It’s been roughly four months since countries went into lockdown, and airlines began grounding their planes, cancelling flights and affecting millions of passengers around the world. But it wasn’t just cancelled flights — many people had to quash hotel reservations, cruises and many other getaway plans.
The good news is that slowly, many countries have started reopening, and we’ve begun to hear the sound of plane engines flying above us once more. However, many of us are still struggling to obtain refunds — even vouchers — for original travel plans from back when the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown started.
That’s why we’ve put together a guide for you on steps you can take to help you obtain your refunds if you’re still having issues.
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, many airlines offered vouchers right off the bat. However, according to EU guidelines, air passenger rights state you’re entitled to a cash refund, regardless of the pandemic. Moreover, the regulation also outlines that reimbursements should be made within seven days. However, airlines are understandably overwhelmed right now, given the unprecedented circumstances and aren’t always meeting this legal requirement. Many are also doing absolutely everything possible to avoid giving refunds or making it agonisingly difficult to obtain one. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do, as recommended by the EU:
As a last resort, you can consider taking your case to court. However, as there are time limits for taking a case to court, you can lose your rights unless you take action quickly, within the set timeframe, according to national rules.
The EU is the only place where a full set of passenger rights protects everyone travelling by plane, rail, ship and bus. Therefore, if your ticket was cancelled for other transport methods, including train, bus, coach, ferry and travel packages, you’re entitled to a reimbursement or voucher. If you opt for a voucher, EU guidelines published in May state vouchers should have a minimum validity period of one year and have to be refunded after a maximum of one year if they’re not used. Transport companies should be flexible (for example, allowing passengers to travel on the same route under the same service conditions). Vouchers should also be transferable to another traveller.
Unfortunately, EU consumer law doesn’t regulate conditions or consequences when it comes to hotels or other accommodation reservations cancelled due to the pandemic. Therefore, you’re best off checking your contract with the establishment or their website for updates on their refund policy due to Covid-19.
Like for accommodation, EU consumer law doesn’t regulate car rental reservations or the cancellation of sports and cultural events.
If you have travel insurance, check to see if you’re covered for any money you can’t get back. It’ll depend on the policy you’ve taken out and if it includes cancellation cover, airspace closure cover, travel disruption, etc.
Nevertheless, apart from checking your contract, understanding your refund policy or checking with your travel insurer, there are a few things you’re advised to do if you’re having problems:
The good news is that if you purchased or booked tickets with your Monese card, we’ll let you know as soon as the refund lands in your account. Be patient and persistent. The coronavirus crisis has created a great backlog for many sectors, but especially for the travel industry. It may be a while before your money is reimbursed to you — but don’t give up. If you’ve managed to successfully get your refund for cancelled vacation plans, let us know your tips. Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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