Where do the airlines get the entry fee from?

Corona Voucher - what is it?

Due to the massive economic consequences of the SARS-Cov 19 pandemic on the travel industry, the first European governments have introduced special regulations which, in the event of cancellations by travel and transport companies, weaken the previously applicable claims of customers.


It remains exciting to see whether other countries will give in to the pressure of the ailing travel industry and follow the example or, on the contrary, whether the EU Commission can reverse these national solo efforts.
On the political side, one would like to reduce the risk of a bankruptcy wave in tourism. Airlines and tour operators should remain solvent until the situation calms down again.

Flight bookings


Only recently, the EU Commission emphasized the immutability of passenger rights despite Corona in this broadcast.

Passenger rights regulation 261/2004 applies to many European air travel: If the booked flight is canceled by the airline, the customer concerned has the choice between full reimbursement of the ticket costs or alternative transport to the final destination. Receiving a voucher is not regulated in the Air Passenger Rights Ordinance. Airlines may only issue vouchers if the customer concerned voluntarily accepts the voucher.


The new national government measures in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg limit the otherwise usual reimbursement obligations temporarily one, and airlines allow it Vouchers instead of cash repayments issue that are to be used for later services.

What does that mean for me as a customer?

Getting a voucher instead of money has three main disadvantages:
1. The voucher is not transferable to other airlines. The flexibility in future travel planning is therefore limited.
2. Prices are likely to rise due to the crisis. You will probably not get an equivalent benefit for the sum paid later.
3. The risk of holding a worthless voucher in your hands if the company goes bankrupt. To date, we are not aware that the vouchers issued by airlines are insolvency-protected.

  • This sample letter to the airline helps to reclaim the ticket price in cash instead of in the form of a voucher for direct bookings.
  • This sample letter to the online travel agency helps to reclaim the ticket price in cash instead of in the form of a voucher for indirect bookings via a booking platform or an online travel agency.

Package tours


Package tour operators are legally obliged to secure paid customer funds against their own insolvency. If you have paid the travel expenses for a booked package tour and the tour operator becomes insolvent after payment, you must get the travel expenses paid back in full. This regulation of insolvency protection applies to the entire European Union.


The package travel guideline, which was implemented in the respective European member states, does not provide for vouchers. It is therefore questionable whether vouchers can be issued for package tours. We are of the opinion that you do not have to accept vouchers for package tours, especially if the vouchers are not secured against the bankruptcy of the package tour provider.

  • This sample letter to the package tour operator helps to reclaim the travel expenses paid in cash instead of in the form of a voucher.


Exceptions - what applies where?

(last update 08/19/2020)

Netherlands

The Netherlands have for Package tours introduced the so-called "Corona Voucher", which is retroactive for bookings from 1.3.2020.

The voucher is valid for 1 year, you have to book during this period. The journey itself can also take place later. After 6 months after acceptance of the voucher by the customer, the customer can withdraw from the trip and demand money instead. Outstanding remaining sums for paid trips are not to be paid, the value of the voucher then corresponds to the deposit. If the booking value of a new trip is lower, you can have the remaining value paid out. In the case of package tours, Corona Vouchers are insured against insolvency by their own SGR fund.


Acceptance of the voucher by the customer is not mandatory, but if the voucher is rejected, no money will be received for the time being. According to information from ECC NL, a monetary claim will be met at a later date, but only if the company does not become insolvent.

France


With every trip cancellation byPackage toursreceived by a French travel agency between 01/03/2020 and 15/09/2020, the travel agency is entitled to offer a voucher with a validity of at least 18 months. If this is not used by the end of its validity, the amount must be fully refunded to the customer.
If only part of the voucher is used because the new trip is cheaper, the remaining amount remains valid and can be used to purchase another trip or service. Any remaining amount must be reimbursed after 18 months if it is definitely not used.


Insolvency insurance, which previously only applied to travel contracts, has been expanded to include such vouchers in France.

Italy

If package tour operators, event organizers, accommodation providers or airlines cancel their contractually promised service or if consumers are unable to make use of them, the companies may issue vouchers that are valid for 18 months. If the voucher is not redeemed within the deadline, you have the option of requesting a refund afterwards.

Luxembourg

The order of March 27, 2020 regarding coronavirus and package tours has now been repealed.

Belgium

The misterial decree of March 19, 2020 on the reimbursement of canceled package tours has now been repealed.