FAQ Coronavirus

IMPORTANT: Are you an Austrian citizen on holiday and currently abroad?  Please register with the Foreign Ministry!
 

https://www.bmeia.gv.at/reise-aufenthalt/auslandsservice/reiseregistrierung

 

This way you can be contacted, if necessary, and helped with your transport home to Austria. 


Even if your journey is still to come, you should register!
 

 

On this page you will find answers to the most common questions about the coronavirus from the perspective we are being asked by Austrian citizens. We have deliberately kept the answers as short as possible in order to provide simple and clear assistance. All eventualities of a case and legal details are therefore not shown here.


 

Division of questions:

  • The most common question: Future planned trip to a risk area
  • Package travel (several services booked as a package)
  • Contract of carriage (e.g. flight ticket booked individually)
  • Individual trip accommodation (e.g. hotel booked individually)
  • Quarantine (you must not leave the place)
  • Already abroad
  • Various questions
     

I have booked a trip to a country for which a travel warning has been announced by the Foreign Ministry of Austria or has already been declared. The trip is to take place in the future.
 

- Package tour: It will depend on when the trip will take place. If the departure is imminent (about 1 week), we believe that it can be legally argued that according to the Austrian Foreign Ministry there is now an official travel warning and that one therefore wants to withdraw from the package tour contract free of charge. If the trip is more than 1 week away, it is legally unclear whether you can already withdraw from the contract free of charge. The further away the departure is, the less likely it is. Nevertheless, we recommend contacting the tour operator or possibly the travel agency to clarify whether an amicable solution can be found.

- Individual travel (I have only booked a hotel / flat / journey etc.): We recommend contacting the company and asking whether an amicable solution can be found here. These contracts are generally subject to the law of the country of travel. Part of the contract is only the accommodation or transportation and as long as the hotel is open or the transport connection is being operated, the company can fulfil its part of the contract.

We also recommend to argue with the already issued or announced travel warning by the Austrian Foreign Ministry. However, there is no clear legal claim for reimbursement. Whether there is a chance of reimbursement of costs on a case by case basis can ultimately only be decided by the courts.

 

- Individual travel (I have booked a flight only): It is important to clarify first whether the flight itself is still taking place. If not, you have the right to claim the costs back, as the airline cannot fulfil the contract as booked. If it is taking place as scheduled, we recommend contacting the airline or possibly the agent and asking whether an amicable solution can be found. As soon as you have not booked directly with the airline, many airlines refer you to the agent for all enquiries. This is very annoying but cannot be handled out of court.

Airlines have the possibility to choose a law in the general terms and conditions (e.g. the law of the country where the airline or the consumer has its headquarters). If no applicable law is agreed, the law of the country where the consumer has his habitual residence applies in principle, if the departure or destination is also located there. If this is also not the case, the law of the country where the airline has its company headquarters applies. Part of the contract is only the carriage itself - it is not part of the contract that I can enter or stay in the country. The airline has therefore not promised this service to me. As long as the airports themselves remain open, the airlines can fulfil their part of the contract. Austria has issued an official travel warning and we recommend to argue with it. From a legal point of view, however, it is unclear whether this argument can be used to terminate the contract free of charge. If the airline is not prepared to reimburse the costs, we do not see any chance to enforce this out of court (this will have to be clarified by a court). One has at least the right to be reimbursed for a part of the taxes & fees if the flight takes place and one does not make use of it.
 

- Individual trip (I have booked travel & accommodation separately): If it is not a package tour, what was said above about the two "individual trip" points applies



PACKAGE TRAVEL

  1. I had booked a package tour with a tour operator and paid a deposit. The local hotel confirmed that it was closed before my departure. The flights were cancelled by the airline. The tour operator nevertheless demanded a cancellation fee because I would not have made the final payment and was therefore in breach of contract. Do I have to pay the cancellation fee? As in your case the booked services could not be provided (closed hotel, cancelled flights) the tour operator is not allowed to charge a cancellation fee - if this was already known at the time of the final payment and you had not already cancelled yourself.
    A cancellation fee is to be regarded as flat-rate compensation. As long as the tour operator does not suffer any damage, a cancellation fee is therefore not permitted. You do not have to pay it and can demand the repayment of the deposit.
     
