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Everything You Need To Know About Trip Cancellations & Refunds Amid #COVID-19

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re among the millions of distraught travellers who have had to cancel or reschedule their holiday/travel plans due to COVID-19 and its far-reaching impact on the global travel and hospitality industry. Here, we have tried to capture as much information as possible regarding cancellations and refunds during these difficult and uncertain times. Hope this helps you make an informed decision about your travel plans. But truth be told these are unprecedented times in the history of travel and anyone related to the industry—from airlines to hotels and OTAs—are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 volatility.    

Category I: Flights 

In case of #COVID-19 related flight cancellations, most of the airlines are offering customers two options: 

i) Cancellations with full refunds

ii) Rescheduling of flights

 In case of refundable flights, customers are eligible for a full refund with a waiver on the cancellation fee as well—applicable only when the airline cancels the flight from its end. In case of non-refundable flight bookings, the airline takes a couple of factors into consideration—namely, travel policies of the departure and arrival destinations, confirmed passengers count and the flight’s ability to operate as per global aviation guidelines. In case the above mentioned factors are not favourable, the airline is likely to cancel the flight, following which the customer is eligible for a partial or full refund—varying from airline to airline. Some airlines are also offering a waiver on rescheduling fee. However, it is advised to read the fine print carefully as the customer might be required to pay the airfare difference for the new travel dates. The refund amount one receives also depends on the following factors: 

  1. Date of booking
  2. Travel dates
  3. Indian government’s stance on travel to the country in question 
  4. Local government’s directive on travel 

Category II: Hotels

In case of hotels, the cancellation policy varies from property to property and across countries. While customers with refundable bookings are entitled to get a full refund minus the minor cancellation fee, many hotels are offering credit notes in case you wish to cancel or reschedule the booking in view of COVID-19. This credit note can be used to reschedule the stay or even pass it on to another traveller(s) of your choice. When compared to flights, hotels are more flexible in terms of rescheduling a customer’s stay. But, many hotel chains and smaller boutique hotels are sticking to their non-refundable clauses. It is advisable to carefully read through the fine print for any additional terms and conditions. 

Category III: Activities & Transfers 

With the cancellation window being extended upto 48-72 hrs, it is easier to get full refunds on activities and transfers. In some cases despite being in the cancellation window, if the activity stands cancelled due to local laws or weather constraints, there are high chances of partial or full refund. 

When Is The Best Time To Cancel? 

For departures upto April 15th given the government directive, we are encouraging our customers to abide by the directive. There are cases where the destination countries aren’t agreeing to cancellation which is leading to people rethinking about the trip or rescheduling it. 

Given the current scenario where several governments are updating their travel advisories by the hour, we recommend to take a wait and watch approach if your trip is later than April 15th. This would help not only get maximum refunds on your trip but also give you a better chance of government directives working in your favour to maximise refunds or credit vouchers. 

What are we doing for the trips booked through Pickyourtrail?

We, at Pickyourtrail, are working round-the-clock to ensure our customers have a hassle-free experience during these difficult and uncertain times. Putting our customers’ best interests first, we are keeping them abreast with the latest updates and information in order to empower them to make an informed decision about their travel plans. In case of refundable bookings, we’re proactively communicating with our customers to cancel their respective bookings well ahead of deadline. For non-refundable bookings, our team is working with partners  to maximize refunds. While many hotels in Italy, South Korea and the US have been cooperative in this regard, there are many other properties in other countries which are complying with their local government directive and not agreeing for refunds.Pickyourtrail customers eligible for refunds will receive the refund amount within 90 working days from the date of cancellation or when the supplier(s) processes the refund, whichever is later. For refunds related to on-trip cancellations, customers will receive the refund amount within 90 working days from the date of their return or when the supplier(s) processes the refund, whichever is later. For more queries/clarifications, please reach out to help@pickyourtrail.com.

Shikha Pushpan