Travel Plans Disruptions As A Result Of The Pandemic

With the alarming rate at which the current pandemic of COVID-19 is spreading, it is of little wonder that governments all over the world have advised against all forms of non-essential travel. This development has affected so many travel plans that have had to be either cancelled or postponed. This article will apply to those in Ireland.

For those of us that are affected by this advisory and are in the process of either postponing or cancelling the trips we have planned, we can take advantage of the generous offers the various airlines, hotels, and travel agencies have put up to alleviate the discomfort for the meantime. These companies have gone to great lengths to relax their laws on change and cancellations, appearing to sympathise with affected travellers. However, it is unknown just how long they will do this.

It is important to note however that unless your trip was cancelled by the airline or tour company (and it isn’t even guaranteed), you shouldn’t expect a full refund. The most probable solution you are likely to get is a future travel credit to be used for a later flight or trip.

All these being said, it is more important to know how this COVID-19 outbreak is truly affecting your travel and what you can do to make it easier.

What Are My Travel Rights?

Generally, insurers and airlines are following in the footsteps of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) if you are in Ireland, and the Foreign Office Travel Advice if you are in the UK. You need to follow their advice which can be done using either the DFA Travelwise app or by calling their dedicated phone line. Failure to provide a specific DFA warning to back your need to cancel your trip might end up with you not getting a refund and being charged the normal cancellation charges.

You should get in touch with your travel agent, airline, or tour operator to know if you can reschedule your flight for another time or you need to wait to see if the DFA travel advice will be extended. As with the airlines and travel companies, it is also unknown how long the DFA travel advisories will last but you can always check their website for updates.

Where Should You Avoid?

The DFA advisories are being regularly updated with all but very essential travels around the world. If your flight ends up being cancelled, do not fret as your airline is expected to offer a refund.

They also must return stranded travellers home. The only time this doesn’t apply is if the said traveller has received a refund for the return trip. Also, flights are being arranged to bring home those who are struggling to get back from certain places.

Apart from the DFA, other agencies in other countries also have their restrictions which must be adhered to. For example, the EU currently has very strict travel restrictions in place also.

Is Rebooking An Option?

In the event of cancelling your trip, a variety of flights will offer you the chance to rebook your flight for free. However, often only hotels in places that have been locked down are offering either refunds or the chance to rebook. In a situation where the hotel is open and bookings are non-refundable, you may not be getting anything back.

Insurance companies will advise you to first contact your airline or tour company to confirm if you are eligible for a refund or rebooking. Although, even if your tickets are refunded, other costs need to be considered and may be covered by your travel insurance. It is for this reason that the safekeeping of all invoices and receipts cannot be overemphasized to have your claims process go as smoothly as possible.

While going through your claims processing, you will come to realize that different insurance companies have different policies as to when you can file for a claim. Some will accept it as early as 28 days before departure while some might wait till just 2 days before should the advisories be changed.

Changing Your Mind about Traveling Even Though Your Flight Was Not Cancelled

Even if your flight is not cancelled but you have decided against travelling for reasons of safety or some other thing, you could be entitled to a refund or rebooking at a later date. However, it is more probable that you will be offered an alternative like a voucher to be used again.

Effects on Insurance Companies

Most of the insurance companies have halted the sales of new policies since the beginning of the outbreak. Normally, having a disruption cover should protect you from costs like unused hotels or rental cars. You should bear in mind that this doesn’t come as standard in many policies.

Some of these insurers have changed covers for claims resulting from the pandemic. This just means that a previously booked trip might not be covered even if you have a valid policy. Some have completely stopped selling travel insurance policies.

It can be explained that travel insurance is a cover against unforeseen circumstances and this pandemic can no longer be classified as one. However, if you had a policy with ‘disruption cover’ before the DFA advice came into play, you should be entitled to your claim.

You should check The AA travel insurance to know more details about what is covered by the insurance and what is not in detail.

Will My Policy Cover Me In The Event Of Missing My Return Flight Due To Quarantine?

This depends entirely on the holiday and also the policy you have. Most companies advise their customers to make sure they know what is covered by their policies. Having a ‘delay coverage’ should cover all additional expenses like hotels and meals to a certain amount if you do not leave on the scheduled day.

When in doubt always check your travel insurance policy and seek advice from the company.

*Collaborative post

1 comment

  1. I'm still waiting for a refund from British Airways. Hope it comes through soon