  2. I have booked hotel+flight/bus/train as a package tour. I am supposed to travel within the next 7 days. Can I cancel free of charge?
    a) Yes, if the destination is suddenly very badly affected by the virus, making it unreasonable to go there.

    b) Yes, if I am officially not allowed to enter the country or would have to go into immediate quarantine (for more information on this, see below).

    c) No, if the destination is not seriously affected.However, please ask if the tour operator will let you cancel or rebook your trip free of charge as a gesture of goodwill. Some tour operators are currently doing this.
     
  3. I have booked hotel+flight/bus/train as a package tour. I am supposed to travel in a few weeks/months. Can I cancel free of charge? If you cancel now, the organiser usually charges a cancellation fee. However, the earlier you cancel, the lower the cancellation fee. If it is unacceptably dangerous shortly before you arrive at your destination, or if the tour operator even cancels the trip on his own initiative, you would not have had to pay the cancellation fee if you had waited any longer. In these cases, you could have withdrawn free of charge and it is legally unclear whether you can then reclaim a cancellation fee that you have previously charged. Whether you can cancel free of charge also depends on the type of trip (party trip/music festival or family holiday) and cannot be answered conclusively due to the lack of current case law of the highest courts.

    a) According to the old legal situation, a free cancellation was only possible approximately one week before the start of the trip.

    b) According to the current legal situation, it depends on whether there is a considerable probability that the trip will be significantly impaired (no case law exists yet).

    c) If it is already clear that the trip definitely cannot take place, e.g. because a 1-month ban on entry has been imposed, you can already cancel free of charge.
     
  4. Do I have to accept a voucher after a free cancellation? No, if you had the right to cancel free of charge, then you are basically entitled to money. If it was goodwill, a voucher is fine. However, due to the Corona Pandemic, some countries have passed special laws that allow companies to offer vouchers - for example in Italy. It must therefore be checked in each individual case which law is applicable and what the legal situation is in the respective country. An additional problem is that these national laws on vouchers contradict the Package Travel Directive.
     
  5. I have made a deposit for my package tour / hotel booking. I am now uncertain whether my trip - which lies even further in the future - will take place and I doubt whether the company will be able to provide the service at all in this difficult situation. Do I have to pay the outstanding balance at all? It is usually agreed that customers pay a deposit of around 20% of the price and pay the balance shortly before departure to receive their travel documents. They have concluded a valid contract and must therefore always pay the balance until it is certain that the trip is not feasible. Check whether you will receive the travel documents immediately after payment. The law requires tour operators of package tours to have insurance against insolvency. Ask the travel company about this. If it becomes known after your booking and before you have paid the remaining amount that the financial circumstances of the travel company / hotel are at risk, you have the right to refuse payment - and thus the consideration - for the time being (plea of uncertainty according to § 1052 sentence 2 ABGB).
     
  6. I have a booked a hotel+flight/bus/train as a package tour. I am allowed to enter the country, but I have to go into quarantine for several days immediately. Can I cancel free of charge? Yes, the package tour cannot be carried out as booked. A quarantine of several days is a major change. The prerequisite is of course that the compulsory quarantine applies on the date of your planned arrival. If this is still unclear, you would have to wait or cancel at a charge.
     
  7. I have booked a package tour with sightseeing but they are all already closed. Can I cancel free of charge? Yes, the package tour cannot be taken as booked.
     
  8. I have booked a round trip or cruise. The route has to be changed because of the Corona virus. Do I have to accept this? If it is a significant change, no. Reply to the tour operator in writing within the set time limit that you do not accept the new route and that you are therefore withdrawing free of charge.
     
  9. I was on a package holiday abroad in March. The return flight was cancelled at short notice due to the Corona pandemic. The tour operator was unable to organise the early return trip. I then contacted the Austrian Embassy, which organised a return flight for which 200 euros per person had to be paid. Can I reclaim these costs? Yes. In the case of a package tour, the organiser is responsible for the return transport in such a case. In this case the Republic of Austria has, so to speak, only stepped in for this omission. You therefore have a claim for reimbursement against the tour operator.
     
