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What are your options if your holiday or trip is affected by the coronavirus?

31. March 2020

Your options for getting your money back or a refund on some of your expenses depend on several factors. Learn about your consumer rights here.

The following text is based on the situation as it was on 06 August 2020.

The information below applies to consumers living in Denmark.

Whom should I contact if there are any changes to my trip due to the coronavirus?

In general, this is a unique situation where it is important to make things work in the best way possible for everyone. At the moment, travel agencies, insurance companies and others which may be relevant to contact might be extremely busy. Therefore, it may be a good idea to be prepared to show a little extra patience. Check out the information on their website. 

If you have booked travel services such as a hotel or flight via an online booking website, it is a good idea to contact both parties - and preferably in writing for documentation purposes. 

If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly updates their travel guidance.

There are opened up for travels to and from some countries based on a set of criteria. Check out the travel guidance provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

If you have not yet departed

Your rights if the airline cancels before departure

If your airline cancels the departure to your travel destination, you can either be re-booked for another departure or get your money back - the choice is yours. Contact your airline or monitor the situation on their website. 

Some travel companies offer a voucher/gift card for later use instead of a refund. They may offer you a voucher/gift card, but it is up to you to decide whether you want this alternative. Before accepting it, you should be aware of how long it is valid for and whether it is realistic that you will be able to use the voucher/gift card before it expires. Generally, vouchers/gift cards are valid for three years, but a shorter validity period may be agreed; however, this deadline may not be unreasonably short. This can be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

The airlines are not liable for any other expenses you may have incurred, such as hotel/accommodation, car hire, etc. Check for these items in your travel insurance.

Your rights if you wish to cancel your airline ticket before departure

If you cancel an airline ticket yourself, you are generally not entitled to claim to get your money back for the airline tickets. This also applies if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travelling to the destination. However, your options in terms of re-booking or having the fare refunded may depend on the ticket type; so check the terms of the agreement.

There are also many airlines offering extended options for free re-booking, re-booking without any charges or for vouchers/credit notes.

If you still want to cancel, you are entitled to have some taxes and charges refunded if you cancel yourself - read more here.

The airlines are not liable for any other expenses you may have incurred, such as hotel/accommodation, car hire, etc. Check for these items in your travel insurance.

Your rights if the travel company cancels your package holiday

If you purchased a package holiday which is cancelled, you can get your money back. Contact the travel agent from whom you purchased the trip.

Some travel companies offer a voucher/gift card for later use instead of a refund. They may offer you a voucher/gift card, but it is up to you to decide whether you want this alternative. Before accepting it, you should be aware of how long it is valid for and whether it is realistic that you will be able to use the voucher/gift card before it expires. Generally, vouchers/gift cards are valid for three years, but a shorter validity period may well be agreed; however, this deadline may not be unreasonably short. This can be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

You can read about the Travel Guarantee Fund's coverage of vouchers/gift cards in the event of bankruptcy here.

If you want to cancel your package holiday before departure yourself

If you would like to cancel a package holiday to a destination which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not advise against, the general cancellation rules will apply. In that case, check the contract terms for the holiday you have chosen.

If the Foreign Ministry advises against travelling to a destination for which you have a package holiday, you can get your money back. However, if there is a long time until departure and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' risk assessment does not extend as far as that date, you cannot be sure that you will be able to cancel your holiday at this time. In this case, it is a good idea to check what your travel company is saying on their website. 

Travelling to a foreign destination by bus or train

If you have purchased a ticket for train or bus, but do not wish to travel, you are not entitled to claim to get your money back for the ticket, unless the departure is cancelled. This also applies if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel to the destination. 

Your options for a rebooking or a refund depends on the ticket type, so check the terms and conditions. 

If your departure is cancelled, you can choose between a refund or a rebooking. Some companies offer a voucher instead of a refund. Before you accept, it is a good idea to check the conditions, e.g. how long it is valid. 

Ferry tickets to a foreign destination

If you have purchased a ferry ticket to a foreign destination but cannot depart on your journey because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising against all non-essential travel, you are not generally entitled to claim to get your money back for the ferry ticket. Your options to re-book or have the ticket price refunded will therefore depend on the ticket type. Check the terms of the agreement.

