OUR COVID-19 BOOKING ASSURANCE

In these uncertain times we understand that financially committing to a school trip may seem daunting. Having spoken at length with schools and group leaders, we are also aware that there is still hope to be able to give your students a school trip, especially in the aftermath of one of the most challenging periods we have experienced.

Therefore we would like to advise you that any new booking comes with our assurance that it can be made with minimal financial risk but with the benefits of booking your school trip now.

Why book your trip now?

  • You will have the widest choice of travel arrangements and accommodation to secure your ideal destination and best price
  • The pastoral benefits of getting students excited and looking forward to their upcoming trip.

What is our COVID-19 Booking Assurance?

  • For any group that books a new school trip from September 1st, 2020 and chooses to cancel you will receive a refund. You may have to forfeit your flights deposit depending upon when you cancel - see below.
  • Like our trips, your deposit schedule is fully tailored to your requirements
  • You will always have a dedicated person who will be available throughout the planning process and able to answer any questions that you may have.

What are the refund details? How much are we entitled to?

Throughout the lockdown and the summer, we have worked with our suppliers to give you as much flexibility as possible.This means that if you have to, or decide to, we will be able to offer you a refund. The only exception to this flexibility is flights. However, do not be alarmed as there are two courses of action open to you to increase your flexibility when booking your flights:

  • If you have paid your deposit with Inspired Travel and decide to cancel before we book your flights for you, you will receive 100% of the money you have paid us.
  • If you have not used Inspired Travel to book your flights for you, these will be subject to airline restrictions. From us you will receive a 100% refund between 85 and 70 days before departure
  • If you have booked a school trip with us and decide to cancel after we have booked your flights, there are still several options open to you, depending upon your situation:
    • If the FCDO advises "all but essential travel" leading to your flight being cancelled you will receive a full refund.
    • If you have booked with Icelandair, British Airways or Jet2, you will only be charged a small cancellation fee - £25pp for Icelandair, £40pp for British Airways and £30pp for Jet2, if you are cancelling for a reason that falls under our COVID-19 assurance scheme as listed below and within 85-70 days prior to your departure date.
    • If you have booked with a low budget airline, we may have to offer less flexibility as we have to commit to the full cost of the flight at the time of booking, which is non-refundable to us. Therefore, if this option applies to your group, you may not get a refund back for the flights but will still receive money back for other elements of your trip if you cancel between 85 and 70 days prior to the departure date.

What reasons for cancelling flights will be protected by our COVID-19 Booking Scheme?

  • FCDO advising against all but essential travel to your destination
  • Department for Education embargo on overseas trips
  • Quarantine is required in your trip destination
  • Quarantine is in place in your home country for those arriving from your trip destination
  • National or regional lockdown restrictions which prevent your group from travelling
  • If social distancing regulations would make group travel infeasible

COVID-19 Booking Assurance and our booking conditions:

  • Our standard Booking Conditions apply to any individual passengers that drop out. The COVID-19 assurance applies to groups only.
  • Our Standard Booking conditions apply to all other areas of your booking, not outlined in the COVID-19 assurance

What happens if I have to cancel after the full balance has been paid?

When it comes to cancelling the majority of your trip including coaches and hotels, we will be able to offer more flexibility to help you postpone your trip to another time or to receive a refund. The only aspect that we are unable to offer the same degree of flexibility is with the flights. This is because airlines will only cancel - and refund - under specific circumstances. If your reason for cancelling falls outside their appointed conditions, we with work with you to move your flights to a more suitable time and to ensure that the postponed trip has all the elements that were booked on the first instance. There may be a small fee, levied by the airlines when changing flights.

The circumstances and degree of flexibility that you have are listed below:

FCDO advising against all but essential travel to your destination

If your departure is imminent, then you would be entitled to a full refund. We would also be able to work with your to arrange and alternative date of departure.

Department for Education embargo on overseas trips.

Traditionally, we generally find that the Department for Education (DfE) issue advice notices with a warning and for a fixed term. This means it is likely that you would know their position when your final balance becomes due. Although unlikely, if their advice changes after you have paid the final balance, then we will work with you to postpone yoi=ur trip to a time outside the DfE's fixed term.

Usually the advice against overseas travel issued by the DfE goes hand in hand with the FCDO advice "against all but essential travel" and you will receive a refund.

Quarantine upon arrival at the trip destination.

We continue to monitor the destinations guidance regarding quarantine on arrival and will be able to advise how this may affect your trip. If quarantine is likely to impact your trip we will work to find alternative dates for travel.

Quarantine is in place in your own country for those arriving from your trip destination

If this is your reason for cancelling, the next steps depend upon the wording of the FCDO advice. Typically, we have seen that an imposed quarantine upon arrival home is usually in place with advice "against all but essential travel" to this destination. If this is the case you will receive a refund or we can postpone and rearrange your trip. If, and it is unlikely, there is a quarantine but no advice "against all but essential travel" then we will work to postpone and rearrange your trip.

National or regional lockdown restrictions which prevent your group from travelling.

Typically, lockdowns have been paired with FCDO advice "against all but essential travel". If this is the case then you would receive a refund or would be able to re-schedule your trip to a later date. If there is a lockdown but travel is deemed safe then we would work to postpone and rearrange your trip. If you are under a local lockdown we will work to postpone your trip.

                                                                  SAFETY AND FINANCIAL ASSURANCES

The health and safety of our students has always been paramount to us. We understand that in the aftermath of the pandemic, teachers, students and parents will need assurance that we will be able to deliver a trip that is safe for everyone.

Since the initiation of lockdown in March 2020, we have worked closely with groups to resolve their travel plans and continued to put in place a robust framework for school travel. We have liaised extensively with transport providers, service providers, hotels and other business partners to meet the restrictions in place at any one time. We continue to monitor and adapt in these changing times. 

We have worked to ensure that all our suppliers meet their national and, where appropriate, regional/local restrictions and that they are able to provide safe environment for our guests. We will continue to monitor all aspects and keep you informed of any key changes.

We have recognised, following conversations with teachers through the pandemic, that flexibility of payment and reduced risk with cancellation together with health and safety are your priorities.

As members of the Travel Trust Association (TTA), the country's leading organisation for independent tour operators, we are also able to further safeguard the deposits paid to us. All payments are made to the Inspired Travel Trust account within the TTA. This is audited independently and all payments on behalf of a group can only be made with the authorisation of the trustees who scrutinise any payment request. In this way deposits paid and payments made on a groups behalf are totally transparent.

                                                                             SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS

Our level of service to our teachers from the planning stage to the date of return has always been one of our strengths and we pride ourselves that we are able to do so. During these more uncertain times we shall continue to provide the same service although we have had to adapt to virtual support, whether it is as a planning meeting for staff or a parents meeting. Our inspection trips will resume when it is safe to do so.