Am I Entitled to Compensation for a Flight Cancelled Because of Coronavirus?
No, you’re not eligible for flight cancellation compensation if your flight was disrupted because of the coronavirus travel restrictions. COVID-19 is regarded as an “extraordinary circumstance” by the law. Since the disease and the travel restrictions it entails are out of the airline’s control, your cancelled flight doesn’t qualify for flight compensation.
However, if your flight was cancelled for a reason other than COVID-19, you may be entitled to flight cancellation compensation
. We continue helping air passengers who were victims of flight disruptions for reasons other than coronavirus travel restrictions, so make sure to check if you’re entitled by filling out our Compensation Calculator.
Can I Get a Refund for a Flight Cancelled due to COVID-19?
Yes, if your flight was cancelled because of COVID-19, you may get a refund. The airline must offer you a choice between:
- A full refund of your ticket, or
- An alternative flight to your destination
Because we are travellers just like you, we understand how bad it feels to have your flight cancelled and your travel plans disrupted. That’s why ClaimCompass helps passengers claim their refund for FREE.
Get a refund for your cancelled flight now!
Now, what if the airline refuses to refund you? Several airlines are in financial trouble because of the travel restrictions. As a result, they either take a long time before sending your refund or refuse to give you this option, offering you a voucher or airline miles instead. You are not forced to accept this offer, so feel free to decline it and insist on getting a full ticket refund instead. Just know that it may take a while for your claim to be processed.
To learn more about it, check out our guide on COVID-19 flight cancellation refund.
Can I Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Can I Travel if I Tested Positive to Coronavirus?
No, you won’t be allowed to travel internationally if you’ve tested positive to the coronavirus. Even if there aren’t controls at the border, you should not travel, in order to contain the spread of the disease.
What if I contracted COVID-19 while traveling, you may ask? This still isn’t a good reason to continue travelling. To comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), you should instead isolate yourself.
Advise your airline and travel insurance provider of the situation and make sure you take the appropriate measures. You can learn more about it in our guide on the topic.
What to do if I’m stranded at the airport because of coronavirus?
If your flight was cancelled at the last minute because of coronavirus and you find yourself stuck at the airport, it’s important that you know about your “right to care”.
Just like in any case of cancellation, the airline must provide the following:
- A meal and refreshments
- Access to a means of communication (2 phone calls or emails)
- Hotel accommodation, should you be stuck for at least 6 hours or overnight
Keep in mind that those are guaranteed by EU261 and passenger rights in the UK - elsewhere, those rights may vary.
How do I return home if I’m stuck abroad?
Even if travel restrictions or bans have been implemented during your stay abroad, you may ask for a replacement flight. You should know, however, that their availability will be affected: if you do not wish to stay until the next flight, consider alternative arrangements.
Most countries that have introduced travel bans still allow residents to return home. This is the case in the United States at the time when this page was created. Note that you may need to undergo health checks, coronavirus tests, and/or a period of self-isolation before and/or after returning to your home country.
What are the Travel Restrictions Caused by Coronavirus?
Health authorities have advised travellers worldwide to postpone all non-essential travel. While this is only a global recommendation, several countries have implemented measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, thereby restricting travel to and from their borders.
Travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 manifest under different forms:
- Total lockdown: travel to and from the country is forbidden (except for residents stuck abroad and wishing to come back)
- Entry under conditions: usually, the presentation of a recent, negative test for COVID-19, or the mandatory confinement for up to 14 days
- Essential travel only: some countries only accept travellers coming to help contain the virus, such as doctors and other medical professions
Because COVID-19 travel restrictions change rapidly, we recommend that you consult the Eurocontrol website to keep track of flight and passenger restrictions.
Is air travel safe during COVID times?
It’s much harder to ensure the safety of air passengers than it is for other means of transportation. Air travel is subject to particular rules and restrictions because it’s the fastest way to spread the disease across borders.
However, airlines and airports have taken measures to improve safety of air travel. The air filtration systems themselves are designed to capture particles even smaller than that of COVID-19, thanks to HEPA filters. Masks are mandatory on board and at the airport.
That being said, it’s impossible to reach a “zero-risk level” when it comes to air travel, when dozens of passengers are seated next to each other for several hours.
You can read more on the topic in this blog post.
Can I choose not to fly?
Even if the destination of your flight reports coronavirus outbreaks, the airline may choose to maintain the flight. In that situation, you may no longer feel comfortable about your travel plans. You should contact the airline and ask for a refund. Their usual cancellation policy may apply, but under those circumstances, some airlines have elected to offer their passengers some form of goodwill payment.
Should there be a confirmed health risk at your destination, however, you ARE entitled to a full refund of your flight ticket within 14 days, free of charge. This happens when the Minister of Health of your departure country has issued a warning about the country of destination.
How to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak?
You want to respect the recommendations of health organizations like the CDC, NHS, and WHO. Those include:
- Maintain social distancing: be it at the airport or in the plane, as much as possible. Ideally, you want to have an empty middle seat between you and the next passenger (we understand that it’s not always within your control and regret that not all airlines apply the “empty middle seat” policy
- Wear a mask: both at the airport and on the plane
- Refrain from entering in contact with frequently touched surfaces: think airport ATMs, handrails in the stairs and escalators
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face: especially mouth, nose, and eyes, which are all entry points for the virus
Even once your trip is over, you can still take precautions. The best one is to test yourself for COVID-19 to know whether you are positive or not. Alternatively, you may want to consider self-isolating for a few days.
Not sure whether your flight was cancelled because of coronavirus travel restrictions?
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