Everything you need to know according to an expert in tourist rights to deal with travel agencies, airlines and hotels in case you have to suspend a trip due to the pandemic:
1. Keep calm without wasting time: “The first thing to do is not to lose your temper and organize yourself, you have to call one by one the tourist service providers that we have contracted, and the sooner we do it the better, that is why it is advisable not to let a day go by since I found out I have Covid-19,” Aramburu recommended.
In the cases in which a travel agency has been contracted, it will be necessary to contact it to request the cancellation of the services, whether they are flights, accommodation, among others.
2. Carefully read trade policies to know what to expect: "It is recommended that in cases where trade policy is at hand, it is consulted." Airlines often make their commercial cancellation policies available to users, letting users know what to expect when calling the company.
Some airlines allow a change without penalties, paying only the fare difference, if any. The modification must be made before the start date of the original trip and the destination could be modified as long as it belongs to the same flight network, that is:
“local destinations by destinations of the same type and regional/international by destinations of the same type”. In the case of accommodation, there is the possibility that you have a "flexible" reservation, a methodology that became popular due to the constant cancellations of flights and border restrictions, and that allows the traveler to modify their reservation without suffering penalties.
3. Call the providers of tourist, air and hotel services, communicate the cancellation and keep in mind the indicated options: "It is key to take a calm stance and clearly explain the impossibility of executing the trip, it is really a situation of force majeure and the tourist is not to blame," says Aramburu, but also adds that "it is not the fault of the provider, who also has to take care of your business."
What the expert means is that in the high season, tourist service providers usually have everything sold out, and if they receive a cancellation after the hour, they cannot return all the money, since it can represent a significant loss. That is why it is necessary to negotiate.
As for the airlines, there will be a commercial policy of the company that contemplates cancellations and rescheduling, the traveler will be able to communicate through official channels and choose between their options. Regarding accommodation and tourist providers in general, it will be each company that defines what type of arrangement is reached with the traveler. “This will be defined by multiple factors that are not enumerable”, explains Aramburu, the destination, the type of service, the possibility of reselling that place that will remain empty, are just some of them.
4. In case of disagreement: appeal to the administrative or judicial channels: If the traveler is not satisfied with any of the answers obtained from the tourist providers, they can choose to make a claim.
It should be consulted because legal means must make the request depending on the situation.
5. Right of repentance: Aramburu explained to Infobae that the "right of repentance" is a resource that can be used in a situation of this type, as long as the traveler has contracted the tourist service online and is within the first 10 days of contracting it. .
"In the case of a person who booked his vacation online for 10 days and got coronavirus, he can invoke the right of repentance to recover all the money he invested," explains the expert.