/ Travel & Leisure

Coronavirus: your travel and consumer rights questions

The coronavirus outbreak is causing disruption to international travel. Has it affected your plans? We explain your rights.

Last updated: 3 April – 16:00 GMT

Which? continues to cover what impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on travel, consumer rights, and other parts of consumers’ lives. We’re continuing to listen and respond to your questions below, and have updated our guidance below based on what you’re asking.

Jump ahead to the questions

See all of Which?’s coverage in the Which? Coronavirus Hub

Previous update from 24 March

The UK Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel abroad as COVID-19 spreads across the world.

Flight, holiday and event cancellations are affecting travellers visiting outbreak hotspots and other popular tourist destinations.

We’ve been getting lots of questions about what this means for your travel plans, so we’ve put together this Q&A to respond to your concerns.

If you’re worried about whether you’re still safe to travel, you can check the UK Foreign office advice for the latest updates on the country you’re planning to visit.

Airlines including British Airways, Ryanair, Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic, have cancelled many flights until further notice, and are refunding passengers.

Some airlines operating internally within Asia, Europe and the US are also running reduced services.

It’s worth checking your flight is still going ahead if you’re due to return home, fly internationally, or have a connecting flight.

Delays can be expected at airports as passengers are screened for the virus.

If you have any other questions, ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Your travel questions

I’m stuck abroad because my flights, and all other flights home, have been cancelled. What do I do?

The airline you booked with has a duty to rebook you on another flight or a ‘rescue’ flight, or help you organise travel home. But it doesn’t seem like many are sticking to this commitment.

If your airline is ignoring the rules, don’t claim a refund. Instead, come home on any airline you can as soon as possible and bill the original airline for the new ticket.

Pay with a credit card if you can.

If your airline just isn’t helping you, or you can’t get in touch with them, there are a few things you can also do:

  • If you’re on a package holiday, or you booked through a travel agent, get in touch with them. They should be able to advise you further and possibly book alternative travel for you.
  • Check to see if your travel insurance will cover alternative travel costs and any extra accommodation you might need.

You can also try and get in touch with the British consulate in the country you’re visiting for advice.

Read more on what to do if you’re a UK passenger stranded abroad

My connecting flight was cancelled due to the coronavirus, am I entitled to a refund?

If your flight starts or ends in the UK, or an EU country, your airline should reroute you or refund your full fare.

If your flight is outside of the UK or an EU country, it will depend on the airline’s policy, but you should be refunded if a flight has been cancelled.

Check the airline’s policy on how they deal with delays – not all of them have the same protections as flights departing or returning to the UK or EU.

See all of our guidance for travellers during the Coronavirus pandemic

My airline is offering a voucher for a cancelled flight, not a refund. Is that allowed?

No. If  your flight is cancelled you’re due a refund. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Many people are telling us the airline website isn’t working for refunds. Wait a few days and it will become easier.

Read more about what each airline is doing with flight cancellations

If my package holiday firm goes bust, will I get my money back?

If the firm is ATOL protected, yes. This government run scheme – operated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – safeguards your money if your provider stops trading and your trip is unable to go ahead.

Almost all package holidays booked in the UK are Atol protected. To find out if you’re covered, check your trip paperwork for an Atol certificate and logo with a four or five-digit number.

You can verify this by going to the ‘Check an Atol’ section of the CAA’s website, caa.co.uk.  

My airline says my flights aren’t cancelled and won’t refund me, despite the government travel warning. Can I get my money back?

Airlines are now routinely ignoring FCO warnings. Best practical advice is to rebook and rebook again until one of the rebookings get cancelled – which is likely, as airlines reduce schedules.

Your airline might not refund the cost of your fares if your flight is still going ahead as planned, despite the advice not to travel. In this case, you’d have to see if you can claim your money back from your travel insurance.

Read more about whether airlines are issuing refunds due to Coronavirus

My package holiday has been cancelled, and my package provider is only offering a voucher or a chance to reschedule. Am I entitled to a refund?

If your flight or package holiday was scheduled before 16 April and it’s now cancelled, you don’t have to accept a voucher or credit note, nor do you have to rebook. You are legally entitled to a refund.

More details about what to do when your package holiday is cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak

I’ve booked to go on a cruise, can I cancel and get a refund?

