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At this time and at certain ages, the end-of-year trip was a great incentive for the students and a great effort for the families, which is now in danger of not being carried out. In this article we discuss your claim.

Thousands are the end of school year trips that will not be made this year. About to end this atypical school period, the reward for the effort made will be frustrated, and Rome, the Canary Islands, the United Kingdom will not be visited ... since the skies are closed and the hotels have not been able to open their doors normally.

What other years would have been a simple claim, by presuming the solvency of airlines and hotels, today becomes an odyssey with a dubious end, at least until specific aid for the sector is regulated, which is the subject of a recent recommendation of the Council of the European Union.

Combined trip

By definition, an end-of-course trip is, undoubtedly, a combined trip of those provided for in article 151 of RD 1/2007, of November 16, which approves the consolidated text of the General Law for Defense of Consumers and Users, and therefore article 160.2 of the same regulation that provides the right to terminate the contract without penalty and to obtain a full refund.

This article says: “when unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occur at the destination or in the immediate vicinity that significantly affect the execution of the combined trip or the transportation of passengers to the destination, the traveler will have the right to terminate the contract before the beginning of it without paying any penalty. In this case, the traveler will be entitled to a full refund of any payment made, but not to additional compensation. ”

This article, added to the system of guarantees articulated around the travel agencies, could be used, in normal period, in the return of the money.

However, we are not in a normal period, and today the solvency of airlines and the hotels themselves is seriously compromised. The government being aware of this, a few weeks ago and shortly after the crisis began, it approved RDl 11/2020, of March 31, which adopts urgent complementary measures in the social and economic field to deal with COVID- 19.

Such rule already modified the way of reimbursement of this type of travel, which could preferably be replaced by a voucher for another later date, duly guaranteed.

What if my trip has been canceled?

In the case of the provision of services that include various providers, such as package tours, the consumer or user may choose to request a refund or make use of the voucher, with sufficient financial support, which will be provided by the organizer or, in its case, the retailer. Said voucher may be used within one year from the conclusion of the state of alarm and in the event that it is not used during that period, the consumer may exercise the right of reimbursement.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the organizer, or where appropriate the retailer, must proceed to make a refund to consumers and users in the event that they request the termination of the contract, in accordance with the provisions of section 2 of article 160 of the consolidated text of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws, provided that the service providers included in the package travel contract had fully returned the amount corresponding to their services.

If only some of the combined trip service providers make the return to the organizer or, where appropriate, to the retailer, or the amount returned by each of them is partial, the consumer or user will be entitled to the partial refund corresponding to the returns made, being discounted from the amount of the bonus delivered by the termination of the contract.

The organizer or, where appropriate, the retailer, will proceed to make the aforementioned refunds within a period not exceeding 60 days from the date of the termination of the contract or from that in which the service providers had proceeded with their return.

About bond guarantees.

On 19 March 2020, informal guidelines on the application of the Package Travel Directive in relation to COVID-19 were published on the Commission's website, confirming the traveler's right to a refund in full, but also indicating that the traveler can accept a voucher.

On May 13, the Council of the European Union issued a recommendation on this matter, given that the treasury situation of the airlines is very limited, and with the intention of not necessarily leading to their “bankruptcy” (Bankruptcy ).

This is Recommendation 2020/648 of the Commission of the European Union, of May 13, 2020, regarding the vouchers offered to passengers and travelers as an alternative to the reimbursement of package tours and transport services canceled in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which already warns of the risk, despite acknowledging the right to reimbursement, of not obtaining any refund if the operator declares bankruptcy.

For this reason, it recommends that the bonds be protected against the insolvency of the operator, with state aid if necessary, which would be considered to be in accordance with European regulations, thus leaving it to the governments to define this type of aid that will undoubtedly benefit to families, facilitating reimbursement or postponing the well-deserved end-of-course trip.

Since the trips have been canceled for reasons beyond the control of the travelers, THE TOUR OPERATORS INVOLVED ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE ANSWER AND THE AFFECTED PERSONS MAY DEMAND IT IN THE COURTS, if necessary, and to do so they can go to a specialized office in this type of matter. offer the necessary support.

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