Why wouldn't someone want to travel?

Corona & Vacation - What do I do if ...?

If you want to book now: What to look out for

If you want to book a trip now, read the tour operator's offer carefully. It is best to clarify before booking which restrictions and corona protective measures you have to expect on site.

The tour operator will inform you when booking with the fact that the pool is permanently closed or there is no breakfast buffet until further notice, are the associated restrictions no lack of travel more.

Tip: Find out more about your travel destination in advance. At the Foreign Office you will find the latest travel regulations and safety information for each country online. The European Union also provides an overview of the current situation in EU countries and what needs to be observed there. On the portal https://reopen.europa.eu/de or the free app of the federal government "Safe Travel" you can choose your country of travel and read about it.

Risk factor: prepayment for flight tickets

Flights and package tours usually have to be paid for in advance. However, this can be a considerable risk if many trips and flights are canceled without replacement during a pandemic. The legal situation is clear: travelers who have already paid for canceled travel services must get their money back - within 14 days for package tours and within 7 days for flights.

But during a pandemic, these deadlines were often of little help: providers were barely available, and those affected had to wait a long time for repayments.
The consumer advice centers are therefore fighting to ensure that travelers no longer have to pay in advance for months - and have already achieved initial successes.
Consumer complaints showed, for example, that Lufthansa concealed and delayed repayments.

The consumer advice center Baden-Württemberg took legal action against the company. After a hearing before the Cologne Regional Court on December 9, 2020, Lufthansa now fully recognized the legal violations.

What do I do if ...

... the trip is being carried out, but as a risk patient I do not want to drive?

If you are at risk due to a previous illness, we believe that you could possibly cancel a planned trip free of charge despite the absence of a travel warning in accordance with Section 651h, Paragraph 3 of the German Civil Code. However, we are breaking new ground on this legal issue. There are no court rulings on this yet. The assessment should also depend on how the situation is during the journey and at the holiday destination and whether this situation can lead to further damage to your health, even if the tour operator observes all hygiene rules.

If you are a high-risk patient, you must have a doctor confirm that the implementation of the trip, the travel restrictions on site or the dangers that still exist on site could endanger your health. Keep in mind that you will need to provide evidence of possible deterioration in your health.

... although I am not a risk patient, I still have concerns about the short distances on a flight?

Whether a package tour can be canceled free of charge depends on the individual case. There must be exceptional, unavoidable circumstances or the trip must be significantly impaired.

These circumstances also include health risks due to the outbreak of a serious illness that make safe travel impossible. This could be the case with air travel if the distance rules are not adhered to. Something else applies, however, if the mask requirement was already in place when the package tour was booked. Then you cannot refer to this fact in retrospect.

However, you must prove the reasons that can justify a free cancellation in each individual case. The mere fear that the distance rules will not be adhered to is probably not a reason to cancel a trip free of charge.

... I have booked a trip to a country for which there is a travel warning or a partial travel warning (e.g. Turkey, Egypt), but the operator carries out the trip.

A travel warning does not mean that you are not allowed to travel at all. You are free to travel anywhere - whenever you want, as long as your holiday country has not imposed any entry restrictions. However, if you currently wanted to go on vacation despite a travel warning, you should bear in mind that the Federal Foreign Office has already ruled out any further repatriation.

In addition, if you receive a travel warning abroad, you may not have health insurance - even if you have taken out health insurance abroad. This insurance is particularly useful when traveling to non-EU countries. But some insurers exclude the benefit if there is a travel warning. In addition, some insurers exclude benefits in the event of a pandemic. So if you contract Corona abroad, the insurance will not apply if your contract includes such an exclusion of benefits. Treatment costs abroad can quickly run into six-figure amounts, which you would then have to pay yourself in case of doubt.

Many providers of travel cancellation or travel interruption insurance also exclude benefits in the event of a pandemic or if a travel warning is given.

... the trip is canceled by the tour operator due to a lack of capacity?

The official corona restrictions also affect the specific offers of the tour operators. Due to the existing hygiene and protection concepts, not all capacities are available to them. Some hotels are currently not allowed to be fully occupied.

It is therefore possible that the entire holiday will be canceled by the tour operator, even if you have already received a booking confirmation. In this case, you can request the tour operator to reimburse you in full for the travel price paid. You do not have to accept a rebooking of the trip or a voucher. However, you are free to accept these offers.

It is questionable whether you have any further compensation claims, for example for vacation time that has been wasted, and should be checked in each specific case. Initial court decisions, however, tend to the fact that in the event of a Corona-related cancellation, no compensation can be demanded from the tour operator for lost holiday enjoyment.

... the departure times change?

The hygiene and protective measures can mean that the airlines cannot occupy all seats in the aircraft. This can also lead to departure times being shifted.

In this case, you may have claims against the airline or the tour operator. We have put together more details in a separate article.

