If you canceled a trip abroad in the spring of 2020, at the time of the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, be aware that the first repayments of assets must take place from this month of September.
“There will be no refund tsunami” affirmed at the beginning of the summer Jean-Pierre Mas, the president of the Syndicate of Travel Companies. “Customers will all be reimbursed” confirms Michel Salaün, CEO of the 3rd largest French tour operator group, and at the head of 160 travel agencies. Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, many trips around the world have been canceled due to restrictions imposed in highly touristy countries. Corn professionals in the sector want to be reassuring. Laurent Abitbol, president of Havas Voyages and of Selectour, the leading network of agencies in France, specifies that the money of customers who have not been able to travel because of Covid-19 is held in bank accounts. Two thirds of customers have already used their assets during the summer.
All customers who could not leave and who did not choose to use the assets set up in March 2020, at the very start of the health crisis this summer, should therefore easily find their money back but perhaps be a little slower than they hoped.
No administrative fees charged
For Me Emmanuelle Llop, lawyer at Equinoxe, there are two elements to take into account: “At the time of cancellation by the customer of a complete trip: plane ticket, hotel, cruise … The physical or online travel agency then had three months maximum (depending on the agency it could be more short) to make a proposal to the latter. Either the choice to have this trip, or take another trip on another date. It was at the end of these three months that the famous period of 18 months began. before they can be reimbursed. ”
Clear, if you canceled your trip in mid-March 2020, the end of the choice period was mid-May and then the refund can be made in November 2021. In addition, agencies or online sales sites do not have the right to charge you the slightest euro for administrative fees.
1.5 billion euros in outstanding assets
But for plane tickets alone, the conditions are different. The airlines were not legally obligated to offer you any action in the event of a cancellation. Some companies like Qatar Airways even charged their customers a cancellation fee. on the pretext that even if the French government recommended not to travel, the planes flew normally. Other companies like Easy Jet have purely and simply reimbursed the tickets and Air France is continuing its reimbursement policy and free exchange until March 2022.
According to Jean-Pierre Mas, the president of Travel Companies, there is a maximum of 70 million euros in assets that issuers could not be able to repay between September 15, 2021 and April 2022. As relayed by the specialist site Tourmag last June: “Half of these assets will be gradually absorbed for summer and winter bookings. There will remain 700 million to repay”. In total, according to Jean-Pierre Mas, “there is 1.5 billion euros to have in circulation following the order of March 25, 2020.”
If by bad luck your travel agency has gone out of business – few in number – you will still be reimbursed via insurance companies or the APST, the guarantee fund for travel professionals.
For more precision, the UFC-Que Choisir answers the most recurring questions.