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Coronavirus flights: Travel experts explain passenger rights if airline pulls flight | Travel News | Travel

Coronavirus flights: Travel experts explain passenger rights if airline pulls flight | Travel News | Travel 45

Coronavirus is a global epidemic, having infected more than 83,000 people in 56 countries worldwide. As a result, airlines have begun to make amendments to their flight schedules for journeys to impacted countries.

“It only applies to connecting flights booked together. If they book two flights separately then the operating air carrier has no responsibility for the subsequent flights.”

With the FCO issuing travel warnings to a number of infected regions, many travellers may be considering halting their plans, however, it seems this could come with a huge cost.

If a flight is not cancelled, but a passenger optionally chooses not to fly, they will not be entitled to any form of compensation.

“Unfortunately in these circumstances the passenger has no right to a refund or replacement flight,” explains Benson.

This is where having a good travel insurance policy in place could really benefit you.

“Some policies include cancellation if the FCO advise against ‘all but essential travel’ to the destination,” points out Rebecca Kingsley of Travel Insurance Explained.

“A few will offer cancellation cover for ‘cancellation due to any cause beyond your reasonable control’, which would cover you if the FCO advice changed.”

However, she adds: “It is important to note that there must be no travel restrictions in place at the time the policy was purchased.”

Unfortunately, if there is no FCO warning in place, and a passenger is simply fearful of the developing condition, there may not be a lot to fall back on.

“Unfortunately cancellation cover doesn’t include cancelling a trip due to the fear of an epidemic or pandemic, as this is classed as disinclination to travel,” continues Ms Kingsley.

Ms Kingsley continues: “This is known as a consequential loss, and there is no cover for ‘consequential’ loss under a travel insurance policy.

“Put simply, travel insurance will usually cease to provide cover once you have landed back in your home country.”

Though no one knows how the coronavirus epidemic will pan out, staying up to date on news and government travel advice is crucial.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said: “With thousands of holidaymakers set to travel in the next few weeks, particularly in the run-up to Easter, people will no doubt be concerned about how their travel plans will be impacted by the ongoing concerns around coronavirus.

“As the situation is developing, we would advise anyone due to travel in the upcoming weeks to ensure they take out travel insurance if they haven’t already in case any further advice is issued against travel to other countries.

“If you are concerned about travel to a country where FCO advice has not been issued, speak to your travel agent or airline as some are offering the chance to rebook for a later date.

“Your insurer may also allow you to cancel depending on specific circumstances, such as if you have a pre-existing medical condition.”

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