On the Greek island of Rhodes, wildfires have spread, forcing some tourists to leave their possessions behind and seek temporary shelter.
While some flights to the island from the UK have been canceled, travel agencies and airlines are rushing to get some of the affected people home.
Up to 10,000 Britons have already visited, and many more have travel plans in the upcoming weeks. What rights do they have then?
Many airlines are running their flights as usual, but some have canceled flights or package vacations planned for the next few days.
Importantly, the official UK Foreign Office advice has refrained from recommending against visiting Rhodes. Rather, it suggests that people heed the advice of the Greek emergency services. Anyone who intends to travel should contact their operator, airline, or hotel first.
Wherever they are planning to travel, people should continue to check as this advice is subject to change.
In addition to the 2,400 tourists and locals who had to leave Corfu, there are also wildfires on Evia.
Greek officials urge tourists to continue with their vacation plans after claiming that the fires in Corfu are under control.
Travelers should still confirm that their accommodations and flights are unaffected.
Since a specific clause is unlikely to exist, the Foreign Office's advice is extremely important.
Claims typically become valid if there is official advice to stay home. That is not the situation right now.
As a result, it currently depends on your particular policy. There may be few opportunities to file claims for some people who have specified specific medical conditions or if they became ill as a result of the wildfires.
Currently, different businesses have different rebooking policies and levels of flexibility.
- Jet2 has canceled all scheduled travel to Rhodes over the next seven days, but flights with no passengers on board will still go there to transport travelers home.
- All of Tui's flights to the island have been canceled through and including Friday, July 28. Additionally, it has canceled all outbound flights to the affected hotels through Sunday, July 30. Refunds will be given to all customers. Customers who are currently in Rhodes may board their original or return flights to travel home. On Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30, passengers scheduled to travel to areas unaffected by fires may change their travel plans or request a refund.
- Easyjet has postponed the cancellation of package vacations until Saturday, July 29. Customers who were scheduled to travel to the affected resorts up to and including August 10 are being contacted "to discuss their options.". It is sending repatriation flights while still operating flights as usual and allowing customers to change their travel dates.
- Flights are being operated as usual, according to Ryanair.
- Online travel agency Thomas Cook announced that it had canceled some trips to the affected areas and was offering full refunds. It also said that some passengers who had reservations for travel to other regions on Monday and Tuesday were contacted with the option to cancel and receive a refund if they so desired.
- British Airways stated that although its flights to Corfu and Rhodes were operating normally, passengers who needed to return early could change their flight for free and those who didn't want to leave the UK for the destination within the next week could postpone their flight.
There is no Foreign Office advice against travel to Rhodes or Corfu, so there's nothing to stop airlines selling standalone flights, nor do they have to cancel those already scheduled.
Package vacations are more difficult, though. They might include fire-damaged lodging, and since operators have a longer duty of care, they might decide to cancel.
Someone who travelled on a package deal and is forced to come home early may receive a partial refund.
Although you would still have taken an outbound and an incoming flight, you would not receive half of your money back if you were booked for two weeks and returned after one.
The best option is to keep in close contact, where possible, with your holiday company.
If you traveled on your own, the price of your hotel room would vary depending on the establishment.
According to travel expert Simon Calder, anyone who cuts their vacation short because it is unpleasant or because they fear getting stuck is unlikely to be eligible for a refund.
That is because it is their choice, rather than necessity. The island as a whole is not at risk from the fires.
It is a complicated picture because the fires are not affecting the entire island. Some holidays are cancelled, while individual flights may still leave.
There is a chance that your entire trip has been canceled if you purchased a package. If that's the case, you'd be able to rebook somewhere else or get a full refund.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents, there is no automatic right to a refund if you simply decide not to travel. Instead, it depends more on the specific travel agency.
If flights are canceled, anyone who booked lodging separately would receive a refund for that portion, but they would need to get in touch with their hotel for the remainder.
Once more, individual airlines and hotels decide whether to offer refunds if a customer decides not to fly.
Many of the same cancellation policies are applicable if people decide against traveling due to the heat.
We have an explanation of those issues here.