Brits travelling to Florida face battle for holiday refunds if they change their minds after Hurricane Michael

Airlines are under no obligation to pay any cash back to holidaymakers who decide not to fly if the flight they are booked on is still operating.

They are quick to point out the fact you no longer want to go to a storm hit region is not their problem – it merely has a contract to deliver you to the airport of your choice.

This is never clearer than when people have booked to visit an area in the known hurricane season which in the case of Florida runs from May 15 to November 30

Travel insurers will protect policy holders who inadvertently find themselves in a hurricane-hit area. But they do not cover “disinclination to travel”.

Unless the Foreign Office warns against travel – and in this case it hasn't – there is a built-in assumption the trip will go ahead making it hard to claim cash back.

An ABTA Spokesperson said “ If customers cancel a flight or holiday simply because they are worried, this is known  as “disinclination to travel” and they would not be able to claim any resulting cancellation fees from their travel insurance.

"Once a hurricane has passed, tour operators with programmes to the areas will liaise with the local authorities, accommodation providers and airlines, to establish if the holiday arrangements of customers due to travel imminently have been significantly impacted.

"Where this is the case, the tour operator will discuss with those customers the details and as appropriate offer the options of – deferring the date of travel, choosing an alternative destination or a refund.

"However, customers who have booked independently and not a package holiday, may be liable for cancellation charges for accommodation and other services such as car hire and flights."

Rescue services say they are now waiting for daylight to assess the full impact of the 155mph hell storm on the Sunshine State, which is a mecca for millions of Brit tourists.

Two people, including an 11-year-old girl, were killed by falling debris by the Category 4 hurricane which caused scenes of devastation along the Gulf Coast.

Not surprisingly, many Brits booked to fly to Florida are now asking is it still safe to travel there and will everything still be open?

One Brit posted on TripAdvisor: "Due to fly to Orlando later this week..will the storm be gone by then and will it be safe?

Another asked: "Does anyone know if the theme parks will be affected by the hurricane as I'm coming with the kids?"

One mum wrote: "My daughter and I are travelling to Penascola Beach next Tuesday. Any updates about the state of the Holiday Inn on the beach and the beach itself?"

However, in Orlando, almost 300 miles away, the international airport was still operating as normal as were the city's world-famous theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

And British Airways, Delta and Thomas Cook have confirmed that flights and holidays to Florida from the UK had not been impacted by the killer storm.

However, acording to, which tracks flight status in real time, 270 internal flights were cancelled in the 24 houirs after Michael hit.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now updated its travel advice to Florida – telling travellers to keep a careful eye on the situation.

“Hurricane Michael is forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane when it reaches the northwest Florida Coast overnight on 9/10 October,” said the FCO.

“A state of emergency has been declared in Florida and Alabama. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

"Life-threatening storm surge is expected along the coast. If you’ve planned travel to or within affected areas in the near future, you should keep your plans under close review."

The Atlantic hurricane season normally runs from June to November and can affect US coastal regions and Hawaii.

The FCO recommends staying in close contact with your airline, tour operator and accommodation provider if you’re planning travel during this period.

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