As flights are cancelled across the UK, many holidaymakers are choosing to stay at home or change their travel plans. But that's not possible for timeshare owners
May and June of 2022 have been a terrible time for UK travellers with a colossal 159 flights cancelled in just one weekend at Gatwick Airport alone.
EasyJet was the worst hit, cancelling 80 scheduled flights on one Sunday.
It is thought that things won't get back to normal for a while whilst there is a backlog of thousands of travellers trapped overseas and a pile up of baggage in UK airports.
Anyone who has seen the 1987 film 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' will have an idea of what these travellers are going through. But instead of one person trying to get back home, it's thousands including:
Of course, no one wants to accept responsibility, so the government is blaming the airline industry, which is in turn blaming the government.
Things are not looking good for the summer, which has led many people to consider making alternative arrangements.
People are now re-thinking the idea of booking an overseas holiday because of the travel uncertainty. A real prospect being that their flight will be cancelled at the last minute which will have a knock-on effect with other arrangements.
Going on holiday involves a lot more than just turning up and catching a flight. It involves taking time off work, arranging pet care, sorting out car hire and more.
Staycations could provide a great option, perhaps at a British campsite, hotel or on a canal boat.
People who have booked holidays can normally cancel and get a full refund, so this shouldn't be a problem.
Even if they book a holiday at a timeshare resort using a site like Booking.com, many of which are now open to non-members, they may be able to get some money back.
However, while most people won't have any problems, the CEO of European Consumer Claims, Andrew Cooper, says that timeshare owners are most likely to suffer.
"As we saw *during the pandemic*, timeshare resorts will charge annual fees in full whether the clients are able to use their holidays or not."
He goes on to say that this "once ground-breaking holiday system is too inflexible for the challenges of the modern traveller."
Timeshare owners often have to plan a couple of years ahead to book accommodation. That just doesn't work for today's holidaymaker. People need more flexibility, and they want to be able to decide from one week to the next where to go and when.
Mr Cooper highlights some of the problems faced by timeshare owners. "Timeshare resorts tell prospective clients that they can exchange to different times and locations, but in reality, those systems don't work. There are expensive annual fees to be a member of an exchange system, and there are even more costs to actually make an exchange or bank a week. You can't bank a week at the last minute (for example if EasyJet cancels your flight when you reach the airport.)
And because resorts are more cash strapped than ever, they are not very forgiving.
"Unlike regular hotels, they can't afford to refund the money that members must pay every year in order to use their accommodation. This has resulted in many members paying for holidays they couldn't take in both 2020 and 2021."
The risk is that these members will now experience the same thing happening in 2022 and end up paying for three years for something they don't get.
"The timeshare industry's stance is that this is an unusual set of events, and they are not to blame. But that is really the point. The world is an uncertain place, and when unforeseen events mean a holiday is cancelled, timeshare just isn't flexible enough to accommodate people's needs. The resort is guaranteed their money but the customer is not guaranteed what they paid for."
Do you own a timeshare and want to find out about the option of getting out of the membership? Contact our friendly team today at the Timeshare Advice Centre for a no-obligation assessment.