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Can’t make a holiday due to lockdown law? No right to refunds, says Abta

As millions of Scots become subject to a travel ban, Abta has confirmed that UK holidaymakers who are prevented from going abroad by lockdown laws are not entitled to a refund.

At present, residents of England and Wales are not allowed to go on holiday abroad. The Scottish government is bringing in a similar law for people who live in a Level 3 or 4 local authority area – which includes Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and many other areas.

“Going on holiday, including abroad, is not a reasonable excuse to leave,” the Scottish government says.

Many holidaymakers have contacted The Independent about trips they have been unable to take because of the lockdown laws. They include a honeymoon couple who were due to be in the Caribbean, but could not take the trip because of England’s second lockdown.

The couple were originally due to travel in April, but in March they agreed to pay an extra £300 to switch the trip to November. They were unable to make the journey without breaking the law, and are £1,200 out of pocket.

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“They are basically saying we should have gone ahead with the holiday because the flight still operated and the hotel is open,” they told The Independent.

They say their bank and travel insurer refused any compensation because the trip still went ahead, even though the law prevented them taking it.

Abta, the travel association, agrees that the couple – and thousands of other holidaymakers in similar positions – have no right to a full refund unless the trip is cancelled by the operator or goes against Foreign Office advice.

Crucially, while the law prevents residents of England going anywhere abroad on holiday, the Foreign Office advice does not reflect this inability to travel.

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