Coronavirus: What do I do if I had travel planned from Sweden?

The Local Sweden
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Coronavirus: What do I do if I had travel planned from Sweden?
Stockholm's Arlanda airport is much emptier than usual after widespread cancellations and official recommendations to avoid travel. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The fast spread of the coronavirus across the globe has caused huge disruption to travel plans, and in Sweden the Foreign Ministry has advised against all overseas travel. Here's what you need to know.


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Travel advice

The Swedish Foreign Ministry is currently advising against all non-essential travel overseas. This advice is in place until at least April 14th.

This follows previous advice not to travel to China's Hubei province, and to avoid all non-essential travel to other parts of mainland China, as well as to all of Iran, all of Italy, to the town Daegu and Gyeongbuk Province in South Korea, and to the federal state Tyrol in Austria. You can find the latest travel advice here.

It's worth noting that those earlier region-specific restrictions were due to the risk posed by the widespread outbreaks in those regions, while the general advice against overseas travel is more to do with the general uncertainty over the situation.

Many countries, including the US and New Zealand, have either introduced bans on flights and entry from certain countries or are requiring arrivals from overseas to be in quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Package holidays

Following the new Foreign Ministry advice, many travel operators including TUI, Apollo and Ving cancelled trips set to go ahead this spring, although they have promised to bring home Swedish residents currently abroad on holidays they're operating.

TUI's cancellations effect more than 50,000 travellers, while Ving's affect around a further 25,000. 

If you booked with a travel operator who has cancelled the trip, you should be given the chance to either get a full refund or re-book to a future date. That's the case even if you didn't book a refundable or flexible fare.

Independently-booked travel

If you booked your trip yourself, things may be a bit more complicated.

Many airlines, including SAS, have cancelled a lot of flights due both to the new Foreign Ministry advice and decreased demand for travel. If your flight has been cancelled, you should be given a full refund or the chance to rebook for a future date.

If your flight is still set to run, it's worth checking what the re-booking conditions are. SAS is one of many airlines which have introduced more generous policies around re-booking, meaning you could get the chance to re-book without the usual fees.

Airlines will not give you compensation for associated lost costs, such as accommodation, tours, or activities you had already paid for. Again, check the original conditions of your booking, but also look into whether the company you booked with has introduced special measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

When it comes to accommodation, different booking companies have taken different measures. Airbnb is one operator that has promised to give full refunds to all customers with cancelled travel plans, but other third-party sites may have different rules. 

If you can't get a refund from the company you booked with, check if your travel insurance policy will pay for your lost costs.


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Editor, The Local Sweden


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