The government has advised to not go on a cruise if you’re aged 70 or over, or have an underlying health condition. If this applies to you, you should get a full refund from your travel company.

We’d recommend pushing for a refund rather than postponing or getting a credit note because of the current uncertainty.

Most of the major cruise companies are provisionally planning to restart sailing in either April or May. Keep your booking for now, but contact your provider to find out more about their cancellation and postponement policies.

More advice on coronavirus and upcoming cruises in Summer 2020

An event I’ve bought tickets for has been postponed or cancelled because of the virus outbreak. Can I get my money back?

If you bought tickets directly from the event organiser or an official ticket seller, they should offer you a refund or hold your tickets if the event will be rescheduled.

If your event is rescheduled in the future, but you can’t make the new date, you can still ask for your money back.

If transport or hotel bookings are affected by your event being cancelled, get in touch with the companies you’ve booked with and explain the situation. They might be able to refund you or rebook your plans for a later date.

Find out more about your rights if an event is cancelled due to the outbreak.

Your UK travel questions

What if my train, coach ferry or flight within the UK gets cancelled? Or if I choose not to travel?

It depends on what type of transport you’ve booked, and the type of ticket you have.

See our guide on whether you can get a refund if your UK travel is affected.

Can I still drive during the UK Lockdown?

The Government has said you can for specific, essential reasons:

  • Medical reasons, to provide care, or to help vulnerable people
  • Travelling to and from work (only when it is essential to do so and you cannot work from home
  • To shop for basic necessities as food. The government advises to do this as infrequently as you can, and to use delivery services where possible.

Find out more about when you can and cannot drive during the Coronavirus lockdown

Future travel plans

Will my Easter and Summer holidays go ahead?

Easter holidays are off, and it is too early to say whether summer holidays will still go ahead.

Read more on what may happen for future holidays

I’m due to go on holiday abroad after 14 April, but want to cancel now in case travel warnings are still in place. Am I entitled to a refund?

Unless the Foreign Office warns against travel closer to the time, you probably won’t be able to get a full refund if you decide to cancel now. You’ll probably have to pay a cancellation fee.

There’s no harm in contacting your airline or travel company to ask though – some are being more flexible at the moment.

If you decide to cancel your flights, you can claim back the Air Passenger Duty part of your fare from the airline. It’s usually £13 for flights to Europe, and £79 for long haul flights.

Take a look at our guide on when you can cancel your holiday.

Will I be able to claim back the cost of my bookings I made on my credit or debit card if I have to cancel my trip?

If any of your travel plans are cancelled by an airline or travel company due to the outbreak, you should be refunded directly by the company you paid.

But if you have problems getting a refund, and you paid using a credit or debit card, you could ask your card provider if you can make a claim.

When you pay by card, your bank is partly responsible for what you purchase. It should be able to refund your money if you didn’t get what you paid for.

However, if you decide to cancel your trip yourself, you won’t be able to claim for a refund using this protection.

I was hoping to book a trip soon. How can I protect my travel if the outbreak gets worse and I can’t go, or decide not to go?

Take out travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip, and check the policy will cover you if you decide to cancel due to the outbreak risk.

Find out more on whether Coronavirus is covered by your travel insurance

In response to the uncertainty around travel, some airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are now waiving cancellation fees on new bookings. If you decide to cancel, you’ll get a full refund without having to pay any fees.

Some travel agents, tour operators and cruise lines have also relaxed their cancellation policies. Check with the travel company before you book to find out how easily you’d be able to cancel.

If the FCO advises against travel to the country you’re planning to visit, you should be entitled to a refund from your airline, travel agent and/or tour operator.

More on when you might be able to cancel a holiday

More advice from Which?

You’ll find more guidance from Which? around the website, including:

See all of our guidance of the Coronavirus pandemic in the Which? Coronavirus Hub

Which? members can also speak to a dedicated legal or money adviser with Which? Legal or Which? Money Helpline. Not a member? Join here.

When your package holiday was cancelled due to coronavirus, did you package provider offer you a refund?
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We’re here, and will be updating this discussion regularly as the situation evolves.

patricia hodges says:
28 April 2020

My flights on Ryanair were cancelled due to Corona. Having had one set of flights cancelled already and only received a voucher in return we decided to move these flights in the hope we can go away later in the year. So I accepted the offer to change free of change. What I was not made aware of is the fact that whilst the rebooked flights are cheaper than the original ones Ryanair have kept the difference of £119 as a charge!

