Which? investigation finds incorrect information given to air travellers

Some companies and airlines do not fully understand customers’ rights, study shows

Not only did Ryanair get two-thirds of the questions wrong, one staff member was unable to explain what a package holiday was. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

Not only did Ryanair get two-thirds of the questions wrong, one staff member was unable to explain what a package holiday was. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

 

Some leading travel companies and airlines operating in Ireland do not fully understand the rights their customers have, according to a Which? investigation published this morning.

The consumer group found some of the biggest travel operators doing business in the Republic are giving incorrect information about the level of cover and protections travellers are entitled to under EU regulations.

Posing as potential customers, Which? contacted Expedia, Ryanair, Edreams, Lastminute.com, Trailfinders and TravelRepublic with a series of questions about the level of protection which could be expected with holidays they advertise.

But Which? found many of the staff that it spoke to could not correctly answer more than half of the questions asked.

Struggled

It said that Ryanair and Edreams agents struggled the most with both firms giving more wrong answers than right ones, getting 10 out of 15 questions wrong.

Not only did Ryanair get two-thirds of the questions wrong, one staff member was unable to explain what a package holiday was – claiming that because the “hotel was provided by a third party it doesn’t count as a package”.

The “third party” hotel was booked via Ryanair Rooms, and the flight and hotel were part of the same transaction.

When asked about Linked Travel Arrangements rules staff at six of the seven travel companies got this question incorrect every single time Which? asked it.

The investigation did reveal that with the right training, companies can get the advice right with TrailFinders only getting one question wrong.

The consumer group’s travel editor Rory Boland said while the rules around travel protection could be difficult to understand, “that is no excuse for travel agents who are in the business of selling holidays to give travellers the wrong information”.

He said it was “completely unreasonable” for the responsibility to rest with holidaymakers.