Hundreds of On The Beach holidaymakers furious as Spanish and Greek hotels are closed but flights still going ahead

HUNDREDS of furious On The Beach customers have found their Spanish and Greek hotels are closed but flights are still going ahead.

Passengers say it's "impossible" to contact the package holiday website to find out whether they will have accommodation when they arrive at their destination.

The Sun spoke to one family due to fly out tomorrow who still haven't been given information on their alternative accommodation and fear they will turn up to a closed hotel with nowhere to stay.

Others who've yet to fly have been left waiting to know if trips will go ahead or if they'll be refunded instead, and some whose trips have been cancelled are still waiting for refunds.

Aaron McCann, 43, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland is due to fly out to Santa Susanna in Spain first thing tomorrow morning with his wife, 39, his parents aged 65 and 65, and his children aged 16, 12, 11, and nine.

But the manufacturing worker, who shelled out £3,600 for the family holiday, says he's yet to be provided with an alternative hotel or refund despite telling On The Beach over a month ago that his hotel was closed.

"I can't just turn up at the airport tomorrow to find out there's no hotel; I've got young children and my father has recently been diagnosed with cancer; I can't put them through that.

"It’s unethical for On The Beach not to confirm if it has found us suitable alternative accommodation less than 24 hours before we are due to fly out.

"Even if it does find us somewhere we now have no time to make preparations and arrangements. It's a nightmare."  

The UK government released its full list of “safe” countries earlier this month, which means quarantine restrictions restrictions don't apply to holidaymakers returning to the UK from countries including Spain and Greece.

But some holidaymakers hoping to take advantage of the new travel corridors have instead experienced holiday hell.

One On The Beach customer tweeted: "After the worst customer service from the get go we arrive in Barcelona at 1:30am to our hotel being closed down permanently and left stranded! Still can’t get hold of @OntheBeachUK."

Another wrote: "@OntheBeachUK My friend has just flown out to Ibiza, been dropped off at the hotel Pisces. And it is closed, she is stuck. What does she do?"

Someone else said: "@OntheBeachUK imagine flying in less than 48 hours but your hotel is closed and your flights are going ahead with no communication from your travel agent whatsoever.

What are my rights if my hotel is closed?

IF you arrive at your pre-booked hotel or know it's closed before you head off your rights differ depending on your booking.

For package holidays

If you realise before you fly that your hotel is closed, your tour operator has to provide alternative accommodation.

If it's unable to do this, it's probably best you don't travel and instead you'll be owed a full refund under Package Travel Regulations.

If you're unhappy with the alternative accommodation provided this becomes a grey area as to whether you can cancel and get a full or partial refund. If you're unsure and your booking is with an ABTA member, you can register a complaint online.

You could also consider staying at alternative accommodation but say it's "under protest", which means you can submit a compensation claim after if you're unhappy.

For those who arrive at their accommodation to find it's closed and who can't get through to their package travel provider, book your own alternative accomodation and claim the costs back.

Remember to keep any receipts and don't expect to be refunded for a five-star hotel if your original booking was a four-star.

For non-package holidays

Here, you're not entitled to a refund or alternative accommodation in the same way package holidaymakers are.

Contact your travel provider, or the hotel if you booked directly, in the first instance to request a refund or to see if it can provide an alternative; perhaps a larger sister hotel is open.

If you have no luck, you may be able to claim from your card provider or under your travel insurance.

Credit card providers are jointly liable for purchases of between £100 and £30,000 under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

For credit card purchases of under £100 or debit card purchases you may be covered under Chargeback rules but unlike Section 75 this is not a legal guarantee.

You are however, unlikely to be able to recoup the costs of any alternative accommodation you need to book, even if it costs more.

"Deluded. Looks like I’m going to actually be sleeping on the beach."

If you've booked a package holiday it's the responsibility of the tour operator to find alternative accommodation if your hotel is closed, or to provide you with a full refund – see the box above for more on this.

For those unhappy with the response they get from their travel provider or who don't get a response, if the company is an ABTA member you can also submit a complaint via the trade body's website.

Earlier this month Which? reported similar issues being suffered by Loveholidays customers.

On The Beach blames the "complicated situation" but says it "will always" contact customers before departure.

Where it can't find alternative accommodation at the same standard or of a higher standard, or if it hasn't confirmed a new hotel, it advises customers not to travel and it will instead offer a full refund.

But if you're unhappy with the alternative accommodation and don't want to travel On The Beach warns that cancellation fees may apply.

After The Sun got in touch with the tour operator it contacted Aaron and offered him a full refund.

An On The Beach spokesperson said: "This is a complicated situation and we are working closely with all of our partners abroad to ensure that our customers can enjoy their perfect summer holiday."

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