We booked a week in Ullapool 30/5 to 6/6 through booking.com. and paid half the cost £272.50 up front. the rest was due by 31/3/2020. In March we were contacted by Cottages.com to say the booking was cancelled, which they later recinded and said only bookings up to 22nd May 2020 were cancelled (conveniently avoiding the bank holiday weekend). After a lot of thought, we paid the remaining £272.50 on time. We have now had an e-mail from Cottages.com asking us if we want to transfer our booking, but no mention of a cancellation and on booking.com our booking still shows as confirmed. We do not want to transfer the booking, if restrictions are lifted we would still like to go – unlikely I know. Should I do anything or just wait and see? Cottages.com are getting dreadful reviews on other websites.

We are booked on a package holiday to Canada with Barrhead Travel which departs from Manchester Airport on Sunday 10th May, travelling with Air Transat. Despite 4 emails to Barrhead Travel we have had either no reply or an automated reply. Part of our holiday was a cruise to Alaska. Celebrity informed me on the 24th March that our cruise had been cancelled and looking at Air Transat’s website it informs me that all flights are cancelled to 31st May. I am in a quandary as to what is the right thing to do here. Please can anyone advise the correct procedure or give me any advice.

Fiona – The government has told us all to stay at home and that makes your decision easy. Your holiday is effectively cancelled and you are entitled to a full refund from whoever is stated in your ATOL certificate to be the tour organiser. It could be Barrhead Travel. If so, send them a formal written request for a refund under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. See the following Which? guidance –

Thank You very much. I presumed this was the situation but needed clarification

Colin Clark says:
8 May 2020

I took out an annual insurance with Saga last September. No claims have ben needed nor made. I asked if if the policy would be extended free of charge because travel has ben imposible because of lockdown. I am sure a fair period could be eventually calculated.

Are ferry companies legally bound to give refunds same as airlines or can they get away with just issuing vouchers for only part of the fare?

Ian – To the first part of your question, not so far as I am aware unless it is part of a package holiday or linked travel arrangement [but that does not seem to apply in your case according to your further comment below]. For the second part of your question, you are entitled to whatever is specified in the agreement you entered into when you booked – they cannot change it subsequently without giving you the option of a penalty-free exit from the contract.

To clarify the above question, we had a Jet2 flight to Budapest cancelled in March and their website said no refunds only vouchers available. I don’t blame them for trying to preserve their business, but I rang them to query it and they gave me an immediate full refund, no questions asked. We now have a ferry cancelled to France booked on a return ticket, but Brittany Ferries say we can only have a refund for 75% of the outgoing fare, because the return crossing has not yet been cancelled. How can we return if we haven’t gone in the first place?? They say if and when the return crossing is cancelled they will issue a separate voucher for 75% of the return fare. These vouchers are only for a limited period during which we may not wish to go. They insist no refunds. Are they in order, and if so, why do the same rules not apply to ferries as to airlines.

Ian – It is arguable that cancellations are not required by either party because the contract has been frustrated by legislation in both the UK and France banning all non-essential travel [which means you cannot even travel to the ferry port]. Your position could be affected by the law of frustrated contracts [the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943] whereby, due to causes outside the control of both parties, the contract cannot be fulfilled so both parties are released from it: Brittany Ferries don’t have to convey you to France and back, and you don’t have to pay them. You might need legal advice in order to invoke this law but I would write to Brittany Ferries claiming a full cash refund and informing them of your intention to pursue the matter to a conclusion.

I don’t know why only aviation has financial protection and refund rights. Perhaps there was a history of failures within the industry which spurred governments and the EU to make regulations. Obviously, flights tend to be much longer than ferry crossings and the implications of being stranded overseas that much more serious.

Em says:
11 May 2020

I don’t know why only aviation has financial protection and refund rights.

I’ve been trying to find a definitive history of what led up to EC Regulation 261/2004, but haven’t found anything useful to date. From memory …. :

Airlines have an incentive to overbook flights. Business travelers, in particular, may hold flexible tickets, enabling them to cancel or delay a flight booking at a few hours notice. If an airline books only to 100% seat capacity, planes will almost certainly run with some seats empty, which is not the most profitable way to run an airline.

