What do you do if your flight isn’t cancelled but you don’t want to travel?

3 min read
May 12, 2020
Flight is not cancelled but I don't want to travel

Ryanair has just announced that they are going to resume flying again from July. Since the announcement, we’ve been deluged with enquiries. Here’s a quick overview – but bear in mind things may change as more details emerge, so keep watching the news.

What did Ryanair announce today?

In their own words, Ryanair said:

[We will] return to 40% of normal flight schedules from Wed 1 July 2020, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports. Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90% of its pre-Covid-19 route network.

Here’s the media release: https://corporate.ryanair.com/news/ryanair-to-restore-40-of-scheduled-flights-from-1-july/?market=en

What about safety and social distancing?

Much comment has already been made about passengers having to request to go to the loo, but there are a whole host of rules covering crew and passengers, baggage, temperature checks, masks and sanitising. Social distancing will be ‘encouraged where it is possible’.

What does this mean if I have a flight booked from a while ago?

This is where things get complicated. The key words in this statement and subsequent comments are; return / restart / resume. That suggests that your pre-booked flights were not taken off the schedule during lockdown – they are instead restarting. If that’s right, it means that officially, your flight has been cancelled. Why does this matter? Well…

Can I get a refund if I don’t want to travel?

If an airline cancels your flight you are legally entitled to a refund within 7 days. Now we know for thousands of people this has proved difficult to obtain and some airlines have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people contacting them. Resolver has been encouraging people to take vouchers or move forward their flights if they can or want to (with warnings about insolvency) – to help the airlines stay in business.

But if your flight is running, compensation only applies if it is delayed over a certain time or cancelled. So in theory, you may not be entitled to a refund if you don’t want to travel.

What about vouchers or moving the flight date?

At present, the airline does seem to be allowing rebooking without charges through its website, but we don’t have an update on whether that will continue in future.

What about quarantine and lockdown?

This is where it gets really complicated. This announcement arguably sets the airline (and others that have resumed flights) against Government advice, which is that lockdown continues and we should not be travelling outside except for the official weekly guidance on exceptions. There is no current exception for flights abroad.

Much is unclear here. For example, we don’t know how airports will work – or how you’ll get there. Then we have lockdown rules about travel outside of the home and social distancing. The Government has stated that self-isolation will be required from most countries for 14 days. Some countries like Spain have suggested that there will be 14 days going in to the country too. So that one-week holiday in Fuengirola could be five weeks long…

What about travel insurance?

If you have an existing annual travel insurance plan this may cover you for cancellations or not being able to fly for a range of reasons. But this is about choosing not to go and sticking with official Government advice. So it’s a real nightmare trying to anticipate how these claims will go. Like many things related to the pandemic, we’re in uncharted territory. Put a claim in if you can.

What about customer service?

We’re anticipating that it will be tricky to get hold of airlines as a result of this decision – particularly if others follow suit. Imaging potentially millions of holiday makers calling to find out their options?! We’re speaking to the airlines to bring you a bit more clarity so watch this space.

If you need to make a complaint about a holiday, airline or anything else during lockdown, Resolver can help.

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