Booking Terms & Conditions
YOUR CONTRACT IS WITH HEADSEAST LTD (UK company number 6717612) a Member of ABTA (membership number Y1699) and holder of ATOL license 10287, trading as “The Trans-Siberian Travel Company.”
1) Your holiday contract
When you make a booking you guarantee that you have the authority to accept and do accept on behalf of your party the terms of these booking conditions. A contract will exist as soon as we issue our confirmation invoice. This contract is made on the terms of these booking conditions, which are governed by English Law, and the jurisdiction of the English Courts. You may however, choose the law and jurisdiction of Scotland or Northern Ireland if you wish to do so.
2) Your financial protection
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.
We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).
If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.
3) ABTA – The Travel Association
We are a Member of ABTA, membership number Y1699. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA’s Code of Conduct. We can also offer you an arbitration scheme for the resolution of disputes arising out of this contract. The scheme is arranged by ABTA and administered independently. It is a simple and inexpensive method of arbitration on documents alone with restricted liability on you for costs. The upper limit on claims is £5,000 per person and £25,000 per booking form. The scheme doesn’t apply to claims which are solely in respect of physical injury or illness or their consequences. It can however deal with claims which include an element of minor injury or illness subject to a limit of £1,500 on the amount the arbitrator can award per person in respect of this element. Your request for arbitration must be received by ABTA within eighteen months of the date of return from holiday. For injury and illness claims, you can request the ABTA Mediation Procedure and we have the option to agree to mediation. Further information on the Code and ABTA’s assistance in resolving disputes can be found on www.abta.com.
4) Your Holiday Price
A) We reserve the right to alter the prices of any of the holidays shown in our brochure. You will be advised of the current price of the holiday that you wish to book before your contract is confirmed.
B) When you make your booking you must pay a non-refundable deposit of 20% per person (not including any international flights) plus any international flight fares applicable. The balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 60 days before your departure date*. If the deposit and/or balance is not paid in time, we shall cancel your travel arrangements. If the balance is not paid in time we shall retain your deposit. The price of your travel arrangements is fully guaranteed and will not be subject to any surcharges.
C) When you buy a flight-based holiday, all monies you pay to the travel agent are held by him on behalf and for the benefit of the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust at all times. This is subject to the agent’s obligation to pay it to us for so long as we do not fail. If we fail, any money held at that time by the agent, or subsequently accepted from you by him, is and continues to be held on behalf of and for the benefit of the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust without any obligation to pay that money to us. When you buy a holiday not including a flight, all monies you pay to the travel agent are held by him on our behalf at all times.
*Tsars Gold, Golden Eagle and Imperial Russia private train trips require a 20% deposit plus any flights and full payment 90 days before the trip start date.
5) If You Change Your Booking
If, after our confirmation invoice has been issued, you wish to change your travel arrangements in any way, for example your chosen departure date, tours or accommodation, we will do our utmost to make these changes but it may not always be possible. Any request for changes to be made must be in writing from the person who made the booking or your travel agent. You will be asked to pay an administration charge of £50 per person plus any further cost we incur in making this alteration. You should be aware that these costs could increase the closer to the departure date that changes are made and you should contact us as soon as possible. Note: Certain travel arrangements (e.g. Air Tickets) may not be changeable after a reservation has been made and any alteration request could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that part of the arrangements.
Certain changes, such as a change of date less than 60 days before departure, may be treated as a cancellation of the original booking and rebooking in which case cancellation charges will apply – you will be advised at the time you make your request where applicable. For any change of date of your booking the re-booking will be subject to the cancellation period at the time of the change to your original booking if within 60 days of your original date of departure.
6) If You Cancel Your Holiday
You, or any member of your party, may cancel your travel arrangements at any time. Written notification from the person who made the booking or your travel agent on your behalf must be received at our offices. Since we incur costs in cancelling your travel arrangements, you will have to pay the applicable cancellation charges as shown below. Note: If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges.
NUMBER OF DAYS BEFORE THE START DATE OF YOUR TRIP WITH US WHEN WE RECEIVE YOUR CANCELLATION. SHOWN AS A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR TOTAL TRIP PRICE*.
Over 60 days before commencement Deposit only
59-40 days before commencement 50%
39-14 days before commencement 90%
14 days or no show 100%
*The trip price does not include visas, visa processing fees, travel insurance or guidebooks, which shall be 100% forfeit in all cases. In addition if an element of the Tour is a scheduled air fare, then you should be aware that the tickets are usually issued immediately upon us receiving your deposit payment. If you cancel the Tour after the date on which tickets are issued the airline will in most cases impose cancellation charges which will usually be the full cost of the airfare. The Company will advise you of these charges before cancellation. These cancellation charges will be passed on in full and are in addition to any other cancellation charges listed above. Tsars Gold and Golden Eagle train trips have differing cancellation conditions – ask us for details.