Even running at exactly 100% capacity, the airline still has the problem of the said business traveler who has delayed their return home by a few hours needing to squeeze onto the next available flight. To some extent, airlines can rely on “no-shows” for a bit of space capacity. People book tickets and then miss their flight for all sorts of odd reasons – which makes for good reality TV viewing.

But passengers can and do get “bumped” to make way for high-value passengers. Strange as it may seem, a this is profitable business for the airline. The flexible ticket costs maybe £300, whereas a bumped passenger may hold a £40 cheap deal ticket. Refunding the cheap ticket still makes the airline a profit of £260.

In the old days, airlines could usually rely on an impoverished and starving student on a gap year, to voluntarily give up their seat in exchange for a few meal vouchers and a promise of a seat on the next available flight. But things could get nasty if there were no volunteers.

Regulation 261/2004 was brought in to protect European passengers from this kind of abuse (not pandemics) and it does a fairly good job in normal times of allowing airlines to operate efficiently and profitably, whilst ensuring that the passengers are not abused, at least financially. If you want to see how things operate are in the rest of the world:

“A man was violently removed from a United Airlines flight by aviation police officials at Chicago’s O’Hare international airport on Sunday [10 April 2017], in an incident captured on video by several other passengers. … [G]uards can be seen aggressively grabbing, and then dragging, the passenger down the aisle of the plane, which was bound for Louisville, Kentucky.

The airline said in a statement that the flight was overbooked, and that no passengers agreed to voluntarily give up their seats. United said airline representatives chose four passengers to leave the plane at random based on ticket class, frequent flier status and check-in time, and that one man selected refused to leave his seat.

Officials then requested the assistance of law enforcement, who forcibly removed the man. [United Airlines CEO] Bridges said the seats were being cleared for airline employees on standby who were needed by the airline for shifts in Louisville.”

The man was a doctor who refused to leave the aircraft because he was due on shift at his hospital. No doubt, he would be treated with more respect (or caution) today. Or maybe not … .

Our flights from the UK to Canada (booked using an online travel agent) are with Virgin but operated by KLM. Return flights (from the USA) are with Air France but operated by Delta. All have been cancelled – I’m unclear about who I should approach for a refund, Virgin or KLM, Air France or Delta? Or the travel agent (which wants to charge an “administration fee” for the cancellations)?

Ken – Your ATOL certificate should state which company is recognised as the operator for each flight or for the the whole trip if it was booked as a package holiday. If the travel agent is responsible [because they organised the tour] I don’t see why they should charge you for cancellation. They will no doubt retain some commission for selling the holiday.

Thank you John, but we purchased flights only not a package holiday. We don’t have an ATOL certificate – should we have one for flights only? The travel agent’s small print says that there will be an admin charge for cancelled bookings but doesn’t say for cancellations by who – I would have assumed admin charge only if cancelled by the customer, not by the airline.

John (and for the benefit of others who may read this conversation) – although I don’t have an ATOL certificate I’ve noticed that my ticket number starts with 057 which is the Air France ticket prefix so I assume that they issued the ticket and are the airline responsible for refunding in the event of cancellation. The airline can be found from the ticket prefix by internet searching “ticket starting with (three digit number)”.

Ken – There is no ATOL protection for flights-only bookings as various EU regulations cover denied boarding and other contingencies. If Air France issued the tickets then your refund claim should be addressed to them.

Thank you John.

S Cooper says:
12 May 2020

My husband and I have booked a holiday in Spain for the end of June. We have only paid the deposit and are being asked by the travel agent now to pay the rest. They are ABTA members and say we will receive a full refund if our holiday is cancelled and if we don’t pay the rest we will not get our deposit back. We know that the government is advising against travel and that Matt Hancock today is talking about travel not getting back to ‘normal’ before the end of the year. What are we to do? The law suggests we will get our money back. The paying of the rest of the monies seems like madness looking at the comments that have appeared here and in the FAQs. We are completely unsure what to do and are being pressed for payment!!

