Cancelled package holidays
In terms of Regulation 14 of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 you have a right to a full refund of the cost of the holiday within 14 days of the holiday being cancelled. Some tour operators/travel agents have argued:
- you are not entitled to a refund because it is impossible to implement package holiday due to Covid-19; or
- they won't give you a refund but will re-arrange another holiday later on
Regulation 13 of the Package travel Regulations is quite clear in that you does not matter if it is impossible to implement the holiday contract, you are still entitled to a full refund. If you prefer the offer of a re-arranged holiday you can accept this, but the default position is you are entitled to a full refund.
These are covered Regulation 261/2004 of the European Union Flight Compensation Regulation. This applies if:
- your flight is within the EU whether operated by an EU or non-EU air carrier;
- if your flight departs from within the EU to a non- EU country provided it is operated by an EU carrier; or
- your flight arrives in the EU and is operated by either an EU or non-EU air carrier.
In terms of Regulation 8 of the Flight Compensation Regulation you are entitled to a full refund. The refund should be paid within seven days of cancellation. Some air carriers are offering credits so that you can re-arrange your flight later on. You can accept such an offer if you like but you are entitled to a full refund.
Package Travel Regulations are part of UK law and so will continue to apply despite Brexit. Although the Flight Compensation Regulations have not been incorporated into UK Law, your rights will stay the same because of the terms of the EU withdrawal agreement.
Right to compensation under the Flight Compensation Regulation
Normally, if your flight is cancelled by the air carrier you are entitled to compensation as well as a refund in terms of the Flight Compensation Regulation but the EU as issued a guidance note confirming that the right to compensation under the Flight Compensation regulation will not apply if a flight is cancelled due to Covid-19.
What if your flights are not covered by the Flight Compensation Regulation?
The Montreal Convention will apply. Again, you are entitled to a refund in terms of this convention. Like the Flight Compensation Regulation, the right to additional compensation for a cancelled flight does not arise if the cancellation is caused by Covid-19.
What if your holiday is not covered by the Package Travel Regulations?
It is likely that your holiday will be a Consumer Contract and you may be entitled to a refund under the Consumer Contract legislation.
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