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FAQs from the club lawyers about traveling
The ÖAMTC lawyers have put together the most important questions and answers for you:
Due to the tense situation around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, level 6 travel warnings apply to many countries and the Foreign Ministry advises against tourist and unnecessary travel, including vacation and family visits.
The following European countries are excluded from this as of May 19, 2021, for which, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, security level 4 now applies (instead of level 6):
Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia , Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary and the Vatican.
Vacation abroad and return to Austria
Many countries have entry restrictions for travelers from Austria. You can find out which requirements apply to entry and which measures are in force on site here. Remember that the other way around, when you return from your holiday destination, the Austrian entry regulations apply. In principle, travelers need a 3-G certificate. There may be special requirements for entry.
The ÖAMTC provides ongoing information about current border closings, future border openings and the entry requirements of many European countries.
Questions and answers about travel law and travel cancellation for holidays abroad
DANGER! Before you go abroad, make sure you use the Foreign Ministry's travel registration facility so that you can be reached in an emergency.
How do I find out whether I can reach my destination or whether I can travel there?
Your tour operator, travel agent or - if you have only booked one flight - your airline will give you the answers.
You can also find an overview of the regions to which it is better not to travel at the moment on the Foreign Ministry's travel warnings page.
Further information on travel planning and entry requirements can be found here.
What does a high security risk or a travel warning mean for my trip?
A "high security risk" corresponds to that Level 4 of the 6-part security levels. At level 4, the Foreign Minister advises against travel to the respective country that is not absolutely necessary.
In addition, they mean Security level 5that there is a partial travel warning for the respective country ("you are warned before traveling to this area") or at Security level 6 (= highest security level) that there is a general travel warning. Due to COVID-19, a warning is given at this level against all tourist and unnecessary trips to this country, including vacation and family visits.
Both Security levels 5 and 6 Austrians who are currently in this area should contact the competent Austrian representation authority or the closest representation of an EU member state or Austrians living in this area should leave the country.
What does security level 4 mean for my trip? Can I travel?
For security reasons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not absolutely necessary, but In principle, you can travel to a country with security level 4.
Information on labor law issues in this context can be found in the handbook of the Federal Ministry of Labor, Family and Youth.
There are no general consequences under insurance law (e.g. with regard to accident, liability or comprehensive insurance) BUTTravel insurance contracts should definitely be looked over carefully (with regard to any retrieval or support in the event of illness).
ÖAMTC protection letter protection exists on departure to countries up to level 4. Services for countries with travel warning (= levels 5 + 6) are, provided the warnings exist on departure, NOT covered. If a traveler is surprised by a travel warning, the letter of protection will of course help wherever possible.
But I don't want to travel anymore - is a free cancellation possible with security level 4?
As a rule, package tour providers accept free travel cancellation from level 5 without any problems, with level 4 it depends on the individual case. It is also important to check how the security situation was at the time of booking. If the situation has not deteriorated unexpectedly until shortly before departure, a free cancellation is more difficult to enforce.
According to the Package Travel Act, the focus is not on the specific travel warning level, but on the significant impairment, i.e. the unreasonableness (or impossibility) of the trip, whereby a temporal and spatial proximity must also be given.
Whether a trip to an area is significantly impaired also depends on the measures that apply at the time of travel. For example, a mask requirement in public or closed areas will probably not significantly affect the journey. However, if all relevant sights in the city that the traveler would like to visit are closed, a significant impairment will be more likely.
It can also be helpful to look at the numbers regarding Covid-19 cases for the specific holiday destination: It may be that an entire country is practically "corona-free", but the Covid-19 cases in a certain city or region where you are going want to travel, rise again just before the start of the journey.
In the opinion of the EU Commission, the question of whether a free cancellation by the traveler is permissible due to significant impairment is also to take into account the individual circumstances of the traveler. Therefore, in the event that a traveler belongs to the risk group, one can and should argue with the right to a free cancellation. Of course, this takes into account the other criteria such as the temporal proximity, i.e. departure within the next 14 days.
What do travelers have to consider when they go to an area severely affected by the virus or for which a travel warning applies?
If you travel to an area that has been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus, you run a financial risk in addition to your health. If protective measures or assistance (such as a repatriation campaign) by the Austrian authorities are necessary for travelers in this area, there is a risk of recourse.
Section 1 (3) of the Consular Fees Act stipulates that authorities can claim back up to 10,000 euros per person if a return campaign has become necessary for travelers who have ignored a travel warning from the Foreign Ministry without necessity. If a traveler finds himself in a grossly culpable situation in which he needs the help of the Austrian authorities - for example because the situation has worsened after his arrival at the destination - up to 50,000 euros can be claimed back. Further information on the currently applicable travel warnings from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Quarantine abroad? Who pays for an extended stay?
Who bears the costs for the additional involuntary nights in the hotel in the event of official quarantine also depends on whether you plan to travel flat rate or individually has booked.
Does the hotel guest have one Package tour booked, the tour operator will usually cover the costs for a maximum of three nights if the agreed return trip is not possible due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. That would be the case if the traveler is quarantined or if, for example, the flight is canceled due to the corona virus.
The costs that go beyond the 3 days to be covered by the organizer must be paid by travelers themselves, unless the costs are covered by another institution (e.g. authorities).
From this cost restriction except are people with restricted mobility and their companions, pregnant women and unaccompanied minors as well as people who need special medical care.
The costs ofIndividual travelers, who are not allowed to leave the holiday destination due to an official quarantine order and whose stay has to be extended are taken over by the authorities in some countries. The regulations of the respective country apply.
What does an entry ban mean for my trip?
If you have booked a package tour to a country for which there is an entry ban and the start of the trip is within the period for which the entry ban applies, you can withdraw from the contract free of charge, i.e. cancel the trip free of charge.
If you have only booked one accommodation as an individual traveler, the cancellation conditions of the respective country apply. It is therefore not possible to generally say whether there is a legal right to a free cancellation of the hotel booking (as under Austrian law). In any case, in this case, too, you should contact the hotel quickly - at least goodwill solutions are often possible.
It is possible to withdraw from the flight booking, as the Austrian passenger should not be allowed to enter the airport. As a rule, many flights will probably be canceled in the near future. In this case, the passenger rights apply in the event of cancellation: A rebooking is possible (attention - processing fees may apply!) Or the ticket costs will be reimbursed. In this case, the airline does not have to make any additional compensation payments!
When can I cancel my trip abroad free of charge?
Customers who have a Package tour have booked, regardless of a travel warning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then have the right to cancel the trip free of charge if at the holiday destinationsuddenly Circumstances arise with which onecould not count, whichcould not be avoided and which the execution of the trip or the transport to the destination significantly affect. In this case you have the right to be reimbursed for the payments made to the tour operator. However, there is no entitlement to additional compensation.
After the corona pandemic in the summer of 2021 was unfortunately no longer unpredictable, it may be more difficult this year to enforce a free cancellation. We would have to add new, unforeseeable deteriorations for the traveler.
According to the case law of the courts in recent years, a free cancellation of a package tour is only possible if the start of the holiday and the dangerous situation are close together. If the travel destination is not in the directly affected crisis region or if the holiday does not start for a few weeks, you have to wait and watch the development.
Danger! If you cancel early and pay cancellation costs, you can pay the cancellation costs NOT reclaim from the organizer if a free cancellation would be possible later or the trip is canceled!
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