I booked and paid for a package holiday in January. I have just learned that the hotel has been quarantined due to coronavirus. I’m hoping the travel agent will find another hotel, but what will happen to my booking if the holiday is cancelled? Or what happens if they do find a new hotel but I decide to not to travel?
This is an anxious time for people travelling overseas. You should monitor and follow the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA ). You can do this using the DFA’s Travelwise app or you can phone DFA’s dedicated phone line on (01 ) 613 1733 for the latest travel advice.
Check with your travel agent that your holiday is a ‘package holiday’. A traditional package holiday (also called a pre-arranged travel package ) is advertised and sold as a whole and must last for more than 24 hours or include an overnight stay. It also must be made up of at least two of the following - transport, accommodation, car rental or other tourist services (tours, excursions, guides or concert tickets, etc. ).
If you want to cancel Under the EU Directive on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements, you have the right to cancel your booking for free, before the start of the holiday, in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. This includes disease or serious conditions at the destination. If DFA advises against travelling because of the coronavirus, you can cancel your package holiday and get a full refund.
Travel agent has to cancel the package
Even if DFA has not restricted travel to your destination, you still have rights if your travel agent cancels or makes a significant change to your package holiday. For example, changing your hotel from the one you originally booked with the package would be a significant change that alters a term of the contract. The travel agent can cancel a package holiday because of factors beyond their control but you are still entitled to a replacement holiday of equivalent or superior quality, a lower grade holiday with a reimbursement of the difference in price or a full refund within fourteen days.
You should discuss your options with your travel agent. You can find out more on your consumer rights by visiting citizensinformation.ie
Know Your Rights has been compiled by North Leinster Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761076610 Address: Elliott House, St.Mary’s Square, Athlone, Co Westmeath.
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.