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Durham University

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Travel Claims and Flight Refunds

(3 July 2020)

Whilst some claims have already been submitted for cancelled travel, there may be further booked trips where the intended date of travel has not yet passed. The University’s travel cover providers have issued a very strong recommendation that in all instances when considering the cancellation of travel, unless it is clear that a refund will be due when travel is cancelled, it is usually best to be patient and wait until the travel provider cancels. This will often mean there will be entitlement to a significant if not full refund; in most instances, if you cancel, normal cancellation charges will apply and no refund will be due.

Some airlines are insisting either that no refund is due or that the traveller is only entitled to a voucher even when the airline has cancelled the flight. The view of our cover providers, UMAL, is that this may be in breach of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 which applies to passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies. As most flights will have been due to depart from the UK this would seem to fall within the scope of the EU regulations. In addition, the regulations state that in the event of cancellation the airline must offer reimbursement within 7 days in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques and that vouchers may only be offered with the signed agreement of the passenger.

From a travel claim perspective, where a voucher has been offered, our cover providers and the insurance industry in general are treating this as a refund and no claim will therefore be possible under our cover. If it is unlikely that a voucher can be used, a refund should be pursued from the airline. Where travel was booked through Dawson & Sanderson they may be able to assist.

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