Britons flying to and holidaying in Spain: what are your rights?
I’m due to travel to Spain this week – what happens if I cancel?
Those with package tours booked to mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands will be eligible for a refund because the tour operator will almost certainly have to cancel the trip in the face of the new Foreign Office rules.
Possibly. Originally, insurers were not offering cancellation cover to those who bought their holiday and travel insurance before Covid-19 became a known issue (around 23 March).
If you booked a non-package trip or bought the insurance after March you may be covered, provided you bought the policy before the weekend quarantine change. Policies should pay your Spanish cancellation claim now that the Foreign Office has advised against travel.
Some big insurers changed their terms and conditions to remove cancellation cover or stopped selling new policies. Check your insurer’s website for the latest position.
Magaluf beach in Mallorca. British tourists cancelling trips to the island may be unable to claim on their travel insurance. Photograph: Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty
I put together my own trip – how am I placed for compensation?
Most of the airlines have said they will operate flights to Spain as scheduled so if your flight takes off without you, it’s tough. EasyJet is offering travellers the chance to cancel and switch to a voucher, but rivals including BA and Ryanair are not.
Accommodation providers are under no obligation to offer a refund, unless it was part of the original terms and conditions. Some hotels did offer cancellations to encourage bookings, so check the reservation terms.
Airbnb is allowing those who booked their trip on or before 14 March the option to cancel trips up to the end of August if “the pandemic is preventing you from completing your reservation”. Its standard cancellation terms apply to all bookings made after 14 March. Some people will end up up losing half their money.
The above travel insurance rules apply to those with self-made bookings as above. Those without cover will lose any sums they can’t recover from providers.
Can I travel anyway?
If you were booked to travel to, for example, Malaga, the hotel is open and the flight is operating, you could copy the prime minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, and travel anyway; however, you need to be aware that your travel insurance will be voided. If you were unlucky enough to contract the virus while in Spain, you could incur huge hospital/accommodation bills as a result because you will have no insurance cover. For most people it won’t be worth the risk.
Will I be paid while in quarantine?
You’re not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay if you are self-isolating after returning from holiday, according to the industrial relations body Acas. If you can work from home, for instance, then you can be paid as normal. But if you can’t, a solution could be to take annual leave so you can get holiday pay while self-isolating. On Monday, Downing Street said those denied pay after being forced to isolate should claim universal credit, or seek arbitration.
Employment lawyers have said that only those with two years’ service are protected against the sack for failing to come to work. Those with Covid-19 symptoms and who are self-isolating are entitled to statutory sick pay of £96 a week or higher.