  10. Our longer round trip abroad was interrupted after a few days because of the corona crisis. Now I am offered compensation of a few hundred euros as a voucher. Is that legal? One thing is clear: You do not have to accept a voucher, you are entitled to an aliquot refund of the travel price. If the amount seems to be too low, it would have to be checked if the offered amount is correct. In any case, the basis for calculation is the total price including flight. However, there is an exception for bookings in Italy. Due to national legislation, Italian companies are currently not required to refund money. Companies can choose to offer only a voucher instead of a refund.
     
  11. I would like to book an extremely favourable offer for a beach holiday for winter / spring. Is there anything to be said against it? The situation is generally quite uncertain regarding travel warnings, entry and exit regulations and quarantine orders. If you book a trip now, you are taking a certain risk. There is a strong case for booking at short notice in the coming months and always keeping a close eye on the cancellation conditions. Some tourism companies are relaxing the usual cancellation conditions and offering free cancellation options.
     
  12. I live in Austria, am an Austrian citizen and have booked a package tour with a German tour operator. 1 week before departure there is a travel warning for my holiday country according to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, but not according to the German Foreign Ministry - can I withdraw free of charge? We receive similar enquiries again and again, where e.g. German tour operators refuse a free withdrawal in such cases, arguing that the German government has not issued a travel warning. The tour operator is from Germany and therefore what the Foreign Ministry says about Germany should apply.

    Because you live in Austria, you are an Austrian citizen, you have booked from Austria and the organiser knew all these facts by giving your details when you booked, the organiser has to take the blame. We are of the legal opinion that the Austrian Foreign Ministry is responsible for your safety and that the organiser of the package tour must comply with what the Foreign Ministry of the country the consumer comes from says. In our opinion, in such cases it can therefore be argued under § 10(2) of the Package Travel Act that you wish to withdraw from the package tour free of charge.

     

TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT
 

  1. I have booked flights via an online flight booking platform. The airline has cancelled the flights due to the pandemic. I have been waiting for my money for months. The airline refers me to the travel agency, the travel agency refers me back to the airline, no payment is made... Is this allowed? According to article 8 of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, the airline must refund the cost of the flight to you within 7 days. Despite this short deadline, many consumers are still waiting for their money.

    If you have paid by credit card or an online payment service such as Paypal, we advise you to contact the credit card company/online payment service and request a refund of the flight costs. It is important that you enclose the booking confirmation, credit card statement, airline cancellation confirmation and your refund request to the airline. However, the rebooking of flight costs is subject to deadlines (usually 120 days from the date of service, booking on 20.3.2020, flight on 26.5.2020, 120 days from 26.5.2020). It is advisable to enquire with the respective credit card company about the complaint deadlines. The amount collected should then normally be refunded, as the airline as the payee has already confirmed that it cannot provide the service (flights). The request for reimbursement must be distinguished from additional insurance taken out via the credit card (travel cancellation insurance). Whether insurance claims exist here must be checked separately, but many insurance companies have written the coronavirus pandemic into their policies as a reason for exclusion from insurance cover.
     
  2. I have only booked a flight/train/bus ticket The transport company has now cancelled (=cancelled) on its own initiative. Will I get the money back or do I have to accept a voucher? Yes, you can claim back the money for the ticket price.

SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, airline (voucher instead of money offered) - booked on the website of the airline
 

SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, travel agency (voucher instead of money offered)- booked via booking platform or online travel agency
 

  1. I have only booked a flight/train/bus ticket. The route is still being operated, but I don't want to go there now because of the coronavirus. Can I cancel free of charge? This is more difficult than with a package tour, because the stay on site is not part of the contract. But be sure to check with the transport company whether you can cancel free of charge or get a voucher for a later trip/flight instead.
    If the destination is very badly affected by the virus, you can also try to argue that you would not have continued your trip straight away, but wanted to spend your holiday in that city. You can also argue that you find it unreasonable to leave the means of transport and that the basis of the contract has therefore been dropped. Certain taxes and fees are also refunded by an airline in the event of a cancellation with costs, although this is often very little. The German language sample letter for this would be here.
     