Em says:
12 May 2020

It depends how much the deposit is. If say 10% of the holiday cost, I would cancel. You might find that the same holiday – assuming it even goes ahead – will be available cheaper than the holiday you have reserved. Can’t imagine anyone is in a rush to leave the country yet.

And what about travel insurance? Will you be covered if the FCO advisory is not lifted in time?

We are due to fly to Tenerife with Easy Jet late July. Patiently waiting for them to cancel before I attempt to claim a refund. My dilemma is if this is cancelled my return flight is almost 4 weeks later with Ryan Air who could be flying but if I’m not in Tenerife to take the flight can I ask for a refund? The flights were expensive and I have paid on credit card. I dont want to be paying off something I’ve not been able to have or use. Ryan Air as well….will I never learn 🙄

Em says:
12 May 2020

Because you have booked separate flights with different airlines – and presumably not part of a package holiday – the contractual arrangements you have made with each airline are not linked in any way.

You will have to rely on each airline’s terms and conditions. Potentially, you could have required EasyJet to compensate you for the wasted Ryanair tickets, but not if it is a result of exceptional circumstances due to Covid-19, which are beyond their control.

Thankyou. Forgot to mention I have booked travel ins before it was cited as a known problem or whatever the wording 😬

Em says:
12 May 2020

Yes, but that wasn’t my point. My Which? recommended annual multi-trip insurance has a general exclusion clause:

You are travelling to an area that is classified as ‘Advise against all travel’ or ‘Advise against all but essential travel’ by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) at the time of your departure.

This basically means my travel insurance is a worthless piece of junk, if I travel against FCO advice.

The way in which airlines and travel companies are making their customers play a game of ‘Call my Bluff’ over cancellations and refunds is utterly despicable. Companies can see as clearly as we can that travel restrictions will not be modified or removed until July 2020 at the very earliest – even for travel within the UK, so foreign travel will no doubt be restricted for even longer depending on when FCO advice changes or other countries lift their entry restrictions. Keeping people in an anxiety state over the security of their money is disgraceful, especially as so many people are suffering grief and stress as a result of the epidemic. I hope when the day of reckoning comes that there will be a list of firms which acted honourably and those which acted dishonourably.

Then there is the question of compulsory quarantine on return to the UK. That cannot end immediately when travel restrictions are lifted and will possibly have to remain in place for at least a month longer. Other states might introduce compulsory quarantine for people entering their countries. These contingencies are likely to make non-essential air travel a no-no for many people for a long time to come and there is nothing the travel operators can do about it, so putting time limits on vouchers, or binding customers into them, is not fair treatment in my opinion.

Something else that needs to be explored is how people who don’t manage to use their vouchers, or cannot use them for whatever reason, will get a refund of their Air Passenger Duty which was included in the fare they paid, and a refund of any other amounts that were included for services like airport charges, baggage handling, and so on. I have consistently recommended that people reject vouchers and claim the refunds to which they are entitled, but I recognise that that does not suit everyone and that some travellers are content to accept a voucher or – the new unofficial instrument – a ‘refund credit note’. I think the statutory duty and any obligatory airport service charges should be returned to the customer on demand since they are not strictly the operator’s property [they are just a temporary transfer payment being held on account pending eventual departure; by that time the APD and other charges might be higher and a surcharge could become payable]. If there is no flight there is no duty payable. If the holding account is not protected, or the receipts are not bonded, and if the operator goes into a form of liquidation, these monies could be unfairly forfeited Prompt repayment would enable passengers to travel with a different operator knowing that payment of their APD etc was under their own control. It would be useful if Which? would address this question.

Steven Taylor says:
13 May 2020

We had booked flights to New York to visit friends for holidays but the flights got cancelled. The Travel Agent is refusing to act on the situation and sending us to the airline who, in return, sends us back to the travel agent. The agent is effectively the entity owning the tickets but they claim that, because they are based in Sweden, despite the fact that they trade in the UK. Therefore they claim that they don’t have to abide by UK or EU law and provide any refund or voucher because Swedish law says the airline is responsible.

We understand the strain on cash flow, but it just feels hard to accept that we don’t get anything from that travel agent who just doesn’t seem to even care. We would be happy if we could keep the ticket open for a later date, but it’s not even an option apparently.

I wish we could have a group action against them. It’s a bit hard to do anything on an individual level.

