Local Lockdowns are ‘Valid Reason’ for Travel Cancellation
Consumers are allowed to cancel holiday bookings if subject to local lockdowns, but “reasonable” cancellation charges should apply.
Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) assistant director for policy and advocacy, Andrew Hadley told the ABTA law seminar: “Asking a consumer to commit a criminal offence to catch a flight to go on holiday seems unreasonable. Where there is a legal requirement to remain at home, we believe it likely to lead to a cancellation right.”
But ABTA head of legal services Simon Bunce pointed out: “If customers can’t travel because they can’t leave their home town, the travel company is entitled to recover monies they can’t recover elsewhere.”
Hadley agreed: “It would require the consumer terms to be fair, although we appreciate it would be harder to resell a holiday at present.”
Travlaw senior partner Matt Gatenby said: “You can equate this to someone who breaks a leg just before travel. You can still deliver the holiday. If that is not a case for travel insurance, I don’t know what is.”
Kemp Little partner Farina Azam also agreed, saying: “The Package Travel Regulations don’t provide for a refund where local restrictions prevent a travel departure as long as your cancellation charges are reasonable and fair. Make sure they’re a genuine reflection of the costs of cancellation.”