Generally your rights in such situations will be governed by the contract you had entered into at the time of booking. I have checked the Thomson website and there are various terms applicable to the separate types of holidays – as you had a cruise and flights, you will be subject to two separate sets of conditions, one for each mode of transport.
The Flight Conditions of Carriage state:
“9.1.1 The flight times shown in timetables may change between the date of publication and the date you actually travel. We do not guarantee them to you and they do not form part of your contract with us.
9.1.2 Before we accept your booking, we will notify you of the scheduled flight time in effect as of that time, and it will be shown on your Ticket. It is possible we may need to change the scheduled flight time subsequent to issuance of your Ticket. If you provide us with contact information, we will endeavour to notify you of any such changes. If, after you purchase your Ticket, we make a significant change to the scheduled flight time, which is not acceptable to you, and we are unable to book you on an alternate flight which is acceptable to you, you will be entitled to a refund in accordance with Article 10.2.”
If we then look at Article 10.2 it states:
“10.2 INVOLUNTARY REFUNDS
10.2.1 If we cancel a flight, fail to operate a flight reasonably according to schedule, or cease to operate a route, the amount of the refund shall be:
10.2.1.1 if no portion of the Ticket has been used, an amount equal to the fare paid”
So according to their own rules, if the changes they make are significant, you are entitled to get a refund. What is a significant change can vary from case to case and on an individual basis. A 3h difference in the flight times is unlikely to be a significant change, especially if you had sufficient notice of this. Had the actual dates changed then you will have a better argument it was a significant change. The change of airport may also not necessarily be significant depending on the distance between the two airports, your location and changes in travel time/’costs, the facilities at each airport, etc.
As to your rights and what you can do to challenge this, I will use advice provided by the CAB, which neatly summarises your position:
“If you can’t reach an agreement with your holiday organiser, your options depend on how much time you have before your departure date. If you have several months, check if your organiser is a member of a trade organisation such as:
- the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)
- or The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
These associations have codes of practice for their members and may be able to help.
If you don’t have time to involve a trade association you need to decide whether to go on the holiday.
If you still want to go, you may have to accept the changes and make a claim for compensation when you get home. Send a letter to your organiser explaining that you are accepting the changes under protest. Keep a copy of your letter and get proof of postage.
If the only option you are prepared to accept is a full refund, you need to think carefully about going on the holiday. You are very unlikely to receive a full refund if you have gone on the holiday so your best option may be to cancel the holiday and make a claim immediately.”