What are the rules during a coronavirus epidemic?

It is already a puzzle in normal times and the Corinthian epidemic is not helping things: many French people are lost in the face of their canceled or scheduled trip in the coming months. What are the regulations on air transport? France Inter are taking stock.

In case of a problem with a company, it is recommended that you contact the consumer associations. (Picture)
In case of a problem with a company, it is recommended that you contact the consumer associations. (Image) © AFP / PASCAL GUYOT

These are questions that many French people are wondering in the middle of the Covid-19 epidemic: should they postpone their planned trip for the next vacation? Will airline tickets be refunded?

At normal times, returning flights is not easy and in these times of crisis, it is very often an obstacle course. Some companies even allow certain freedoms under European regulations. However, the rules for air transport are quite clear. A little reminder.

Your flight is canceled by the airline

This is the simplest case. If your flight is canceled by the airline, European regulations state that the refund must be made in full within seven days, as set out in Regulation 261/2004.

Your company prohibits boarding

In a second case, the airline maintains the flight of the aircraft in which you have reserved seats. In the destination country only, French nationals are subject to a residence permit due to Covid-19.

Again, the European rule applies. You can’t take this plane, it’s like a denial of boarding. This must be accompanied by a refund within the same time limits.

Not all companies follow this rule: Companies, especially low-cost ones, don’t want to learn about performance. Some therefore do not offer this feature on their website when others apply to make it impossible to find. However, everyone offers to postpone the trip through a coupon or purchase coupon. But at European level, this logic only applies to rail transport, the UFC-Que Choisir emphasizes. Air transport is not affected at all.

What should you do in view of this “small setting”? You may reject this proposal. Above all, do not let yourself be impressed if the company points out the difficult financial situation in the field of airlines. Especially since some are taking advantage of the current crisis. The UFC-Que Choisir Consumer Association explains that some of them use coronavirus to pressure the European Commission and return as little money as possible.

You cancel the next plane ticket

This third case is the most complicated in terms of performance. Every company has its own general terms of sale. But be aware that many of them, such as Air France, are currently offering flight delays for all destinations. These are power coupons that vary depending on the company and this time, the process is fully compliant with European regulations. If the coupon expires, some companies will even offer a refund.

If you are planning to leave in the coming weeks: do not cancel your tickets and wait for the company to do it itself. This automatically allows you to refund.

If you are planning a trip, for example, next summer: Look carefully at the general terms of sale and especially the possible penalties you may owe to the company.

In case of disagreement with an airline: do not hesitate to call consumer associations or the travel broker by mail or via the online form.

What are the rules during a coronavirus epidemic?
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