Today, Money Mail calls travel companies to treat single people fairly.
Last month, we highlighted the case of Peter, from Somerset, who was charged a & # 39; single supplement & # 39; to travel alone after his wife died last year.
His story sparked an avalanche of letters and emails from other single travelers, many of whom are widowers, who say they have also been penalized for additional "unfair and disproportionate" fees.
Jayne Tee (pictured with her late husband, Bill) canceled her holiday in Mallorca after discovering that she would have to pay a supplement for what she thought was a single room.
Our research can now reveal how:
- Single travelers are usually charged twice as much vacation as those who book as a couple;
- Money Mail readers cite cruise companies among the worst offenders;
- Widows and widowers can no longer pay vacations after their partners die;
- Some hotels and cruise ships do not offer single rooms;
- Tourists can be forced to pay an individual supplement even when booking a single room.
The population of single people in England and Wales, aged 16 and over, is now 16,361,685, an increase of 3.9 million from 2002 to 2017.
And 6.6 percent of this age group (3,139,776) are single because they have been widowed.
The travel industry defends the additional charges as necessary, because if they charge per room, one less person will spend on extras such as drinks and food.
However, experts warn that travel companies are alienating a large part of the market as a result.
Dennis Fisher, 81, of Leeds, knows very well how expensive individual supplements can be. He was married to his wife for 58 years, and during that time they enjoyed dozens of cruises.
But retired dental nurse Sandra died suddenly of an aneurysm in her brain in February of last year.
Several months later, Dennis, a retired export director of a clothing company, tried to book another cruise with friends. But the four-year-old grandfather soon realized he could not afford it.
Princess Cruises had announced a double room for £ 2,058 on an 11-night cruise starting from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Penalized: Dennis Fisher with a picture of him on a cruise with his deceased wife, Sandra
But when Dennis tried to reserve the same room as a single client, he discovered that he would have to pay £ 1,943 – £ 914 more than a person would pay as part of a couple.
He says: "It was my fervent desire to continue sailing, but I can not afford it as a result of these totally disproportionate charges."
The retired local government official, Jayne Tee, canceled her holiday in Mallorca after she discovered that she would have to pay a supplement for what she thought was a single room.
Fleet's great-grandmother, Hampshire, lost her husband, Bill, six years ago.
But last month, a Saga employee told Jayne, 75, that the price of £ 1,014 for his seven-day vacation included a supplement of £ 140, although he thought he was booking a single room.
After accepting originally, he later decided to cancel the vacation because he felt that the charge was unfair. She says: & # 39; I was pretty upset when they told me. & # 39;
Money Mail investigated vacation prices for individual travelers online and compared them with those offered to couples.
A room on an 11-night European cruise with MSC was on sale for £ 2,398 for a double booking, or £ 1,199 per person.
But a single traveler would still have to pay the total of £ 2,398. And a single tourist would have paid 91 percent more for a 12-night cruise in the South Caribbean with Royal Caribbean.
While the firm advertised a room for two at a price of £ 1,760, a single traveler would have to pay £ 1,678.
We investigate the prices of holidays for individual travelers online and compare them with those offered to couples
Activists say that the fees for supplements are often too high. Last year, a study conducted by the Good Housekeeping Institute found that the often hidden costs of being single, in all aspects of life, amounted to £ 2,049 per year.
Pippa Jacks, group editor of Travel Trade Gazette, says: "A small supplement is not unreasonable, but one that means that a traveler only pays double what seems unfair."
Former pension minister Ros Altmann suggests that industry guidelines on charges for single people would ensure that people are not scammed.
She says: "If a hotel can sell a double room for two people, then a single traveler can not expect to pay half the price, but maybe there could be an industry standard when it comes to these charges."
Have you been hit?
Has a single supplement affected you?
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The ABTA Travel Association says that solo travelers can save money by booking organized tours or even sharing a room.
All the companies that Money Mail approached said that the supplements varied in all types of reservations.
Money Mail also found that several hotels belonging to chains such as Marriott, Holiday Inn and Premier Inn did not offer single beds and were charged per room, so single tourists would have to pay twice as much.
Meanwhile, a Best Western hotel in Peckham, in southeast London, announced a single room for £ 50.01, with a double room at £ 52.89.
A Money Mail reader sent us a receipt from a tour operator that showed he had booked a single hotel room for £ 125, although he was also charged an "individual supplement" of £ 15.
"The room alone is big enough for me, it's a single bed and a person," says the 85-year-old widow. "And, of course, just like a person's food every day."
Dennis Fisher wrote to several cruise companies to ask for a justification of the charges, but all maintained that the supplements were necessary for commercial reasons.
Princess Cruises confirmed that it did not offer individual rooms and says that its price is based on two people sharing a cabin to be economically viable.
A spokesman for Saga says that there were only double rooms at the Jayne Tee hotel. Some were available without a supplement, but as reserved only one month before the departure date, none were left.
Both Holiday Inn and Marriott say that the prices of their reservations are fixed based on the room rate.
MSC says it has a restricted number of individual cabins & # 39; It costs 50 percent less than a double, but it would not confirm how many.
Royal Caribbean declined to comment.
An ABTA spokesperson says: "Sharing a room is not mandatory, it's an option. The hotels work mainly on the basis that two people stay in the room. If you do not pay exactly double, you will actually get a discount. "
When addressing the charges for single room, he adds: & # 39; Modern hotels tend to have more individual rooms due to demographic changes.
"Single rooms are generally more than half the size of doubles and usually have en-suites, so they can cost more than half a double."
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