Coronavirus: your rights as travelers

Flight cancelled, trip shortened or postponed... Know your rights when traveling in times of coronavirus.

Update: June 2020

Your air passenger rights during the epidemic

If your air carrier canceled your flight due to the Coronavirus epidemic, without proposing a replacement flight, you are entitled to a refund of the full price of the ticket (see your rights in case of flight cancellation by the airline).

Credit notes/vouchers

Some countries allow airlines to propose credit notes/vouchers as an alternative to reimbursement in money. The European Commission recommendations indicate that:

  • Vouchers should have a minimum validity period of 12 months.
  • Carriers should automatically reimburse the amount of the voucher after the end of its validity period, if the voucher has not been used.
  • If vouchers have a validity period longer than 12 months, passengers should have the right to ask for reimbursement in money no later than 12 months after the issuance of the voucher concerned.

But you will not be able to demand additional compensation or damages because the cancellation is due to an exceptional event, unavoidable and external to the airline company.

Check your carrier's website for the status of your flight and the exceptional measures offered by the airline.

More information on your rights as Air passengers:

In case of questions or a crossborder complaint against an air carrier in the EU, Iceland, Norway or the UK, get in touch with the European Consumer Centre of your country of residence.

The carrier canceled your flight. Is the cancellation of other services booked separately automatic?

Please be aware that if you purchased tickets only, the cancellation of your flight does not cancel your hotel, rental car or any other service you booked separately.

Check the cancellation conditions for your reservations to find out what amounts could be refunded. Contact the hotel owner, the vehicle rental company, the owner of the accommodation to at least negotiate a postponement if there is no provision for reimbursement.

May I cancel the car I rented for my stay in France?

If you have booked through an intermediary, carefully check the general conditions of sale and the information included in your reservation / voucher. It is generally possible to cancel free of charge up to 48h or 72h before the scheduled rental date (note: each company has its own rules and different cancellation deadlines). Ask for cancellation by phone but above all in writing (email and/or contact or cancellation form provided for this purpose on the intermediary's website).

If the cancellation is made on time, you should get a refund for the prepayment made online.

If you have booked directly on the website of a rental agency, the same procedure applies: contact it in writing for a cancellation free of charge if you are on time. Otherwise try to negotiate a credit valid for a subsequent rental in any other agency of the brand.

Please note that in France, as in many Member states it has been decided that in case of cancellation of touristic services due to Coronavirus, companies may offer a voucher instead of a reimbursement. For further information, please contact the European Consumer Centre of your country of residence.

Coronavirus and accomodation: how to cancel the hotel you booked directly in France

Contact the French hotel owner and try to negotiate a refund. The hotel may offer you a postponement or credit note/voucher.

Indeed, the French government allows traders in the tourism sector to propose vouchers to their customers for cancellations between March 1st and September 15th 2020. A corresponding ordinance has been published. The vouchers can have a validity of up to 18 months. If at the end of 18 months you have not used the voucher in full or partially, the trader needs to refund you.

The trader has to inform the customer within 30 days of the notification of the cancellations of the existence and modalities of the voucher.

And within 3 months of the notification the trader has to propose an alternative travel

  • identical or equivalent to the initial contract, including same price (only increases foreseen already in the initial contract can be applied)
  • if the customer wants or agrees to higher standards, he/she has to pay the difference
  • if a lower standard is offered, the consumer keeps the rest of the amount on the voucher. It can be used for another travel or be refunded at the end of the 18 months period.

Coronavirus and accommodation: how to cancel your reservation made on an online platform?

First contact the French hotel owner or the owner of the accommodation and try to negotiate a postponement of your stay or a credit note. Then contact the platform on which you made your reservation.

The intermediary platform can help you to facilitate the cancellation of the reservation with the hotel or the owner of an accommodation (cancellation free of charge, modification of your reservation ...).

But be aware, these online platforms remain intermediaries that connect a buyer and a seller so they have no obligation to refund the price of your reservation. Find out about the support and reimbursement policies implemented by the platform used for your reservation.

Please note that in France, as in many Member states it has been decided that in case of cancellation of touristic services due to Coronavirus, companies may offer a voucher instead of a reimbursement. For further information, please contact the European Consumer Centre of your country of residence.

Your package travel has been cancelled due to Coronavirus?

A package travel means that you purchased at least 2 touristic services (flight + hotel for example) from a single trader in a single contract or separately, but from the same point of sale. A cruise is also a package travel.

For more information on package travel, watch our video

If the travel agency cancels your trip, you are in principle entitled either to an equivalent alternative trip (other destinations, other dates ...), or to reimbursement of the sums paid.

Please note that in France, as in many Member states it has been decided that in case of cancellation of a package travel due to Coronavirus, agencies and/or tour operators may offer a voucher instead of a reimbursement. For further information, please contact the European Consumer Centre of your country of residence.

Travelling within France: again possible after June 2nd, 2020?

As of June 2nd, 2020, you can, while respecting the rules of social distancing, move freely throughout the country. You may now go on a holiday within France or rejoin your holiday home.

If you were in your holiday home when the confinement started, you may now come back to your main residence.

Carpooling is possible as long as you are respecting the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and admitting only one passenger per car.

Also some internal flights and trains are authorised.

On June 15th 2020, France should open its borders again to European travelers. In principle, no quarantine will be imposed on EU travelers. However the situation is reassessed regularly based on the current sanitary situation.

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