Travel to the UK: time is running out to claim your COVID reimbursement vouchers

After travel plans were canceled at the height of the covid pandemic, some comfort was provided by the issuance of vouchers and credit notes.

But if you haven’t used them yet, you could lose your money by September 30.

What is a refund credit?

When travel bans and covid restrictions have caused trips to be cancelled, many have sought refunds from Airlines companies and travel agencies. Facing financial worries because no one was going holidaybusinesses responded by distributing travel vouchers.

But with limited financial resources due to the extension of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, few people actually used their vouchers. This is why the EU and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (“CAA”) have now adopted reimbursement schemes.

You have until September 30 to get your money back.

The CAA, which runs the Atol scheme (the Air Tour Operator’s License is a UK financial protection scheme that protects most air packages sold by travel companies) said that more than £132 million (152 million euros) of reimbursement credit notes had been issued by Atol Holders to customers. More than £50m (€57m) of refund assets remain unused.

Of course, each travel company has set its own terms, but if you haven’t used your credit notes yet, you’ll need to either redeem them or cash them out by September 30, 2022.

After this date, you are no longer financially protected if the company selling the trip cannot deliver it or if it goes bankrupt.

How long are travel vouchers valid in Europe?

Within the EU, travel agents can reimburse customers in cash or in the form of a voucher. However, reimbursement by means of a voucher is only possible with the passenger’s agreement.

Everyone has the right to get their money back, but national regulations really make a difference. Czech Republic,Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia have allowed tour operators to issue travel vouchers, rather than cash refunds or defer refunds well beyond the initial 14-day period.

In France the deadline was extended to 18 months from the date of issue, so all redemptions expired in June.

In Italythe period of use of the voucher has been extended to 30 months from its issue and it is only after this period that it is possible to request a cash refund.

Varying timeframes mean you should check your own country’s regulations before trying to get your money back.

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Edward L. Robinett