The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association and its Members continue to serve the travelling public during the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak - and urge Government to respond with immediate financial support for travel providers, airports and airlines
Many holidaymakers are contacting travel agents to cancel holidays because of COVID-19, but the SPAA is highlighting the current advice - for the public to monitor UK FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) online guidance, and trust their travel agent for professional help before making a decision on their current bookings; planned arrangements or future travel plans.
Trust your travel agent
SPAA President Joanne Dooey urges clients with holidays booked for the second half of this year and beyond to "trust your travel agent, and take our advice. Our advice remains, to hold off from cancelling forward bookings; to go ahead and pay your balance on the due date - which will likely have been pushed back, to help you through the current uncertainty, and to trust us to be in contact - in good time - to guide you. As the situation develops, and airlines and holiday companies adjust their booking conditions to assist travellers, we will contact our customers. Travellers who abandon their holiday plans too early could be left out of pocket.
We travel agents are doing more than our best in the most difficult of circumstances - with many of our colleagues necessarily self-isolating or 'furloughed'. With the support of our partners (for example, airlines, tour operators and cruise companies), we're working flat out to help everyone.
Government must recognise the vital contribution of the travel industry, and support it now
In the SPAA, we have been constantly active throughout this rapidly-developing situation - urging Government to recognise the vital contribution the travel industry makes to daily life and the UK economy. We continue to highlight the massive government response required to bring passengers safely home from destinations worldwide; and the immediate financial support required by our airlines and airports. Prime examples are Loganair - which has ongoing responsibility for transporting sick and injured people, and vital supplies, from and to every corner of Scotland and our island communities, and the Scottish airports, large and small, that are responsible for handling those, and other essential air services.
SPAA's current advice to travellers
The SPAA's current advice to our Members' clients, and the travelling public in general, is clear :
> Don't rush to cancel - rebook, wherever possible
> Depend on your travel agent to be in contact in good time - please don't overload our 'phones!
> Trust a professional travel agent every time you book
The SPAA President concludes, "There is no need to change plans for holidays that are still months away, and our advice remains - not to panic, but to go on looking forward to your holiday. Should it be the case that your holiday plans are affected as a result of travel restrictions to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus, your travel agent will guide you through the process of what happens next and how you can either get a refund or make alternative arrangements.”