ONE in three Britons have had an accident or disaster while on holiday abroad with over five million people claiming they needed medical treatment.
But according to research by Sainsbury's Bank, only one in three, 35 percent of holidaymakers making a claim on their holiday insurance, have their losses settled in full, primarily because they have gone on holiday with inadequate insurance coverage. Every year, ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, repeats its advice to all Britons going abroad to take out holiday insurance, but still many decide to take a gamble and save some extra Pounds. But, in the event of an accident or loss, the costs can be much dearer than the holiday insurance policy.
The research has also found that in addition to so many people receiving medical assistance while on holiday abroad, eight percent have suffered from losing their luggage, six percent have had to cut short or cancel their holiday for unforeseen circumstances and five percent have had their money stolen. In fact, mishandled baggage was the biggest gripe among United Kingdom air passengers, and complaints against many airlines doubled over the last year, according to an airline consumer group. In the year to the end of March 2003, the Air Transport Users' Council said written complaints about “mishandled baggage” increased by 50%.
About half of this year's baggage complaints were about bags put on wrong flights.
Most of the problems with delayed baggage arose when a journey involved a connecting flight from a regional airport in the United Kingdom via an airport in mainland Europe. However, there is good news for air travellers.
Some time this year the Montreal Convention is expected to come into force with its increased limits on airlines' liability for passengers' luggage and is expected to improve the situation. Another growing area of concern, the council said, were discrepancies arising through internet bookings.
In particular, the mismatch between what passengers believe they have booked over the internet and the flight details actually shown on their confirmation e-mails, which often is not discovered until check-in.

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