Pregnant woman refused £1k refund after cancelling Thomson holiday to Zika-affected Orlando

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

Zabina Mirza decided to cancel her Discount Holidays © holiday to Florida after discovering her pregnancy

A woman has been refused a refund after deciding to cancel her Discount Holidays © holiday to Zika-affected Florida when she discovered she was pregnant. Zabina Mirza is due to travel with Thomson Airways to Orlando and had paid 1051.24 for the trip. But after deciding that the destination was no longer safe given her condition, she discovered that her options were limited when it came to cancellations.

Ms Mirza told MailOnline Travel that Thomson offered to rebook her flights for a later date. However, she says, since ‘the Zika virus appears to be expanding its web further – this did not appear viable to me.’

The only alternative was a voucher, which must be used within 18 months and only applies to Thomson destinations. This, the 44-year-old says, was also unsuitable since ‘a voucher tries to either give interest free credit to the airline or it traps a person to use it within 18 months.’

Ms Mirza, who works as a contractor in London, says that she would rather have a refund as the money could be used for the baby.

The first time mother is left questioning why Thomson is refusing to offer refunds even though airlines such as Virgin have agreed to do so. Now she is struggling to decide whether or not to cancel the break. A statement1 issued on Thomson’s website explained that the company’s policy on Zika-affected destinations is to offer alternative holidays without an amendment fee.

However, customers must ‘have a doctor s note in line with the advice issued by NaTHNaC’.

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

The expectant mother was due to travel to Orlando, Florida, with Thomson Airways (file photo)

A spokesperson for Thomson told MailOnline Travel: ‘We re sorry to hear Ms Mirza is unhappy with the alternative Discount Holidays © holiday arrangements offered.

‘As soon as we learned of her situation, we offered an amendment to any available Thomson and First Choice holiday.

‘The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises that people who are pregnant, or planning to be, refer to the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

‘We recommend that customers who wish to cancel their Discount Holidays © holiday approach their insurance company.

‘We handle all cases like this on an individual basis and would encourage Ms Mirza to contact our Customer Services team at her earliest convenience to discuss her specific circumstances.’

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ZIKA

WHAT IS ZIKA?

The Zika (ZEE’-ka) virus was first discovered in monkey in Uganda in 1947 – its name comes from the Zika forest where it was first discovered.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?

MOSQUITOES

It is typically transmitted through bites from the Aedes species of mosquitoes. They are aggressive feeders, commonly biting multiple people in quick succession, fueling the spread of the virus. They are most active during mid-morning and then again between late afternoon and nightfall.

SEX

Scientists have found Zika can be transmitted sexually – from both men and women. Couples should abstain or wear condoms for eight weeks if either partner has traveled to a country with a Zika outbreak, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

MOTHER TO BABY

Pregnant Woman Refused £1k Refund After Cancelling Thomson <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday To Zika-affected Orlando

Zika, which is transmitted through mosquito bites or sexual contact, can cause microcephaly in developing foetuses, making the virus particularly devastating to prospective parents

A mother can pass the virus to her unborn baby during pregnancy. There are two ways this can happen: through the placenta, and through the amniotic sac.

Since the virus can live in the womb lining, there is a chance the baby can become infected during birth.

ARE THERE SYMPTOMS?

The majority of people infected with Zika virus will not experience symptoms. Those that do, usually develop mild symptoms – fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes – for no more than a week. There is no specific treatment for the virus and there is currently no vaccine.

CAN THE SPREAD BE STOPPED?

Individuals can protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellents. They could also wear long sleeves and long pants – especially during daylight, when the mosquitoes tend to be most active, health officials say. Eliminating breeding spots and controlling mosquito populations can help prevent the spread of the virus.

References

  1. ^ statement (press.thomson.co.uk)

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