Presumably you paid online via a credit or debit card so approach them instead to deal with the mess

Em says:
24 May 2020

Claiming on a credit card under s.75 sounds simple, but it isn’t much help if you make payment to a travel agent, rather than the airline. The OP really needs to be clear about who they are dealing with, then obtain a refund under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

Em – I have noticed that you have used the acronym ‘OP’ in a number of your comments. I am not familiar with it and can imagine a number of interpretations but none that suit the context. Could you please clarify who or what you are referring to here. Thank you.

In this context, I think OP refers to the person who starts a thread, ie the original poster.

Em says:
24 May 2020

Sorry John. DerekP is correct. Internet speak: OP = Original Poster.

Strictly, I suppose the OP should refer to the person who wrote the Convo, but I tend to use it to mean the person immediately above in the hierarchy.

Thanks, Derek and Em – I have been using the internet for thirty years and have never come across OP before. Everybody has a name or some sort of handle on this site and I think it makes it easier for people to follow a thread if they are identified in subsequent comments. I expect those with less internet experience would appreciate and prefer that.,

I apologise to Steven Taylor for dragging his comment out for micro-examination of the replies but his concern has not yet been fully addressed. He is trying to deal with a Swedish travel agency that thinks the EU rules on cancellation refunds do not apply to them but they are being intransigent and are refusing to deal with him.

Sweden has been a member of the EU for over 25 years. If the flights were from and returning to an airport in the EU, or on planes registered in the EU, or with an EU-based airline, then the EU regulations apply. The problem Steven has is how to persuade the travel agent to arrange the refund to which he is entitled for the cancellations. It is notoriously difficult to enforce consumer rights in foreign jurisdictions even when the laws are effectively the same. In my view, therefore, it was a good move to ask for assistance from the leading consumer organisation in the UK. Unfortunately such support has not been forthcoming. Obtaining a refund under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 from a foreign company that is stone-walling is not just a case of making a polite request and getting a cheque in the post..

I don’t know the solution to Steven’s problem so I can only suggest that it might be worth him contacting the Swedish embassy and seeing if they can help in some way.

I have booked a ferry to travel to Spain, for end of May 2020. I have now been informed that the ferry has been cancelled and they are willing to offer me vouchers as a refund to be used within 2 years. I don’t want a voucher, I want a cash refund. What are my rights? Thanks

Ronnie says:
14 May 2020

Ryanair have reorganised their schedule which has the outward flight leaving on the original day and time but has cancelled the original flight back and has moved it to another day, that does not fit with hotel bookings. Can I get a refund for whole flight if we choose not to go because it does not now fit with hotel reservation?

Ronnie – Is your booking for flights in the next few months or further ahead?

Under the present rules [which seem likely to remain in force for a long time] you cannot even travel to the airport, most countries are not allowing people in, and you would probably have to self-isolate on your return. I would advise you to cancel everything and request refunds and then review your position as and when the picture clarifies.

Ryanair have said that they intend to return to a near-normal service in July but I believe that is wishful thinking.

Ronnie says:
14 May 2020

Thanks John, flights early July showing on new Ryanair schedule. Need to wait until nearer time to see if they do intend to fly on that date but no point of travelling out if return travel doesn’t tie in with rest of holiday. At the moment no one wants to even consider travelling. Just hope Mr O’Leary doesn’t use the situation to retain passenger monies. Preferable for Government to continue to advise against travel, and quarantine at both ends would also have huge effect on travellers decisions.

LB says:
14 May 2020

I am meant to be travelling down to Monaco next week for the formula 1, using the Eurotunnel to get from Folkestone to Calais. As expected the Grand Prix has been cancelled and we are still in a lockdown period with advise not to travel abroad. However, whilst their services are still running Eurotunnel are refusing any refunds and instead offering a voucher. I think this is something that should be investigated because the advice on their own website suggests you shouldn’t travel to France if not for one of the below 3 reasons.

– Going home to a main residence
– Essential work in France
– Medical staff

It feels like Eurotunnel are prioritising profit over customer rights and safety, I have seen many complaints suggesting that people are thoroughly unimpressed with the way they have been treated.