A change in the departure or return airport can also be classified as a significant change in the contract and thus as a lack of travel. In such a case, you can also reduce the travel price. In these cases, the tour operator must organize appropriate transport to or from the new airport. More details can be found in another article. However, under certain circumstances you can also cancel the contract free of charge. This must be checked on a case-by-case basis.

... another hotel is made available because the originally booked hotel is full?

Because the originally booked hotel is full due to the hygiene and protection concepts, the tour operator may have booked another hotel for you.

If this is a comparable, equivalent hotel, this change is rather insignificant. However, so that the tour operator can unilaterally decide whether to spend your vacation in another hotel, two requirements must be met: such a possibility of rebooking must be regulated in the contract and the tour operator must inform you of this change in good time before the start of the journey.

If the tour operator offers you a hotel in a lower category or in a different location, you do not have to go on vacation, but can claim your money back. Then the tour operator must reimburse you for the travel price. If you start the trip under the changed conditions, you can reduce the price of the trip.

If the tour operator demands a surcharge for the other hotel, you can also withdraw from the contract free of charge. You do not have to accept additional costs for the stay.

… Tourist facilities (museums, theaters, restaurants, taxis, beaches) outside of the hotel are not accessible?

Whether a trip can be canceled free of charge depends on the individual case. There must be exceptional, unavoidable circumstances or the trip must be significantly impaired. There are various reasons that justify canceling a trip free of charge. You have to prove this in each individual case.

Slight restrictions or inconveniences at the vacation spot are usually to be accepted. If there are more severe restrictions, you have the option of reducing the travel price. In the case of very severe restrictions, the travel contract may also be terminated. This must be checked on a case-by-case basis.

... I am confronted with restrictions at the holiday destination or in the hotel?

If the travel warning has been lifted for your holiday country and you are allowed to enter the holiday country for tourist purposes, you will still face restrictions. It is possible that the swimming pool is not always available or that you have to eat à la carte even though you have actually booked a buffet.

When it comes to the question of whether these are travel deficiencies or acceptable restrictions, it depends on whether the agreed services have been canceled. Corona-related restrictions at the pool, hotel beach or buffet can under certain circumstances mean that you can reduce the travel price or cancel the contract. This must be checked in each individual case.

... do various official restrictions add up?

Whether a trip can be canceled free of charge depends on the individual case. There must be exceptional, unavoidable circumstances or the trip must be significantly impaired. There are various reasons that justify canceling a trip free of charge. You have to prove this in each individual case.

Warnings from the Foreign Office for a country, the WHO, the RKI or from leading politicians (such as presidents, chancellors, etc.) or numerous press reports can also be indications of a significant danger situation in the country, which leads to an extraordinary and inevitable event can. You could then cancel your package tour free of charge in accordance with Section 651 h (3) BGB. The tour operator would have to reimburse you for the travel price in accordance with § 651 h (5) BGB within 14 days.

Slight restrictions or inconveniences at the vacation spot are usually to be accepted. If there are more severe restrictions, you have the option of reducing the travel price. In the case of very severe restrictions, the travel contract may also be terminated. This must be checked on a case-by-case basis.

... the entry conditions become more difficult at short notice or a hotspot suddenly arises during the trip in the holiday area?

Whether a trip can be canceled free of charge depends on the individual case. There must be exceptional, unavoidable circumstances or the trip must be significantly impaired. There are various reasons that justify canceling a trip free of charge. You have to prove this in each individual case.

Such circumstances could exist if there is a high probability that an unreasonable situation can be expected at the destination at the time of the planned trip. These can be entry bans or mandatory quarantine measures on arrival or homecoming. If your holiday destination is banned from entering the country, the airline is not allowed to take you with them. Otherwise the airline would have to pay a fine.

In the case of restrictions, it depends on whether they complicate the purpose of the trip or make the trip pointless.

Slight restrictions or inconveniences at the vacation spot are usually to be accepted. If there are more severe restrictions, you have the option of reducing the travel price. In the case of very severe restrictions, the travel contract may also be terminated.

For example, if you do not have to wear the mouth and nose protection everywhere but only selectively, this is to be accepted as an inconvenience.

If a sudden hotspot arises during your vacation at the travel destination, so that there is a risk to life and limb, there are extraordinary, unavoidable circumstances ("force majeure") which entitle you to terminate the travel contract. You will then get the money back for unused services. If it was contractually agreed, the travel agent must arrange for your return transport.

... I have only booked one flight and would have to be directly quarantined upon entry?

This fact has not yet been legally clarified. If the flight itself is carried out, airlines often do not pay back voluntarily. Therefore, ask about goodwill regulations. Even if the flight price is non-refundable, taxes and fees included in the ticket price must be reimbursed. However, we are of the opinion that the ordering of quarantine measures at the travel destination is a serious restriction. So you should try to get your money back. The arbitration board for public transport can help you under certain circumstances.

Alternatively, you can also accept a voucher from the airline or rebook the flight directly, if that is advantageous for you.

You can find out whether there are travel restrictions for your travel destination in the federal government's free app "Safe Travel" or on the official EU website "reopen.europa.eu/de" (travel within the EU).