Charity Challenge has been in business for over 20 years and in that time has had to face a number of situations affecting travel including SARS, terrorism, volcanic explosions, Bird Flu, Ebola, Zika, strikes, war and threat of war and many other scenarios. It has been stressful at times, but we have managed to get through them all and we remain hopeful and confident that the peak of the current pandemic will be reached in the coming few months and that things will return to normality soon after.
We appreciate that with 24-hour updates from around the world, first-hand accounts, videos, statistics, maps and live streams, it’s hard to not feel impacted even though most of us continue to go about our daily lives the same as before Covid-19 was named! We catch the tube, go to work, visit friends, eat in restaurants and meet friends and family.
We know that you have questions around your bookings with Charity Challenge, or perhaps you are considering what to do about making a booking and wanting to know what your options are. I hope the following Q&As will help you but please do email us if you have any other questions.
We will do our best to respond to you ASAP but as you will see below, we are prioritising the enquiries from participants for trips departing in the next few weeks and please be understanding if it takes a little longer than usual to respond to any emails.
What happens if I make a booking with Charity Challenge and the trip can’t run due to Covid-19?
Please rest assured that if Charity Challenge cannot operate a challenge in the host country due to Covid-19, we will offer you a number of options including:
- the chance to postpone your challenge to a later departure (this year or next)
- to join any Charity Challenge trip in another country (this year or next)
- to receive a refund of monies paid for the challenge
Please note there are no admin fees to either postpone or change destinations, should we be forced to cancel your existing challenge.
What if I postpone the challenge and then the later trip is also affected?
Even if you move on to another challenge later in the year or next year, if we still find ourselves in a position where we cannot operate the challenge in the host country, we will offer you the same options as above, to postpone, to change trips or to receive a refund.
What if the challenge costs are different on the new challenge I ask to move on to?
Depending on which payment option you have booked with, we will either invoice you or refund you on the difference between the registration fees, and you will either have to raise more or less sponsorship based on the new challenge minimum sponsorship levels.
When will you make the decision if you have to cancel my challenge?
We currently have 1000s of participants booked on hundreds of challenges over the next 24 months. As you would expect, we are prioritising groups that are departing imminently and will continue to work through the next challenges in date order.
We do anticipate that within a month, or two things will be much clearer, and we expect trips for later in 2020 to proceed as planned.
There is no set time to make this decision, but we will try and let you know around 2-3 weeks before departure if the advice is against travel. Advice that is in place today, could be lifted tomorrow, and there could be no negative travel advice today and then it is added tomorrow. The situation is very changeable, and where we can still operate your challenge, we will do so. If advice has been against travel and this is still in place 2-3 weeks before departure, we will ensure we speak to you individually and communicate your options.
On what basis are you deciding whether to cancel or not?
We are continuously monitoring the advice from the UK authorities (Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and Public Health England (PHE)), the global health authorities (World Health Organisation (WHO)), the government advice from the host countries we are travelling to, our ground agent’s perspective of things on the ground, the airlines we fly with, and a number of other national government authorities including the US State Department, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Canadian government travel advisories. If we are advised against travel by the FCO or prevented from operating your challenge in the host country due to local restrictions, we will cancel your challenge.
What if there is no official advice against travel, but I want to cancel anyway?
We respect that some people may feel more comfortable staying at home, and not travelling regardless of the destination or official advice. If you choose to cancel, we will action your request but where we are still able to operate the challenge, our standard cancellation terms will apply (see terms and conditions).
What if my trip is ground only and I have booked flights myself?
Where a challenge is ground only, you will be responsible for your international travel arrangements to and from the host country. If your trip is cancelled, you will need to liaise with your airline over any changes that need to be made. If official travel advice is given against travel to that country, or the host country refuses to accept flights from the UK, the airline is likely to be flexible over changes to dates and routes. If however, you cancel of your own accord, despite there being no advice against travel to the host country, the airline is likely to be less flexible. Each airline will have different policies, but you must discuss the situation with them to see what they can and cannot do.
What precautions are the airlines / airports doing to protect the spread of infection?
Every airline differs, but most are taking hygiene to new levels:
- Enhanced cleaning processes – Surfaces can harbour the virus, so janitorial staff at airports across the country are cleaning more frequently and paying special attention to disinfecting high-touch areas like handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, counter tops and food court areas. Planes will also undergo enhanced cleaning, according to multiple airlines including disinfecting surfaces after each flight.
- Hand sanitizer everywhere – Passengers are more likely to see hand sanitizer on ticket counters, at boarding gates, customer service desks, baggage service offices and lounges. Airlines are setting up their own hand sanitizer dispensers at places like check-in counters and gates in addition to the ones the airports are installing, and on planes too.
- Air quality – Many airlines have filtration systems for a cabin free of airborne contaminate
Is my travel insurance policy likely to cover me if I am affected by Covid-19?
The travel insurance that Charity Challenge has provided in the past (through Endsleigh) and currently offers (through Campbell Irvine) to date, provide support as follows:
- If a participant is taken ill with the Coronavirus prior to their trip and is unable to travel they will be able to lodge a claim under the cancellation and curtailment section.
- If a participant is in compulsory quarantine on the order of a treating medical practitioner in the UK, they will be able to lodge a claim under the cancellation and curtailment section of the policy.
- If the beneficiary needs medical assistance whilst on the trip for coronavirus, this is also covered.
Do I have to pay my balance for imminent trips, or can I wait and see?
We are continuing to make the plans for your challenge and if you have been invoiced, please continue to pay as normal. If as above, we cannot operate the challenge in the host country due to Covid-19, you will have the chance to postpone, change destination or get a refund.
What if my fundraising is impacted by not being able to host planned fundraising events?
If you have any concerns around your fundraising, and current restrictions that would mean cancelling your fundraising activities, please speak directly to your chosen charity.
If you have any further questions regarding your challenge please do not hesitate to contact us.
+44 (0)20 8346 0500