flintham, has sent an email to hundreds of thousands of frustrated holidaymakers, headed: “We’re sorry”.

Mr Flintham writes: “It’s hard to believe that in a matter of just months, we've gone from taking our customers on holiday all around the world, to being forced to cancel holidays for nearly a million customers.

“It’s certainly been a learning curve for us, and I’ll be the first to admit we didn’t always get it right.

“I’d like to apologise for the frustration you may have felt. I’d like to assure you that we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to make things better.”

Tui has been widely criticised for telling customers whose holidays have been cancelled that they must accept a “refund credit note” and then phone the company to ask for a refund.

The single phone number is regularly engaged or, after an automated answer, drops off the caller.

The holiday company is promising a new, improved system that will allow customers to request refunds online and manage future bookings – typically postponing imminent trips.

Tui has cancelled all holidays up to and including 11 June. All the affected travellers can now access a self-service section on the website to apply for a cash refund.

The company has also installed a phone service for customers of its high street travel agencies, which are all currently closed. They can call 020 3451 2688 between 9am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Mr Flintham signs off: “I’d like to apologise that things have taken longer than they should have, we will make sure that we’re better in the future.”

The company, along with other holiday firms and airlines, is unable to provide customers due to travel from 12 June onwards because the government has not yet revealed details of the quarantine rules it will impose on UK arrivals next month.

Tui is offering anyone booked from 12 June to the end of August the chance to postpone their trip. Bookings are now open until October 2021.

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