  2. I have only booked a flight ticket. I am not allowed to enter the country I was supposed to fly to (e.g. Israel, USA) or I cannot get a visa for this country (e.g. India) because of the place of departure. Will I get the money back? This is currently still legally unclear. Can you prove that you would have stayed in the country where the flight is going? For example, do you already have a hotel booking or a return flight from there? Then tell the airline and try to argue that the basis of the contract has been dropped. Therefore you ask for a refund of the ticket price. Many airlines offer at least a free rebooking in such a case anyway. This means that you will receive a voucher and can use it for a later booking. Ask your airline for more information!
     
  3. I have only booked one flight ticket. I am allowed to enter the country where I was supposed to fly to, but because of the place of departure I have to go into quarantine for several days immediately. Do I get the money back? This is currently not legally clear, as the flight itself could be operated by the airline. Ask the airline whether they at least offer you a free rebooking. This means that you will receive a voucher and can use it for a later booking. Certain taxes and fees are also refunded by an airline in the event of a chargeable cancellation, although this is often very little. The German language sample letter for this would be here.
     
  4. My paid flight was cancelled by the airline and I asked for a refund of my fare but the airline only promised me a voucher instead of a refund. Do I have to accept the voucher? Some European countries have temporarily enacted legislation that weakens the rights of passengers under Article 8 of the EU regulation on air passenger rights and allows vouchers instead of a refund in the event of cancellation. In our view and in the view of the EU Commission, this is in breach of existing EU law. You can refuse the voucher and claim back the ticket price in cash.

    SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, airline (voucher offered instead of money) - even booked through airline website

    SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, travel agency (voucher instead of money offered)- booked via booking platform or online travel agency

     

INDIVIDUAL JOURNEY ACCOMMODATION

  1. I have only booked accommodation (hotel, flat) I am supposed to travel within the next 7 days, but I do not want to travel due to the acute danger situation on site. Can I cancel free of charge? That depends on the law of the country where the hotel is located. In Austria, for example, it is regulated in such a way that the contract is cancelled if it is dangerous on site. You do not owe a cancellation fee, a deposit will be returned to you.

    SAMPLE LETTER Danger at the holiday location, hotel, cancellation
     
  2. I have only booked accommodation (hotel, flat) I have to travel within the next 7 days. But the accommodation is not available at all, because I am not allowed to enter this place where the hotel is located. Can I cancel free of charge? That depends on the law of the country where the hotel is located. In Austria and Italy it is regulated in such a way that the contract falls apart. You do not owe a cancellation fee, a deposit will be returned to you.
     
  3. I have only booked accommodation (hotel, flat) I am supposed to leave in a few weeks/months. Can I cancel free of charge? Check the booking conditions. Many hotels can be cancelled free of charge or at low cost anyway until shortly before arrival. If this is not the case with your booking, you will have to wait and see how things develop. Shortly before (approx. 1 week) there may be a free right of cancellation under certain circumstances. This depends on the law of the country where the hotel is located.
     
  4. I have only booked accommodation (hotel, flat) At the destination all sights, restaurants and shops are closed / may only be on the street if absolutely necessary / may not enter / may enter but it is further away and there are no flights to it. Can I cancel free of charge? That depends on the law of the country where the hotel is located. In many countries the above mentioned points do not lead to a free right of cancellation if the hotel is open. Wait and see how the situation develops, the hotel may have to close. Or try to negotiate a voucher for a later stay based on the above points.
     
  5. I have only booked accommodation (hotel, flat) It is already certain that the hotel will be closed at the time of my planned stay. Can I cancel free of charge? If the hotel operator cannot fulfil his part of the contract and cannot offer the room as agreed, you have the right within the EU, Norway and Iceland to cancel the contract free of charge and reclaim any money already paid. In the wake of the Corona pandemic, some countries have passed their own laws allowing hotels to offer vouchers. In this case, it is always necessary to check which law applies in each individual case.
     
  6. My family has booked an apartment abroad. The flight there has been cancelled; we don't know at the moment if and how we will get to our destination. We have paid a deposit. Can we cancel? If the flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund of the ticket price. As far as the flat is concerned, the national law of the country of accommodation applies if no package tour was booked.
    The possibility of a free cancellation must be checked in each individual case. However, as long as the hotel is allowed to be open and is open, the hotel is able to fulfil its part of the contract. Travel to the hotel was not part of the contract if no package tour was booked. We therefore advise you to contact the landlord directly and clarify whether an amicable solution can be found.
     