If the ferry company has cancelled your departure, you can generally re-book your tickets for a later departure or get your money back.

Your options for reimbursement of accommodation, e.g. hotel, campsite or holiday apartment

If you have booked accommodation, such as a hotel, campsite, holiday apartment or holiday cottage separately, but cannot travel, you will generally not be entitled to get your money back unless it was agreed at the time of booking; for instance, if it appears in your contract terms.

If you have booked the accommodation directly, your options will depend on what it says about cancellation in the accommodation terms and conditions. If you have booked through a booking website, you can check whether you have booked with a special cancellation right or guarantee. It will be stated in your terms of agreement. 

Also contact your insurance company to find out if your travel insurance might cover this.

Car hire etc. on the trip

If, for instance, you booked car hire, bike rental or other travel services on the trip separately - i.e. not as part of a package holiday - but cannot depart, you will generally not be entitled to get your money back unless it was agreed at the time of booking; for example, if it is stated in your agreement terms.

If this does not feature in the agreement terms, also contact your insurance company and find out if your expenses for such items as car hire are covered by your travel insurance.

What about travel in connection with events such as concerts, festivals and football matches?

If you have booked tickets, for instance for a sporting event or a concert, and the organiser cancels it, you will generally be entitled to claim to get your money back from the organiser. If the event is simply postponed, check the terms of the agreement to see if it is subject to reservations about changes to the date.

However, the organiser may have made reservations in the terms of agreement for cancellations due to for example illnesses, extreme weather conditions and similar circumstances. A specific assessment will be made as to whether such a reservation is reasonable and, therefore, valid.

However, the organiser is not liable for airline tickets and accommodation/hotel stays which you have booked separately yourself.

If the event is part of a package travel

You are in a better position if it is a package holiday where you may be entitled to re-book, obtain a discount on the price or get your money back, depending on the specific situation.

Please contact us if you are not sure about which scenario applies to you. Our lawyers can help you with this. Consumer Europe's (Forbruger Europa) assistance is free of charge.

Are you currently abroad?

If you are abroad, follow the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read more at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website.

If you purchased a package holiday, contact your travel provider and follow the travel provider's instructions regarding your return journey. The travel provider is obliged to get you home from your trip. If you do not follow the travel provider's instructions, you will most likely have to pay for the return ticket yourself.

If you purchased an airline ticket separately, contact the airline and inquire about the options available. You are entitled to a refund of the ticket, re-booking as soon as possible or re-booking at a later date. If you wish to re-book your flight as soon as possible, you may need to accept that a new departure can only be offered with a considerable delay due to the current COVID-19 situation.

In the event that your flight is cancelled and you want to re-book as soon as possible, the airline must assist you while you are waiting, for instance by providing accommodation if relevant.

Also, contact your insurance company. You should also be aware that your travel insurance may be included in your regular home insurance or that your credit card may have travel insurance.

Travelling to places with entry bans

Some countries, including the United States, have chosen to ban entry to people who have been in certain areas. For those countries, the same rules apply as for the countries to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against non-essential travel.

If you purchased a trip from a package travel provider who cancels a trip due to an entry ban, you are eligible to be reimbursed for the price of the trip.

If, on the other hand, you purchased an airline ticket separately, your options will depend on whether the airline has cancelled your departure or not.

If the airline has cancelled your departure, you can get your money back or be re-booked.

If the airline has not cancelled your departure, you are generally not entitled to get your money back or be re-booked if you have to abandon your departure. Contact the airline to see if they will offer you your money back or the option to re-book as a service.

Also check your travel insurance if you have one.

Do you have questions about your rights? Contact the European Consumer Centre Denmark

If you are not sure about what you are entitled to, contact us via our hotline, chat or email (every weekday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for chat and hotline - you can always send an email) to get your question answered or obtain more information.

If you think you have a financial claim against a company in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the UK, you can commence legal action with us. Our legal team is ready to help you, and our assistance is provided absolutely for free.

Danish authorities' hotline and website containing coronavirus information

The Danish authorities have compiled information for their citizens about the coronavirus/COVID-19 on the website www.coronasmitte.dk.

The telephone number of the Danish authorities' joint hotline: +45 70200233 

It is also a good idea to check the travel guidance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' information on the coronavirus.

 

06. August 2020

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