With the tremendous upheaval in travel plans for most people, we at The Discerning Collection would firstly hope everyone is keeping safe. We as a company are doing all we can to ensure that all cancelled holidays are refunded as promptly as humanly possible and wherever we can, we have deferred your holidays at no extra cost. We are, unfortunately, at the mercy of airline policy with regards to refunds of flights and some of the timing of this refunding has been woeful to say the least.
As Managing Director, I have written to all our guests who were due to travel in May, June, July and August advising of the latest situation and letting all these guests know that we have amended our Terms and Conditions temporarily so that the balance of your holidays can be delayed to only three to four weeks prior to departure depending on the date of your holiday. As we operate our own Trust Account, all monies paid to us, with the exception of any money paid for flights, are held in this account until you return from holiday. Therefore, it seems pointless to hold your balance payments until we are more aware of exactly what is happening to your holidays and so we want to be as flexible as possible to suit your needs not ours.
We have managed to agree with all our overseas partners that the accommodation costs for any deferrals will remain exactly the same as the rates in 2020. Airlines are now beginning to release their 2021 rates and so we are able to give definitive quotes for some early 2021 holidays.
I would like to thank all our guests for their patience during this difficult time and also for the many lovely comments we have had in our dealings with your affected holidays. Its greatly appreciated and acts as a timely reminder as to why we are in this industry in the first place.
Keeping You Safe
Flying to your destination:
The whole experience of flying to your chosen destination has no doubt changed since the outbreak of Covid 19. At all departing airports in the UK, face masks are now a requirement in the terminal, at check-in and at the boarding gate. It is advisable to get to the airport at least three hours before departure given the extra procedures that are in place prior to check in. As there is also a UK government requirement for passengers to wear face masks on all public transport, this will also be a requirement on the plane you will travel in.
Hand baggage and catering is also being limited so please check with your airline as to the exact amount that you will be allowed to carry on board and what their on-board service will be. Please check on these links to see what the airlines policies are:
Turkish Airlines https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-gb/announcements/coronavirus-outbreak/
For further information on how UK airports are keeping passengers safe, please see the following links:
London Gatwick – https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/coronavirus/
London Heathrow – https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/fly-safe
London Stansted – https://www.stanstedairport.com/coronavirus/
London Luton – https://www.london-luton.co.uk/safer-travel
Bristol – https://www.bristolairport.co.uk/covid-19
Birmingham – https://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/covid-19-update-and-advice/
East Midlands – https://www.eastmidlandsairport.com/coronavirus/
Manchester – https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/coronavirus/
Liverpool – https://www.liverpoolairport.com/welcome-back-we-ve-missed-you
Newcastle – https://www.newcastleairport.com/10pointplan/
Doncaster Sheffield – http://flydsa.co.uk/covid-19/
Glasgow – https://www.glasgowairport.com/covid19/
Edinburgh – https://www.edinburghairport.com/flysafe
At Your Destination
On arrival at your destination airport face masks are a requirement at the airport terminals. Please see the following links for arrival/departure information at our destination airports:
Please see information for Kefalonia Airport which is also valid for the other Greek airports we fly in to: – https://www.efl-airport.gr/en/efl/health–safety-measures
Your transfer vehicles are also individually cleaned prior to your transfer and hand sanitisers are provided on most journeys.
At your accommodation we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure your holiday is as safe as possible. Cleaning at hotels, apartments and villas have been upgraded and will in all cases conform to the local government’s strict requirements. All well used areas and items are being paid particular attention to including light switches, hairdryers where supplied, remote controls, safes, door and window handles bathroom and kitchen surfaces, kitchen utensils, handrails and keys and key-cards.
In our hotels extra hand sanitisers will be provided and in villas a hand sanitiser will be included in your welcome pack. All staff in all our accommodations will follow strict social distancing rules, will wear masks and where necessary wear disposable gloves. In Turkey our hosts will still visit at breakfast times but are aware of the social distancing rules and will follow these strictly.
Breakfasts which in most cases were buffet service are now served at your table.
Sun loungers at hotels, beaches and beach clubs will be spaced in accordance with social distancing rules.
Spas and gyms are may not be operating at the moment but we will keep you updated on your individual accommodations as and when the rules change.
As of 8th September 2020 the wearing of masks in public places has become mandatory in Turkey. In effect masks should be worn whilst walking in streets and shops etc but can be removed when in restaurants, bars, beach clubs and whilst in your hotels and villas.
If an outbreak of Covid 19 occurs whilst you are on holiday
All our local staff and our hotel and villa partners are fully briefed on what the processes are should there be another outbreak including quarantine procedures if necessary. We will look to implement the local government instructions and laws immediately and will liaise with the Foreign Office and airlines to enable you to return home as quickly and as safely as possible.
FAQs during the Coronavirus pandemic
Is it possible to cancel my holiday?
If you have booked a package holiday and all elements of the holiday (including flights, accommodation and transfers) can be fulfilled then our normal terms and conditions apply. If the airline has cancelled the flight then we will refund your payment in full.
If you have booked an accommodation only holiday with us and there are no restrictions to the destination country then our standard terms and conditions apply. Please note that as a condition of an accommodation only booking, the deposit paid is non-refundable. This is clearly stated on your confirmation invoice. However, wherever possible, especially if we have paid an advance to the accommodation owner, we will try and negotiate with the supplier in order to defer the booking to later in the season or into next year. However this is entirely up to the accommodation owner.
Is my holiday definitely going ahead?
Currently all our holidays, with the exception of Mallorca and Morocco, are going ahead. The UK government has deemed it possible to travel to Turkey, Greece, Italy and Montenegro. All flights to these destinations are operating and all our accommodations are open and operational.
My balance is now due, do I have to pay?
We have altered our terms and conditions to allow all our guests to delay the balance of payments until 4 weeks prior tom departure. If all the elements of the holiday are going ahead then you will have to pay your balance and we will send you a gently reminder.
Can I defer my holiday?
If all the elements of the holiday are operational then provided the suppliers agree to a deferral (with or without a charge) we will do our utmost to action the deferral. However as of the 27th July 2020 there will be a charge of £100 per person and this charge will be to partially compensate the accommodation in question for loss of business in 2020. If you need to cancel for any specific reason such as illness then we will refer you to your insurers in the first instance.
Will I have to quarantine on my return?
At the moment holidays returning from Turkey, Greece, Italy and Montenegro are not subject to a 14 day quarantine period. Guests returning from Mallorca are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
How safe is my holiday in my chosen destination?
All our hotels and villa partners and the resorts that we feature are observing strict procedures with regard to social distancing and cleaning. For more information on specific countries please click the following links:
Turkey – https://www.easyjet.com/ejcms/cache/medialibrary/Files/Entry-declaration-forms/Phase-2/Turkey-passenger-locator-form.pdf?la=en&hash=EA7526E95EF535534DFC42181CBD08A6D5DF4AF1
Greece – https://travel.gov.gr/#/
Italy – https://www.easyjet.com/ejcms/cache/medialibrary/Files/Entry-declaration-forms/Phase-3/SELF-DECLARATION—English.pdf?la=en&hash=A73A2AAB0EB43211C2BA7E2B2C421203F4F4137F
What is the Foreign Office advice for travel to my chosen destination?
For the latest information and advice from the Foreign Office please click on the following link: www.fco.gov.uk/en
Nick Wrightman – Managing Director