Unrest in Egypt is grounding passengersWhich? offer travel rights advice

01 February 2011

Plane at sunset

Fear of flying is all to do with a loss of control: you're in someone else's hands

With the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advising against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez, Which? explains your legal rights.

Freak weather and political unrest have prompted a change in travel advice to a number of countries in recent weeks. But those who were hoping to escape to a warmer climate in Tunisia or Egypt have been left unsure as to whether they have any protection if they cancel their flight or holiday.

Should I fly to Egypt?

The situation is complex, if like with Egypt, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez. The FCO's website states 'whether travel is essential or not is your own decision – you may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to'.

If you booked a flight independent of your accommodation and your airline is ready, willing and able to transport you to your destination, you could have difficulty getting a refund or arguing for breach of contract if you choose not to fly.

You should check your insurance policy to see if it offers additional protection and check your airline's Conditions of Carriage.

Covered by my insurance?

The Which? legal team say the situation is much clearer if your flight is cancelled. All flights leaving from a UK airport are covered by Regulation (EC) 261/2004. This regulation requires the passenger to be given a full refund of the flight ticket where a flight is cancelled, even if this is due to 'extraordinary circumstances' such as civil unrest.

Package holiday protection

You have more protection if booked on a package holiday, as you may able to argue that the change of circumstances amounts to a 'significant alteration'.

Dean Taylor, Which? Legal Service Lawyer says:

'If those circumstances are accepted by your tour operator, they should offer you a substitute holiday - refunding any difference in price - or a full refund. This is in accordance with Regulation 13 of the Package Travel Regulations 1992.'

Know your travel rights

For travel rights information on similar travel issues, read our For bespoke advice on your travel issue contact Which? Legal Service.

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