I was due to travel on a number of holidays that have been cancelled as a result of the pandemic, for example a trip to Las Vegas with TUI that I only had to spend 40 minutes on hold to get a refund, Eurotunnel have by far been the most inflexible at this time. I am surprised at the stance that these money hungry companies are taking when everyone is struggling with this new way of life and subsequent uncertainty.

Anne says:
17 May 2020

My partner and I are in a similar position. We were due to go to Austria for the F1 in July but that event is now being held behind closed doors and we wouldn’t have been able to travel there in any event.

We contacted Eurotunnel to request a refund but they flatly refused and offered us to change the dates within one year of when we first booked. We booked back in January and we do not want to travel at all this year. They are not budging on refunding us as we didn’t book the flexiticket. Well we wouldn’t have wanted to cancel but its out of our hands!

It isn’t on at all as we are both unable to work and we are struggling financially. We have booked a hotel in Italy after the F1 and they are also refusing to refund but offering us a voucher to use within a year which we won’t be able to use.

Companies like this should not be allowed to get away with this.

If Eurotunnel are running a normal service that you are allowed to access then, as they presumably were not offering a discreet F1 service but a general one I do not see how a refund is justified. Similarly with the hotel. Insurance may well cover it, however.

Isla says:
24 May 2020

Customer rights? These are not package holidays by the sound of it.

Eurotunnel sell refundable Flexiplus tickets for those who might need to cancel their travel. Non-refundable tickets offer a 60% saving over these. Even if a non-refundable ticket is totally wasted, another one will still show a saving on the Flexiplus fare.

Why should Eurotunnel now be expected to offer the Flexiplus terms for a service they are operating, to those that didn’t pay for it in the first place? Allowing a non-alterable ticket to be used for a future trip seems a reasonable concession.

And their website is only reproducing French Government information. Travel to France and then get turned back if you wish. Since a non-refundable, non-alterable return ticket won’t be valid until several days later, getting home again could get interesting … and expensive.

i booked a hotel in spain for the end of april through alpharooms,obviously got cancelled.alpharooms are telling me that a credit note will be issued and will be guaranteed till end of april 2021.if the credit note is not used,only then will they issue a refund.
can they really hold my money for a whole year against my wishes?

jet2 refunded my flight money in full within a week of the departure date for the same holiday.

Dewi Davies says:
16 May 2020

I know its a way off but I have booked for a day trip to Lapland on 23rd Dec. However my grandchildren, daughter and myself have underlying health conditions so am now getting more and more concerned about a. the safety of recycled air on the plane with covid 19 on everyone’s health.
b. having to then self isolate after being abroad as its only a day trip and I couldn’t get more time off over xmas
c. losing the nearly 50% deposit I have already paid upfront.
Can anyone give me advise of what would be best to do
Thanks in advance

A cruise with imagine cruising in September not cancelled yet, but have had to pay balance. Called us yesterday to say unlikely to depart but when cancelled would we like to book for next year or cancel. Told them we wanted to cancel, they said fine we will get a refund but not until THREE months from departure date..so November at the earliest. We’re told this is Abta rules..is this correct?

Marian – ABTA is a representative organisation for the travel trade. It issues guidance to its members [travel agents and operators] but it has no statutory basis and no power to make rules and regulations. On the other hand, its members tend to act in accordance with its guidance and there could be problems for them if they don’t. ABTA has advised its members to defer the payment of refunds and instead to offer alternative forms of redress such as rescheduling, vouchers, or refund credit notes, but the association has made it clear that where refunds are mandatory or contractually provided for then its members cannot deny them if requested.

Unlike with air travel there are no UK or EU regulations applying to cruises with regard to cancellation and refund policies. Each company can make their own policies which they incorporate within the agreement that the customer signs to accept. You therefore need to look at your agreement and see what it says about the payment of refunds in the event of cancellation. The company cannot change the terms and conditions retrospectively without giving you an opportunity to exit without penalty.

If part of your holiday involves flights then it will be a package holiday and that is covered by EU regulations that mandate a refund if the customer requires it, but companies are trying to postpone the payments without actually denying them.

Depending on where your cruise is taking you it is possible that it will not be cancelled. If you are then disinclined to travel and wish to cancel you could be liable for loss of deposit or even the full amount paid subject to the terms and conditions in your agreement. In those circumstances there would be no possibility of claiming anything from your travel insurer even if your policy included appropriate travel disruption cover.

