Our Guide to Cancelling and Refunding Travel Plans Due to Coronavirus
We know that these current times can be stressful for a number of reasons. If you need to cancel and refund travel plans, be they for business or leisure, due to the coronavirus outbreak, you might be feeling slightly left in the dark as airline and hotel help desks struggle to field a large volume of calls and queries.
But fear not – we have put together a quick and easy guide explaining all of your travel rights and cancellation options. Whether you have travel insurance or not, or whether you were going to Brighton or the Bahamas, we’ve got you covered: here’s everything you need to know to cancel and refund travel plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will I Get My Money Back if I Booked a Hotel Abroad?
You may be able to receive a full refund if the country is in a severe lockdown or if you’re covered by a robust travel insurance plan. But more often than not, it’s hard to receive a refund if the hotel providers are allowed to stay open. You may have more luck on sites like Airbnb, who have a comprehensive extenuating circumstances policy which will give you a full refund for all trips within the next month.
Can I Refund a Car Rental?
Typically, yes. Sometimes there are still cancellation fees involved but these are infrequent and nowhere near as severe as normal flight cancellation fees.
When Can I Refund Flights Without Travel Insurance?
In the UK, airlines defer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for guidance on suspending and refunding flights. Sometimes this is a troublesome system, because airlines will typically go ahead with their flights in almost all circumstances. But the phrase you need to look out for is the Foreign Office “advising against all but essential travel” to the country you are booked to fly to. When airlines receive this cue, they suspend and automatically refund their flights.
The good news for those who have booked flights without travel insurance is that currently, due to the global scale of the coronavirus outbreak, the FCO are advising against all but essential travel anywhere, so you’re guaranteed your money back. As of now this applies until 23rd April, but it looks very likely to be extended in the circumstances.
Can I switch my flights instead of cancelling them?
Certainly, and it’s something airlines are massively encouraging. Air France, Emirates, Aer Lingus and EasyJet are allowing their customers to reschedule their flights to any time later in the year at no extra cost, and most other airlines are bound to follow suit.
Is It Safe to Book Travel for Later in the Year Now?
We’ll have more on this in an upcoming blog, but the short answer is: yes, it can be. Certain airlines, such as Delta, are offering not only a zero change fee but also an outright cancellation benefit in which you will be able to book another flight within one year of the original booking, meaning you can reschedule your travel plans all the way into 2021.
Meanwhile back on the ground, hotels and apartment providers are reworking their cancellations policy to make it as risk-free as possible for customers to book for the summer now. At Supercity we’re offering a flexible bookings policy for all of our aparthotels, so that you can book with peace of mind now and cancel with a full refund up to a week beforehand.
We hope that wherever you are in the world you’re staying safe in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Supercity’s doors are still open in London, Manchester and Brighton for anyone who needs a safe, secure short-term place to stay. Alternatively, if you’re dreaming of a holiday later in the year you can benefit from our new flexible bookings policy – click here for details.