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Greek Consumers Group Issues Guidelines for Canceled Trips Due to Covid-19 Lockdown

The Greek government’s decision for Greece to enter a second lockdown as of November 7 to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, has affected the ability of people to travel as well as the plans of consumers who had already booked tickets.

The Union for Working Consumers of Greece – EEKE, which aims to improve the actual standard of living and the quality of life of the consumer, has issued guidelines informing ticket holders about their rights and options in case they cannot go on a planned trip by air, rail, ship or bus/coach due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

1. Travel by KTEL bus

Consumers that have booked a seat on an intercity KTEL bus are entitled to a 70 percent refund on the ticket price if they cancel their trip at least 8 hours prior to departure.

They will receive a 50 percent refund if cancelation is made less than 8 hours before departure.

Furthermore, their tickets can be changed to a later date – free of charge – or transferred to a third party.

2. Travel by ferry

Travelers are entitled to a full refund for ferry tickets plus third-party deductions and VAT, regardless of the time they notify the company, in case a force majeure event (for example a health issue – in this case written documentation must be submitted) prevents them from traveling at the scheduled date and time.

According to EEKE, the Covid-19 travel ban is considered a force majeure event.

In any other case, the consumer is entitled to:

a) A refund of at least a 50 percent, including third-party deductions and VAT, in case the ticket is returned up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure.

b) A refund of at least 75 percent of the fare price, including third-party deductions and VAT, if the ticket is returned up to 7 days before departure.

c) A full refund, including third-party deductions and VAT, if the ticket is returned up to 14 days before the scheduled departure.

Consumers can also amend their tickets for the same or another trip – if seats are available – up to 48 hours before the ship’s scheduled departure.

3. Air travel

During Greece’s second lockdown, international flights will operate normally but with certain restrictions, according to the latest health and safety measures. Domestic routes will serve only emergency cases including return to permanent residence, family reunification, professional and health reasons. See here for further information.

The terms for ticket changes and cancelations vary and are in accordance to the fare and travel class.

Many airlines offer passengers the option to either keep their tickets and travel to the same destination at a later time (usually after 12 – 24 months) or exchange the ticket for a travel voucher at no extra cost.

There is a charge for refundable tickets on domestic and international flights. The consumer must immediately inform the airline that a booked trip can not take place due to the lockdown restrictions – which is considered a force majeure event – in order to claim a full refund.

In case a flight is canceled due to travel restrictions the following apply:

-Requests for a ticket refund – if foreseen by union or national legislation – are met with a voucher that is equal to the price of the canceled air ticket.

-The voucher is issued by the carrier and is valid for 18 months. During that time, the ticket holder can use it at any time for any destination of the carrier’s network.

-Up until the voucher’s expiration date, the debt is not overdue and collectible. It becomes overdue and collectible, when the 18-month period expires and the voucher has not been used.

4. Railway tickets

The following apply for the cancellation of tickets of the RCT2 rail ticket format, issued by TRAINOSE’s ticket sale points:

(i) A travel coupon equal to the nominal value of the original ticket is issued up to 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure. It is valid for one year and one trip (if the value of the new ticket is lower compared to the value of the coupon, the difference is not refundable).

(ii) A travel coupon equal to 80 percent of the nominal value of the original ticket is issued from 48 hours to two hours prior to the scheduled departure. It is valid for one year and one trip (if the value of the new ticket is lower compared to the value of the coupon, the difference is not refundable).

(iii) A travel coupon equal to 50 percent of the nominal value of the original ticket is issued less than two hours before the scheduled departure. It is valid for one year and one trip (if the value of the new ticket is lower compared to the value of the coupon, the difference is not refundable).

The following apply for the cancellation of tickets issued online – through tickets.trainose.gr – or a mobile phone application:

(i) Passengers are entitled to a refund equal to the nominal value of the original ticket up to 48 hours before the scheduled departure.

(ii) Passengers are entitled to a refund equal to 80 percent of the nominal value of the original ticket from 48 hours to two hours before the scheduled departure.

(iii) Passengers are entitled to a refund equal to 50 percent of the nominal value of the original ticket from 2-1 hour before the scheduled departure.

(iv) No refund is possible when the one-hour deadline (until departure) expires.

Press here to read EEKE’s announcement in Greek.

To contact EEKE, press here.

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This is the team byline for GTP. The copyrights for these articles are owned by GTP. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner.

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