At least in your case the cruise company has offered a refund in the event of their cancellation so I would suggest that you wait and see whether or not the cruise is cancelled, but if it is, and you want a refund rather than a rebooking, then waiting a few months will probably not be too bad; you would have been spending the money [and more] on a holiday so you could get it all back as well as making a saving.

Update – Cruises booked in the UK are covered by the Package Travel Regulations, meaning that you’re entitled to a full refund within 14 days if your cruise operator cancels the booking and possibly a partial refund if port stops are missed from the agreed itinerary.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/when-should-i-book-a-holiday-this-summer-or-wait-until-2021/ – Which?

We have a holiday booked to Turkey in October the balance is due July my husband and I are both in our late 70’s with underlying health ptoblems mine being Asthma and not advised to wear a mask
Airlines are saying its mandatory,
What are our options ?
Unfortunatly despite spending hours on the phone we are unable to contact our travel agents

Em says:
24 May 2020

1) Don’t pay the balance and lose your deposit. You don’t say how much it is. If a nominal sum, it might be better to cancel now.

2) Pay the balance in July. You will have a better idea of the likely situation in October.

This is where it get less certain:

3a) If the holiday is cancelled, you should receive a refund in due course. End of problem.

3b) If the holiday goes ahead and you are simply unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, you could try to get a note from your GP. The airline should respect that or offer you a refund.

Note that “wearing a face mask” is not a legal requirement, at least not yet. The airlines have discretion over how to enforce that policy and there is no standard. Any form of face covering should satisfy them, including a loose fitting scarf.

It has to be accepted that passengers will need to remove their face covering from time-to-time. Enduring a 4 hour flight to Turkey without water is not good for health either. If you have difficulty breathing at any time, notify the flight attendant and they should relocate you to another seat.

Fiona says:
24 May 2020

Myself and my partner have a package holiday booked for Canada (A stay in Canadian Rockies combined with an Alaskan cruise involving America ) due to depart 12/09/20. We have paid £1500 deposit and the balance £7000 is due in June. We are not prepared to give Barrhead travel any more money as they have not replied to any of of our Emails we have lost all confidence in them. Also have read the stress customers are going through in obtaining their refunds. We have a Travel insurance policy that states we are covered for disruption to travel… but 31 days prior to our departure date, If we do not pay the balance we will loose our £1500 deposit.

Em says:
24 May 2020

If you do not pay the balance, you forfeit your deposit.

If you do pay the balance, and the holiday is cancelled, you should be protected by ATOL. Make sure you have the certificate – it should have been provided when you paid the deposit. If not, insist of getting it before handing over any more money.

Travel insurance does not cover disinclination to travel, so you would not be covered if you decide not to go, whether now or later. Some travel insurance does not cover you if travel is disrupted by FCO advisory, others do not cover you at all if you travel against FCO advice.

At the moment, it seems the only options are to lose your deposit, pay the balance and hope for the best, or receive a full refund in due course if your holiday is cancelled by others.

I was booked to fly with EasyJet in April but the flights were cancelled by EasyJet. At the beginning of April Johan Ludgren, CEO EasyJet, sent out an email saying “If your flight is cancelled as a result of this, I am sorry. Our customer service team will be in touch to let you know how to switch to a new flight, get a voucher or be reimbursed.” When I tried to claim a refund that option had been removed from EasyJet’s web site.
Now I see they have reinstated the option but only two days ago EasyJet wrote offering options for dealing with another, upcoming flight, which is highly likely to be cancelled. In the terms and conditions they say “We regret that partial transfers, vouchers or refunds cannot be processed for the original booking.”
I’m confused. If refunds cannot be processed for my original booking, why is there an option on their web site to ask for a refund?

Hi Rob, it seems really confusing and their response lacks consistency. If your flight or package holiday was cancelled, you don’t have to accept a voucher or credit note, nor do you have to rebook. You are legally entitled to a refund. You should be eligible for a refund on both of the flights if they are both cancelled, so you should be able to push for this but I know it’s challenging getting hold of the airlines at the moment.

You can take two minutes to report your airline to the regulator by using our new tool: https://action.which.co.uk/page/s/flight-complaint