Coronavirus and travel – know your rights

13/03/2020

As Covid-19 or Coronavirus continues to spread across the world, it is causing major disruption to travel plans for millions of people.

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to China and Italy, two of the worst affected countries, and all travel to China’s Hubei Province, and some cities in South Korea with the situation under constant review.

Elisabeth Glover, a Senior Solicitor specialising in commercial litigation, looks at your rights when it comes to changing travel plans:

What happens if I want to cancel my flight, hotel or holiday?

You should first check your terms and conditions of booking for any cancellation terms. That said, even if the terms and conditions mean you are outside the normal cancellation window or would normally incur fees or other charges, I would recommend contacting your travel agent or supplier directly as it may be possible for charges to be waived in exceptional circumstances and/or for your booking to be transferred to another date.

What happens if my airline, hotel or travel company cancels or changes my booking?

If you have booked a package holiday (at least two different parts of a holiday – for example, travel AND accommodation - booked at the same time with the same company), and the booking has been cancelled or substantially changed, you should be entitled to a full refund.

If you have not booked a package holiday, you would need to check your terms and conditions of booking. If the booking has been cancelled or substantially changed, you are likely to be entitled to a refund.

If you have paid for the booking with a credit card and the price was more than £100, you may also be able to recover the purchase price via your credit-card company.

Can I claim for a cancelled trip through my travel insurance?

That will depend on the insurance policy you have taken out; you will need to check your policy and its terms and conditions.

What if I want to travel to China or Italy? Will I be covered by my travel insurance?

That will depend on your travel insurance policy. Many standard travel insurance policies will not cover claims if you have travelled against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice. You should make sure that you have adequate travel insurance before you travel.

For further advice, please contact Elisabeth Glover at the details below.


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