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Travel Question: Can TUI make me fly with another company?

Travel Question: Can TUI make me fly with another company?

Q I have a holiday booked in August with TUI. I have now been told that I am flying with GetJet. I’ve never heard of it and the internet reviews are very poor. Any advice please?

Ray G

A GetJet is a medium-sized airline, based in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. It specialises in providing “ACMI” capacity for other carriers and holiday companies – usually in the Baltic region. ACMI stands for “aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance”. In the incessant jargon of the aviation industry, that practice is also known as “wet leasing” – as opposed to “dry leasing”, where the crew is not supplied.

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The crucial question: what will it mean for you? You will have a different experience to the typical TUI Airways flight. The aircraft is likely to be significantly older: the average age of the Airbus A320 is almost 20 years, and its Boeing 737s were built more than 20 years ago. So don’t expect a bright and shiny new plane. But conversely don’t fret about safety standards. The airline must adhere to European regulations, and the Civil Aviation Authority will take a close interest in aircraft drafted in to fly to and from UK airports.

“Our reputation is built on the attention we pay to every single detail,” says GetJet. “For our passengers, our mission is to always ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.”

You will be the judge of whether the company lives up to those claims, but bear in mind that TUI is fully aware of the reputational implications of using wet-leased airlines and will have made plenty of stipulations about customer care. The practice of chartering-in capacity is widespread: for example, British Airways is currently wet-leasing a relatively old Air Belgium Airbus A340 to cover for grounded Boeing 787 jets.

BA, unusually, is allowing passengers who were expecting a modern Boeing some options, saying: “We recognise that you may not wish to travel as a result.” But the general rule is that any airline reserves the right to subcontract the flying to another airline. And in a summer when the Boeing 737 Max grounding means TUI Airways and many other carriers are short of their planned fleet, plenty of passengers will find they are flying on unfamiliar aircraft.

Every day our travel correspondent Simon Calder tackles a reader’s question. Just email yours to s@hols.tv or tweet @simoncalder

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