Travel

My flights to France aren't cancelled and my airline won't refund me


My flights to France have not been cancelled despite the new quarantine restrictions put in place.

I was due to travel next Monday but now my airline is saying the flights are still going ahead and I cannot get a refund.

Me and my family are unable to quarantine for two weeks and also do not want to travel against Foreign Office advice, leaving us uninsured, so have decided not to take the trip but this leaves us hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

Will I be able to claim the money back on my travel insurance?

Some airlines are not cancelling flights to France despite the new quarantine rules (pictured: Cannes, France)

Some airlines are not cancelling flights to France despite the new quarantine rules (pictured: Cannes, France) 

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Most flights to and from France will be cancelled in the coming weeks due to the new restrictions put in place by the UK Government which means all returning must quarantine for 14 days. 

This is due to a rising number of coronavirus cases taking hold in France in recent weeks.  

However, your flights are unfortunately still scheduled to go ahead as originally planned. 

If you cancel the flights, it is unlikely you will recoup the money from the airline as they generally only issue refunds to trips that they have cancelled themselves.

Luckily you have travel insurance but it can also be the case your insurer might not pay out, as not choosing to head abroad when your flights are still available is known as disinclination to travel which in nearly every case is not covered.

However, as it is not recommended to travel to France unless it is essential, your travel insurance should cover you if you have coronavirus-related cover as part of your policy and you took the insurance out before any official advice against travel to that country was issued.

This will depend on your exact cover with your insurer though and it is always worth speaking to them to see what options are available.  

If you cannot claim a refund, most airlines will offer you the option to change flights without charge, but this is not convenient for many when they don’t know how long the area they were due to travel to will be a high risk.

Refund: If you cancel flights yourself, it is unlikely you will recoup the money from the airline

Refund: If you cancel flights yourself, it is unlikely you will recoup the money from the airline

Similarly, most will offer vouchers instead which is a better option but is still not the cash refund most would want. However, you said that you are flying with Ryanair and it is refusing to give a voucher.

The best advice for anyone in this position is to try and speak to your airline first to see what options they have available. You tried Ryanair’s chat help online, I would recommend emailing it.

Then speak to your accommodation and see if they are willing to offer refunds and if not a change in date.

A spokesperson for ABI replies: Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice is against all but essential travel to France, so this means if people are due to go to France on holiday soon and travel against this advice they risk invalidating their insurance.

In this instance it is likely that your travel insurance will pay out for flights providing there are no Covid-19 exclusions in your policy.

People will need to seek a refund first from their airline provider, then credit card provider before going to their insurer.

Emma Coulthurst of Travelsupermarket replies: Travel insurance might cover you for unavoidable losses such as this if you bought the flight and the travel insurance before Covid became a known event in mid March, or if travel insurance was bought before then and was automatically renewed.

But even then, cover for this isn’t definite. Some travel insurance policies have FCO exclusions.

For travel insurance bought post mid-March, it is highly unlikely to cover you for the effect of FCO changes.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Essentially, each circumstance is different depending on your insurer and your airline. 

Speak to them both before taking any further action. If your policy cannot cover you under these circumstances then another port of call is your bank. 

See if you can use the chargeback scheme to claim your money back for your flights.

If you had paid by credit card, Section 75 protection covers transactions costing between £100 and £30,000 – where at least part of the purchase was made using your credit card.

If you paid on a debit card, you can also use chargeback, which is a scheme which gives customers a chance of getting your money back from your bank if you bought faulty goods, a service wasn’t provided, or the company you bought something from went bust and your goods weren’t delivered.

For more advice on what to do if you were due to travel to France, click here.  

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