Travel plans hit amid Kenya warning

KENYA Nairobi Downtown Nairobi with people crossing road waiting traffic and high rise buildings....

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%Four people have been killed in bomb blasts in the Kenyan capital Nairobi as British holidaymakers were being flown home early from the East African country's other main town Mombasa.

The Kenyan National Disaster Operation centre tweeted that there had been two explosions in Nairobi - the gateway tlo the country's main safari parks.
One of the blasts was reported to be on a 14-seat matatu tour bus. Both explosions were in the Gikombna Market area of the city. A number of people were injured.

The blasts - around 1pm UK time - follow terrorist attacks earlier this month in and around the coastal town of Mombasa.

These incidents prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to amend its Kenya travel advice. The new advice warned against all but essential travel to parts of Mombasa.

This, in turn, led to some UK tour operators cancelling Kenya holidays, with around 500 British tourists being flown home yesterday and today from Mombasa.

The first plane carrying Thomson and First Choice holiday company tourists arrived early today at Gatwick airport.

A second plane is due back from Mombasa tonight, with Thomson and First Choice cancelling all flights to Kenya until the end of October.

Two clients with long-haul travel company Kuoni are also being flown home today, with the company not offering any more holidays to the Kenyan coast for the time being.

Thomson and First Choice have cancelled all flights to and from Kenya until the end of October.

UK travel organisation Abta said: "We estimated that around 500 British tourists were travelling with tour operators in resorts at the time of the change of (FCO) advice.

"These customers have been safely repatriated out of these areas. Anyone still travelling in the affected areas should make contact with their travel provider. (The) Diani (area) remains unaffected by the change to advice. Flights into Nairobi also remain unaffected."

An Abta spokeswoman said: "Alternative destinations or full refunds will be offered to consumers travelling on package holidays to affected areas for as long as the advice remains in place.

"If customers are due to travel to the areas impacted, they should contact their tour operator, who will advise them about the status of their booking."

Holidaymaker Alex Dolphin, from Surrey, arrived back at Gatwick, having spent three days at a resort on Diani Beach.

He told the BBC: "I didn't feel uneasy until we were in a convoy of three coaches parked on the roadside waiting to leave for the airport.

"I was keeping an eye open as we drove through Mombasa."

Other holidaymakers had mixed views about the way the whole situation had been handled. One man told the BBC it had been "a shambles" but other returning holidaymakers said tour companies were "very professional" and had "done the right thing".

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Travel plans hit amid Kenya warning

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.


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