  7. I have booked a hotel through a booking platform and made a deposit. The hotel has now closed and cannot fulfil its part of the contract. I was referred to the agent for a refund, and I was left hanging. Who is really responsible? The contract for the room rental is usually made directly with the hotel. If you have not booked directly with the hotel, you will be referred to the agent for refund requests. This is very annoying, but cannot be changed out of court if the hotel blocks.

     

QUARANTINE

  1. I live in Vienna and have booked a package tour to Switzerland. Travellers from the region of Vienna are subject to a quarantine obligation when entering Switzerland. Can I cancel the package tour free of charge? The Federal Office of Public Health in Switzerland keeps an updated list of affected areas or countries with an increased risk of infection. For example, the Federal State of Vienna was also listed as a risk area on 14.9.2020. This means that if you are coming from Vienna, you must enter compulsory quarantine 10 days after entering the country. A negative test result does neither lift the quarantine obligation nor shorten the duration of the quarantine. The performance of the package tour is thus considerably impaired by the quarantine lasting several days. You can cancel the package tour free of charge. The prerequisite is, of course, that the compulsory quarantine is still valid on the date of your planned arrival.

     
  2. I live in Vienna and have booked a hotel in Berlin. Germany has issued a travel warning for travellers from the region of Vienna. I must show a negative COVID-19 test on entry, otherwise I will be in quarantine. Can I cancel the hotel free of charge? In this case a free cancellation is not possible. The entry modalities are not part of the contract for individual travel. However, please check the booking conditions. Many hotels can be cancelled free of charge or at low cost until shortly before arrival. If this is not possible, you can try to reach an amicable agreement with the accommodation provider (e.g. rebooking to a later date).
     
  3. I am coming to Austria soon from a country with a level 6 travel warning because of corona or from a level 5 area. Do I have to be in quarantine?

    - If you have a health certificate on which a doctor confirms a negative PCR test result and the test was not more than 72 hours ago, then no. You can obtain the form for this from the Ministry of Health website.

    - If you do not have such a certificate with a negative PCR test, you can still enter the country. However, you must have the test done within 48 hours and be placed in self-monitored home quarantine until the test results are available. The authorities will require a confirmation of accommodation. The costs of the test and any necessary accommodation must be paid for by the patient. Failure to comply with the quarantine rules will result in a fine of 1450€.  If you are arriving via Vienna Airport, for example, a test at the Vienna Airport Health Center is possible daily between 7 and 20 a.m. and costs 120€. If the test result is negative, the quarantine can be terminated. Details of the procedure and rules of quarantine can be found here.
     
  4. I am afraid of being quarantined at the holiday resort. I don't want to spend the whole holiday locked up in a hotel or on a cruise ship. Can I cancel free of charge? This will depend on the individual case and the current situation in the destination country. It is also important to distinguish between individual and package tours, as different legal situations apply to both.
    However, if it is just speculation and you are simply worried about being put in quarantine (without any evidence of this), it will usually not be enough for a free withdrawal.
     
  5. Who pays for the extra hotel nights if I am quarantined at my holiday destination? This depends on whether I have an individual or package tour contract and also on the law of the country where this happens. In some countries, the respective state covers the costs, at least partially. If necessary, state on the invoice "payment subject to legal clarification and recovery".
     
  6. At my holiday resort it is relatively quiet at the moment, but maybe the rules will change while i am there. I am worried that I will have to go into quarantine at home afterwards. Can I cancel free of charge? No.
     
  7. I would like to travel to a certain country or region, or return to Austria from these areas. Where can I find the latest information on travel restrictions? The Foreign Ministry provides information in German language on the current situation in the respective countries on its website.

    Furthermore, the Austrian automobile touring club ÖAMTC keeps this German language information page up to date; the regulations are subject to constant change.

