Irish travel expert offers holiday advice before booking flight this summer

An Irish travel expert is urging people to be cautious before booking an flight abroad this summer.

Siobhan Maguire of says there are many Irish people who booked holidays last summer who are still trying to get refunds for flights.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has stated that foreign travel and holidays will resume “later in the summer.”

The Green Party leader said that more information on a definitive timeline for the return of international travel will be released during Friday’s address to the nation.

When asked for a specific date when travel is likely to resume, Ryan said: “What I’ve been saying for the last two months is that I expect it later in the summer.

He told Newstalk: “The exact dates [will be] in July or early August or some such time and the benefit of that is it gives us time to see about the variants, what will happen in the UK, what will happen with our own numbers and what will happen with the vaccine programme.”

Have Irish people already booked holidays abroad this summer?

Greece could be the word this summer. Pictured is marvellous Mykonos

Half a million Irish people have already booked holidays abroad this summer.

Consumer expert Siobhan Maguire sees a similar thing happening to last summer and that people will struggle to get refunds if they book this year.

Siobhan said: “There is definetely a convesation starting about overseas travel again.

“Anybody booking needs to be prepared for a version of what we had last summer which was pretty much a calamity of cancelations, a scrambling of refunds or bonded vouchers.”

What are Ryanair and Aer Lingus offering for change of flight dates?

Ryanair have a zero flight change fee in place and that applies to bookings before the 30th of June this year.

Siobhan told the Brendan O’Connor RTE Radio One programme on Saturday: “You’re instantly taking a punt on being allowed to fly between now and the 31st of October.

“That’s the window of travel time on offer.”

If people move their August flight, they can only do so until at the latest sometime in October.

She added: “After that, you go back to the flight change fees, these be as much as €70 to €100 each way and then you have additional fees for check in bags and so on.”

Aer Lingus has a booking with confidence campaign underway until the end of the year.

The idea of this is flexibility where they will allow you you free change on any flight departing until the end of this year.

Siobhan Maguire said: “You can change them up until two hours before departure (with Aer Lingus).

“They only looking at 2021 at the moment.

“You can move a flight into next year with any airline if you want to, it’s just you will pay the fair difference.”

What are travel agents advising?

Travel agents are advising consumers to play a little bit of a waiting game.

Siobhan added: “We need to be very careful about booking.

“People who do scramble to book early in the summer and remember we’re being told that we’re not allowed to travel until maybe the end of August.

“People who do travel are doing so against government advice.

“That brings into the equation the whole issue of travel insurance.

“They are going to follow the letter of the law and if you’re not then your travel policy is invalidated.”

She is encouraging people to hold on before booking until Irish people get some more clarity on when international travel will be allowed.