Do you know how many people had planned during this time an awesome trip to disconnect from the routine? How many people had been affected by flight cancelation or for a change in travel restrictions? That is why it is vitally important that we inform ourselves of what to do in case of cancelation of flights, hotels, or other travel services?
If as a traveler I find myself in a situation of travel cancelation due to COVID-19, firstly we must consider whether the reasons for such cancellation are rational.
It is essential to remain calm and evaluate the different options before canceling or booking a trip. In addition, we must analyze the information of how the objective situation is at the destination according to the information and travel restrictions provided by the government. It is important to do not fall into the trap of paying attention to the neighbors saying, “But with what is coming out, are you going to travel?” If our government and the destination government do not have a travel ban, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the destination without crowds!
Currently, the situation caused by COVID-19 has been improving so countries have been reducing restrictions. The European Union decided to open borders between the countries belonging to the Schengen zone in mid-June and recently in 15 other countries in the rest of the world.
However, outbreaks have occurred in our country that have caused several countries to decide to impose restrictive measures on Spanish citizens who wish to travel to certain places. Some countries as United Kingdom have imposed quarantine, while others like Germany require a PCR test, and other has banned entry. If you are planning a trip, don’t forget to inquire at the ambassy or consulate of the destination countries or on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
La Oficina de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU) affirms that the first thing we must ask ourselves before making a cancellation request is, who is the originator of the cancellation initiative. It will not be evaluated in the same way if the initiative for said cancellation is ours o that of the agency, airline, or tour operator. If the cancellation initiative derives from the company and not from the traveler, in most cases we would have the right to recover everything paid for our travel package. The most complex cases is when the initiative to cancellation is ours, where the emotional suffering of having to cancel the dream trip and the assumption of the economic cost would be added, besides your travel insurance won’t cover you either because it wouldn’t ruler by any government or public health restriction.
The Office of Consumers and Users (OCU) informs that all passengers affected by flight cancellations as a result of the situation due to Covid-19 have the right to Information, assistance and refund of the amount of the ticket, if it is convenient for the traveler. You would be entitled to change the date of travel to a later date at your convenience.
The European regulation (EC) 261/2004 informs us that as cancellations are due to an extraordinary circumstance outside the company, “the passenger is not entitled to financial compensation between 250 to 600 euros that the law provides for the cases of cancellation of flights that occur under normal circumstances.
The European Consumer Centers Network informs that if we find ourselves in the situation of not being able to travel due to the health measures / risk derived from COVID-19. Both accommodation and transportation used should be entitled to both a refund and a voucher. However, keep in mind that a voucher could be a good solution to contribute to the survival of small suppliers in the tourism sector.
If you decide to accept a voucher, it is advisable to consult the general conditions to ensure that it can be refunded at the end of its validity period.
If the company breaches its obligations and does not respect yours rights, you must claim from said company and in case of no response or if it is unsatisfactory, you can file a claim with AESA, using the following claim form.
Or contact the consumer and user organization (OCU) specialists in defending consumer rights. OCU recommends:
If your travel provider does not provide you with an answer, the alternative is the claim in court. For amounts less than 2000 euros you can make the claim personally without the need for a lawyer or attorney.