  ALREADY ABROAD

  1. I am in a country for which the Austrian Foreign Ministry will issue a travel warning and the Ministry of Health will classify me as a risk country in the entry regulation as of a date already known. What does this mean for me?
    It is recommended by the authorities to return to Austria and to refrain from travelling to this country in the near future. On that date, a mandatory presentation of a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) on entry into Austria will apply. Otherwise, this test must be made up for within 48 hours in the country and the person concerned must independently go into quarantine until the test result is available.
     
  2. I am now on the spot in a country for which the travel warning of the Austrian Foreign Ministry has been issued and am therefore planning to discontinue my trip - what rights do I have?

    - Package tour: We recommend contacting the tour operator or possibly the travel agency and explaining that you wish to abort your trip due to the travel warning and return to Austria earlier. In our legal opinion, it is the tour operator's responsibility to take care of this and not to incur any additional costs for the travellers. If the trip cannot be completed as originally planned, it is possible that part of the costs may be reimbursed. However, this must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

    - Individual travel (I only have a hotel / flat): We recommend contacting the company and asking whether an amicable solution can be found. These contracts are generally subject to the law of the country of travel. Part of the contract is only the accommodation and as long as the hotel is and remains open, the company can fulfil its part of the contract.

    We also recommend to argue with the already issued or announced travel warning by the Austrian Foreign Ministry. However, there is no clear legal claim for reimbursement. Whether there is a chance of reimbursement of costs on a case by case basis can ultimately only be decided by the courts.

    - Individual travel (I have only booked a flight): We recommend contacting the airline or possibly the agent and asking whether an amicable solution can be found here. As soon as you have not booked directly with the airline, many airlines refer you to the agent for all enquiries. This is very annoying but cannot be changed out of court.

    Airlines have the possibility to choose a law in the general terms and conditions (e.g. the law of the country where the airline or the consumer has its seat). If no applicable law is agreed, the law of the country where the consumer has his habitual residence applies in principle, if the departure or destination is also located there. If this is also not the case, the law of the country where the airline has its habitual residence applies. Part of the contract is only the carriage itself - it is not part of the contract that I can enter or stay in the country. The airline has therefore not promised me this. As long as the airports themselves are and remain open, the airlines can fulfil their part of the contract. Austria has now issued an official travel warning and we recommend to argue with it. From a legal point of view, however, it is unclear whether this argument can be used to terminate the rest of the contract free of charge. If the airline is therefore not willing to rebook a free of charge flight to an earlier flight or to reimburse the original flight free of charge, we do not see any chance to enforce this out of court (this will have to be clarified by a court). One has at least the right to be reimbursed for a part of the taxes & fees if the flight takes place and one does not make use of it.

    - Individual travel (I have booked travel & accommodation separately): If it is not a package tour, what was said above about the two "individual travel" points applies.
     
  3. I am in a country that has a level 6 travel warning because of the coronavirus and I want to return to Austria. Can I be banned from doing so? Do I have to go into quarantine? Austrian citizens and persons who have their residence in Austria are not prohibited from entering Austria. For further information, we recommend visiting the websites of the Foreign Ministry or the Ministry of Health.
     
  4. I am already abroad and had booked a package tour. Because of the coronavirus I now want to go home earlier. Can I do that? Who bears the costs? If there is suddenly a high risk on site, the organiser should bear the costs of a return journey. In our opinion, you also have the right to cancel the trip prematurely. Ask the travel agency, the tour operator or their local tour guide to organise an earlier return trip for you free of charge. It is best to do this in writing, setting a deadline and informing them that you will be forced to arrange your own return transport, for which you reserve the right to claim compensation if the company does not do this in time.
     
  5. I am abroad, who do I contact in general with questions or problems? If you need help abroad because of the coronavirus, you should contact the competent Austrian embassy. On the Embassy's website you will also find the respective 24-hour on-call number. The embassy's medical officer is responsible for medical assistance (also available on the website). The app of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs contains all contact details for all Austrian At the headquarters in Vienna, the Citizens' Service is responsible. Austrians living abroad should always contact the respective embassy first, however. The Citizens' Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs provides support in emergencies abroad around the clock every day by calling +43 190 115 – 4411
     
  6. I am already abroad. Will I get my money back from the transport company because of the return trip cancelled by the company or do I have to accept a voucher? You will get your money back if the airline or the rail, bus or shipping company cancelled the return journey on its own initiative.

SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, airline (voucher offered instead of money) - booked on the airline's website

SAMPLE LETTER Cancellation, ticket refund, travel agency (voucher instead of money offered)- booked via booking platform or online travel agency

 

VARIOUS QUESTIONS

  1. How dangerous is the corona virus? How can I protect myself? Please contact the AGES for these questions. Infoline Coronavirus for health issues: 0800 555 621
     
  2. Where can I get tested and who pays for it?  Your doctor decides whether a test is useful. In case of symptoms, stay in areas of high prevalence and contact with SARS2-CoV2 infected persons, the state pays the costs of the test. If you fear you might be ill, stay at home and call 1450.
     
  3. Is a travel warning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mandatory for a free cancellation? No. According to previous rulings of the Supreme Court of Austria, it is sufficient that, according to serious media reports, the imminent start of the journey is unreasonable. However, when this is fulfilled repeatedly leads to differences of opinion. An official travel warning often spares one the discussion whether it is dangerous or not at the holiday destination.
     
  4. How do I know if there is a travel warning for my holiday destination? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website provides information on each country. Security level 6 means a travel warning for the whole country and level 5 means a travel warning for a certain region. So check how far your holiday destination is from this region. Anything below level 5 is not an official travel warning.
     
  5. The airline cancels the flight on its own initiative / the hotel is closed and cannot offer accommodation / the tour operator cannot provide the package tour - when I asked for my money back, the company withheld a handling fee. Are they allowed to do that? In our opinion, a handling fee can only be a certain kind of expense allowance if you want to make changes to the original contract itself and the company has additional work that is not part of the contract and is not legally required to be done free of charge. However, if the contract cannot be performed at all because the airline does not fly, the hotel is closed or the package tour is not carried out, the respective companies are not allowed to retain any processing fee for this in our opinion. We also see the same thing with agents of the respective services. Since the respective service providers terminate the contract, you are entitled to the money already paid for again and, in our opinion, without any deductions.
     
  6. I have taken out cancellation insurance. Does this help me if I do not want to travel, for example because I am worried about catching the corona virus at my destination?  No, a cancellation insurance policy would normally only cover cancellation costs if you suddenly become seriously ill at home, a close relative dies, your house burns down, etc. (see insurance conditions). To be on the safe side, check your specific insurance conditions.
     
  7. I have bought tickets for an event (sports, music, theatre, etc.) This has now been cancelled. Can I get my money back? That depends on the law of the country where the match, concert etc. should have taken place.

For events in Austria, a new law (Kunst-, Kultur- und Sportsicherungsgesetz - KuKuSpoSiG) now gives the possibility to partially issue a voucher instead of refunding the money in full. This applies to all events in the field of art, culture and sports that could not take place after 13 March 2020 due to the corona pandemic. However, events organised by the federal government, the state or a municipality are excluded. Alternatively, consumers can still accept an alternative date for the event if they agree to it.

The voucher is not bound by name and can therefore be passed on to any person. The consumer must not incur any costs when the voucher is issued. If the voucher is not redeemed by 31.12.2022, the organiser must refund the amount in cash at the consumer's request.

The amount of the ticket price determines how the reimbursement is made in each individual case:
 

a) Up to € 70,- the organiser can issue a voucher
 

b) Between € 70 - 250,- a consumer has the right to receive the corresponding amount in cash
 

c) All amounts over € 250,- may be reissued in vouchers by the organiser
 

So if a ticket has cost € 280,- in total, I will receive a voucher of € 100,- and € 180,- as a replacement. If the cancelled event was part of a subscription (e.g. a football subscription), the consumer can also request that the fee to be refunded be offset against the subsequent subscription instead of the voucher.
 

  1. I bought tickets for an event in Germany and would have organised my trip there especially for this event. The organiser refers to the German Covid-19 legislation and only wants to refund me a voucher. Can I insist on a payment of the voucher?

Yes, there is an exception in this German "Law to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in event contract law" (see point 7 of the German FAQ). If you would have to travel from Austria extra and pay extra for overnight stays, we believe that the "personally unacceptable living conditions" mentioned in the law due to high unavoidable costs apply to a catch-up date and you are therefore entitled to money instead of a voucher.

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