With the big freeze and heavy snow expected in the coming weeks, people are clamouring to book their holidays in the sun, and while vacations are usually simple to arrange, Brexit is throwing holidaymakers’ travel plans into disarray.

Recently, Ryanair has secured a UK air operating certificate from the CAA which allows them to continue to fly domestically and to non-EU countries. But what about other airlines, will they still fly to Europe? And what will happen to package holiday protection?

Travel expert Fiona Macrae from, the consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk tells you what you need to know before booking your break abroad.

How will Brexit affect my package holiday?

paris france eiffel tower brexit
Even a short trip to Paris could be affected by Brexit.

If your holiday occurs before 29 March 2019 and was booked with a company based in the EU, you will be covered for repatriation back to the UK if you have already travelled to your destination. A full refund will apply if the company goes go bust or ceases trading.

In the event of a deal, the protection noted above will stay the same, but only if you book with an EU company and your holiday occurs before December 2020. In order to get the same level of protection if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will need to have purchased your package holiday via a UK-based company.

Also if you book a package holiday with a company based in the EU that operates in the UK, then the UK insolvency protection rules will provide cover in the event the company goes into liquidation. If your package holiday is booked for after 29 March 2019, there is a risk that insolvency protection will cease to apply to UK consumers.

What if my airline isn’t able to take-off post-Brexit?

The ‘open skies’ agreement means that planes can travel from the UK to the rest of Europe. Formal agreements have yet to be confirmed so we will have to wait to see if this will continue after 29 March 2019.

If you book a flight and the plane is unable to take-off after Brexit you will be able to get a full refund for your ticket from the airline or tour operator.

 What happens if my flight is delayed? Can I get compensation?

If your flight is delayed you will be entitled to claim for compensation up to €600 from the airline under European passengers’ rights rules. However if your flight is delayed due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ such as the recent drone flight chaos or poor weather conditions, then you  won’t be permitted to claim compensation.

Those with travel insurance may be able to claim a small amount of compensation from their policy for delays lasting six or 12 hours and usually have a limit of ranging from £100 to £600.

Will I need to purchase travel insurance when travelling abroad post-Brexit?

Regardless of Brexit, travel insurance should always be a necessity and be purchased as soon as the holiday is booked. It is important to check the policy documents and cover limits to ensure the policy you purchase will suit and adequately cover your needs.

Our research shows that 48% of holidaymakers arrange the individual parts (flight, hotel, car hire) of their holiday online rather than purchasing a package deal.  To ensure they have adequate protection, we would advise these so-called independent travellers to look for a policy that offers cancellation which would cover: ‘if something happened after the date you paid your premium, which you could not have been expected to foresee or avoid’.

It is important to note; most policies will cover specified causes only and as Brexit is not a specified cause you would have to check your policy wording carefully so you are not left disappointed in the event you need to make a claim should there be a disorderly Brexit.