The coronavirus impact on the travel industry is huge so it is vital for every single person that wants to travel or had a holiday planned to be aware of what is possible and what is not. At the moment, the official recommendation is to avoid all travel, except “essential travel”.
To put things into perspective, visiting the top tourist attractions in Africa is not considered to be essential travel. An example of such a trip would be going to another country because you need a medical procedure done.
So what are your travel rights?
This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends on what you travel with and what insurance you have. When you go on essential travel, insurers do maintain coverage. However, rights do depend based on what airline you chose and the policy’s small print.
Destinations to avoid
Traveling to Europe, even on a budget, is not a good idea right now because the FCO officially recommends that you do not travel to any other country for a minimum of one month.
In the event that the flight is canceled, you can expect a refund from the airline. Similarly, when the return flight is canceled, the airline has the obligation to help you get back home. The only situation when this does not happen is when the passenger requested a refund and got it.
Most airlines now offer free rebooking for flights. Also, hotels in lockdown areas offer refunds or give you the option to rebook at a future date. However, if the hotel is operational and booking is stated as non-refundable, you will lose out on the money you paid.
When it comes to rebooking and refunds, the best thing to do is to contact your holiday provider or the airline you fly with. All travel receipts and invoices need to be kept in the event that a claim is necessary.
Remember that insurers have different policies in place. There are some that allow you to get refunds and coverage if a change happens for 1 month before the departure date. However, most will ask you to hold up to 2 days before the departure date to cover the possibility that the FCO changes its advice.
Missing flights because of quarantine
Unfortunately, if you need to enter quarantine, most travel insurers do not give you a refund nor do they cover travel expenses. This is because it is considered that the situation could have been avoided. However, with a good attorney and proof that it was not your choice to enter quarantine, refunds and compensation claims are possible.
Your travel rights vary from scenario to scenario so it is up to you to be aware of what is possible and what is not. However, generally speaking, when referring to insurance and refunds, everything is usually connected to the travel insurance policy and the policy of the airline you fly with. You need to be aware of what is possible and what is not from this point of view.