BGH comments on travel cancellation in the event of a krone outbreak | Free press

Risk areas, entry bans, quarantine requirements: the pandemic has thwarted many vacation plans. Organizers and clients do not always agree on costs.


The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) may today deliver its first Corona judgment on travel law (9am). When the pandemic broke out, the plaintiff canceled an organized trip to Japan, which had to be canceled a little later anyway. Now the question is, does it still have to pay cancellation fees? However, it is not clear whether the judges in Karlsruhe will decide this themselves. It may also happen that they take a case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

This is what happened

The claimant booked a trip, which was to take place from 3 to 12 April 2020, for over 6,000 euros with the Munich tour operator. On March 1, he withdrew from his trip due to the deteriorating situation in Japan and paid 25 percent of the cancellation cost, nearly € 1,540, according to the contract. An entry ban was issued at the end of March.

In accordance with the law, the customer may cancel his reservation at any time. However, the tour operator is entitled to “reasonable compensation” – cancellation fees. There is only the right to withdraw free of charge “if unavoidable, extraordinary circumstances arise at the destination or in its immediate vicinity which significantly affect the implementation of the package or the transport of people to the destination”.

It counts

So far it has been debatable whether this is merely a question of the timing of the resignation or of further developments. Sometimes, depending on the court, the decision is one way or another. In this case, the Munich I District Court agreed with the organizer as there was no travel warning on March 1, 2020 and the situation could have eased. “There has been no significant infection process at this point in time,” the ruling reads.

At the hearing in BGH at the end of June, it turned out that the leading German civilian judges would not agree. However, there are uniform rules for package tours in the EU directive. As a result, you may need to obtain a decision from the Luxembourg ECJ first. (Az. X ZR 53/21)

Many tour operators now offer free rebooking or Corona cancellation under certain conditions. For so-called flexible fares, the option can be booked at an additional cost. Travelers who book flights and accommodation on their own are generally not as well protected as vacationers. The same rules do not apply to them. (dpa)

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