our consumer champion explains your rights

Flights to these areas will be cancelled, and the good news is that all affected passengers should be entitled to a full refund. If you aren’t, I’d recommend raising an official complaint. And feel free to let me know too.

As is the case if you’re travelling in the next 30 days, if you have booked a package holiday through a travel agent or tour operator, the company should get in touch and advise you of your options. In most cases you will get your money back or you may be offered an alternative trip to a “safe” location, but you don’t have to accept this if you feel it’s unsuitable. 

You’ve booked travel to an area that’s now an official “all but essential travel” zone

At the time of writing, the FCO advises against “all but essential travel” to a growing list of countries due to coronavirus. This means it has identified a significantly increased risk from the disease, and quite understandably, many holidaymakers will decide they want to delay or cancel their trips to “all but essential travel” locations. 

But I’m afraid this is where your rights start to get a bit more wobbly. If you’ve booked flights yourself, unless your tickets already state otherwise, you have no automatic right to a refund to an “all but essential travel zone”. It is therefore down to the discretion of airlines and holiday companies to refund your travel if you no longer want to go. Contact your travel insurer to see if you’re covered under your policy. That said, many flights are being cancelled voluntarily and fares refunded.