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14 Aug 2020

Netherlands quarantine and your holiday. Refunds and cancellations Q&A

Everything you need to know about refunds and cancellations on flights, holidays, Eurostar, ferries and your hotel and accommodation bookings

The UK government has advised against all but essential travel to the Netherlands following a rise in reported cases of coronavirus.

UK quarantine measures will also apply.As of Saturday at 4am, anyone returning from visiting the Netherlands will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warning against non-essential travel also means that travel insurance will no longer be valid for trips to the Netherlands - unless you are already in the country.

The quarantine and FCO warning will mean many people no longer want to travel, but claiming a refund could be difficult. Accommodation-only and transport-only bookings have less protection than a package holiday.

Package holiday providers, such as easyJet Holidays and BA Holidays, are likely to cancel forthcoming holidays to Netherlands. That will allow customers to claim a full refund under the Package Travel Regulations.

However, most airlines are unlikely to cancel. EasyJet, for example, has told us it is offering a full schedule. If the airline doesn't cancel, you can't claim a refund. In some instances you may be able to rebook, although in the case of some airlines, such as Ryanair, this comes with a fee.

Hotels and campsites in the Netherlands remain open. This means non-package customers may find it difficult to get a refund. Instead, you'll be reliant on the policies and goodwill of the website or provider you booked with for rebooking options.

Below you'll find full advice on flight, accommodation, Eurotunnel, ferry and other Netherlands holiday bookings.

Find more unbiased advice on travel and coronavirus, award-winning investigations and legal advice on holiday refunds and cancelled flights with Which? Travel

Can I still travel to the Netherlands?

You can still travel to the Netherlands, but it is not advised by the UK government as it is now deemed a risk.

The FCO warning invalidates travel insurance. If you do travel, you won't be covered for any disruption, or if you become ill while you are there. However, if you still want to travel against advice, some specialist travel insurers will cover you for destinations on the FCO advisory list.

In addition, when you return to the UK you must quarantine for 14 days or face a fine.

What's happening in the Netherlands?

Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows the Netherlands has 40.2 cases per 100,000. Comparatively, the UK has 18.5 per 100,000.

The Netherlands however, has not imposed a nationwide lockdown, nor any localised restrictions so far.

Should I cancel my package holiday to the Netherlands?

No. Do not cancel your package holiday or you could lose your right to a refund. Package providers will start to cancel holidays to the Netherlands, usually in order of the date of departure. You can then choose betweena refund, free rebooking or refund credit note (RCN). You are entitled to the option of a cash refund if you'd prefer one, but by taking a RCN, you will help companies who are struggling due to the impact of the pandemic. RCNs are now financially protected if the company that issued it goes bust, so your money is safe.

EasyJet Holidays says it will not send passengers anywhere where the FCO advises against all non-essential travel, or where there is routine quarantine. This means they will cancel your holiday and provide a full refund or credit as preferred.

British Airways Holidays told us: 'If customers have booked a holiday to these countries departing in the next three weeks and no longer wish to travel, they can choose a refund or a voucher for future travel. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our policy accordingly.'

woman exploring amsterdam

Can I get a refund on my flight with easyJet, BA or Jet2 to the Netherlands?

EasyJet told us: 'we plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days. Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking.'

'Should any flights be cancelled for later in August customers will be notified and informed of their options which includes transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund via a webform on our dedicated Covid Help Hub at easyJet.com. '

British Airways said: 'If a customer's flight is cancelled they are entitled to a voucher or a full refund. If a flight is still operating but a customer wants to change their booking they can or they can take a voucher for future travel anytime before travel at no cost.'

Flights with Jet2 to the Netherlands are already cancelled up to and including August 27, so you will be entitled to a refund up until that date, which will likely be reviewed closer to the time.

Can I get a refund on Eurostar journeys to the Netherlands?

Eurostar will not automatically cancel all trips to the Netherlands. If your journey goes ahead, Eurostar says that customers who no longer wish to travel, up to 7 September, can exchange tickets free of charge or request an e-voucher.

You can do this up to a day before travel. If Eurostar does cancel your journey, you are entitled to a cash refund under the Rail Passenger Rights regulation.

Eurostar journeys cancellations

Can I get a refund on my ferry booking to the Netherlands?

If you booked with DFDS directly, you can re-book your crossing for a future date (up to 31 December 2020) for free as long as you give 24 hours' notice. To do this, call 0344 848 6090. If you don't want to travel at all anymore, cancellation is subject to the standard terms and conditions.

Throughout the pandemic, Stena Line has operated all routes and it will continue to do so now. If you booked a standard ticket before 1 July, it is free to change your ticket or get a refund. If you did not book a flexible ticket after 1 July, there is a fee to change your ticket and no refund available if you do not wish to travel. To notify the company of your preferences, you must get in touch beforehand: info.nl@stenaline.com.

P&O Ferries will issue a credit note or amend your booking free for any sailings in August, but will not offer a refund.

Woman trying to get coronavirus credit card refund

What about hotel and campsite bookings?

Hotels and campsites in the Netherlands are open, meaning you won't be able to claim a refund. If you want to cancel, you'll have to check the T&Cs of your booking. Some online booking websites such as Booking.com and Airbnb, offer last-minute cancellation on some listings - but not all.

Many individual properties may be willing to offer flexibility by rebooking for a later date, but you will be reliant on their goodwill.

If the hotel is ordered to close as part of a government enforced lockdown, you're entitled to a refund for any unused nights.

Will travel insurance help?

It depends when you took out the travel insurance. If it was after around the 10 March, when coronavirus became a known event, it's likely the policy has an exclusion for FCO travel warnings related to coronavirus. That means you won't be able to claim.

If you have travel insurance taken out before this date, an annual policy or one of a handful of policies that didn't include the exclusion you should be able to claim but it will depend on the individual policy.

Read our travel insurance Q&A for more detailed information on what is happening with polices.

What happens if the Netherlands announces local/regional lockdowns?

If you're travelling to an area affected by an official government lockdown, your tour operator will likely cancel the holiday, in which case you'll be entitled to a full refund.

Some holiday companies have said they will bring clients home early if the lockdown happens mid-holiday, in which case the Package Travel Regulations stipulate that you'd be entitled to a pro-rata refund for any unused days.

You don't need to head home early in the case of voluntary lockdowns. But nor will you be able to claim a refund if you don't want to travel.

I'm on holiday in the Netherlands now. Do I need to return to the UK early?

No. The government has said holidaymakers don't need to return early. You will still be covered by insurance (if you took this out before travel) provided your date of travel was prior to the FCO announcement being made.

The only instance where you'll need to return home early is if your travel company asks you to and you don't want to pay for a new flight home.

When restrictions on Spain were introduced, Jet2 asked some customers to return to the UK early. The company decided it was too expensive to keep sending empty flights over and wanted to consolidate departures. It is possible this will happen with the Netherlands. Which? has asked Jet2 to confirm. If this happens, you will be entitled to a refund for the nights lost.