7) If We Change or Cancel Your Holiday
It is unlikely that we will have to make any changes to your travel arrangements, but we do plan the arrangements many months in advance. Occasionally, we may have to make changes and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Most of these changes will be minor and we will advise you or your travel agent of them at the earliest possible date. We also reserve the right in any circumstances to cancel your travel arrangements. For example, if the minimum number of clients required for a particular travel arrangement is not reached, we may have to cancel it. However, we will not cancel your travel arrangements less than 60 days before your departure date, except for reasons of force majeure or failure by you to pay the final balance. If we are unable to provide the booked travel arrangements, you can either have a refund of all monies paid or accept an offer of alternative travel arrangements of comparable standard from us, if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value).
In accordance with EU Regulation 2111/2005 we are required to advise you of the actual carrier operating your flight/connecting flight/transfer. Any changes to the actual airline after you have received your tickets will be notified to you as soon as possible and in all cases at check-in or at the boarding gate. Such a change is deemed to be a minor change. Other examples of minor changes include alteration of your outward/return flights by less than 12 hours, changes to aircraft type, change of accommodation to another of the same standard.
If we make a major change to your holiday, we will inform you or your travel agent as soon as reasonably possible if there is time before your departure. You will have the choice of either accepting the change of arrangements, accepting an offer of alternative travel arrangements of comparable standard from us if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value), or cancelling your holiday and receiving a full refund of all monies paid.
8) If You Have A Complaint
If you have a problem during your holiday, please inform the relevant supplier (e.g. your hotelier) and our local representative immediately who will endeavour to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved locally, please follow this up within 28 days of your return home by writing us giving your booking reference and all other relevant information. Please keep your letter concise and to the point. This will assist us to quickly identify your concerns and speed up our response to you. It is strongly recommended that you communicate any complaint to the supplier of the services in question as well as to our local representative without delay. If you fail to follow this simple procedure we will have been deprived of the opportunity to investigate and rectify your complaint whilst you were on holiday and this may affect your rights under this contract. Please also see clause 3 above on ABTA.
9) Our Liability to You
If the contract we have with you is not performed or is improperly performed by us or our suppliers we will pay you appropriate compensation if this has affected the enjoyment of your travel arrangements. However we will not be liable where any failure in the performance of the contract is due to: you; or a third party unconnected with the provision of the travel arrangements and where the failure is unforeseeable or unavoidable; or unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised; or an event which we or our suppliers, even with all due care, could not foresee or forestall. Our liability, except in cases involving death, injury or illness, shall be limited to a maximum of 2 times the cost of your travel arrangements. Our liability will also be limited in accordance with and/or in an identical manner to
The contractual terms of the companies that provide the transportation for your travel arrangements. These terms are incorporated into this contract; and
Any relevant international convention, for example the Montreal Convention in respect of travel by air, the Athens Convention in respect of travel by sea, the Berne Convention in respect of travel by rail and the Paris Convention in respect of the provision of accommodation, which limit the amount of compensation that you can claim for death, injury, delay to passengers and loss, damage and delay to luggage. We are to be regarded as having all benefit of any limitation of compensation contained in these or any conventions.
You can ask for copies of the transport companies’ contractual terms, or the international conventions, from our offices (Address & Telephone). Under EU law (Regulation 261/2004) you have rights in some circumstances to refunds and/or compensation from your airline in cases of denied boarding, cancellation or delay to flights. Full details of these rights will be publicised at EU airports and will also be available from airlines. However reimbursement in such cases will not automatically entitle you to a refund of your holiday cost from us. Your right to a refund and/or compensation from us is set out in clause 6. If any payments to you are due from us, any payment made to you by the airline will be deducted.
NB this clause does not apply to any separate contracts that you may enter into for excursions or activities whilst on holiday.
It is common and accepted practice for transport methods employed on our trips to run with delays, or to run below operational standards that would be regarded as normal in Western Europe. We cannot accept any claim of any nature which relates to any failure of transport operators to conform either to timetables supplied by us or to their own timetables or arises from deviations from operational standards by transport operators whose services form part of our itineraries (whether original or amended).
8) Prompt assistance in resort
If the contract we have with you is not performed or is improperly performed as a result of failures attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the services, or as a result of failures due to unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised, or an event which we or our suppliers, even with all due care, could not foresee or forestall, and you suffer an injury or other material loss, we will offer you such prompt assistance as is reasonable in the circumstances.
9) Passport, Visa and Immigration Requirements
Your specific passport and visa requirements, and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements.
Excursions or other tours that you may choose to book or pay for whilst you are on holiday are not part of your package holiday provided by us. For any excursion or other tour that you book, your contract will be with the operator of the excursion or tour and not with us. We are not responsible for the provision of the excursion or tour or for anything that happens during the course of its provision by the operator.
We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential. You must ensure you take out a policy which includes appropriate cover for medical expenses and for your repatriation to the UK in the event of medical need and for loss or damage of belongings. Please read your policy details carefully and take them with you on trip. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs.