Apply for compensation under the Travel Guarantee Act
Have you purchased a trip and had it cancelled or interrupted because the travel operator cannot pay its debts (has become insolvent) or been declared bankrupt? If you have booked a package travel or what is known as a linked travel arrangement, you can apply for compensation. You can find out what the rules are here.
No compensation from the travel guarantee if a trip is cancelled because of the coronavirus
You are not entitled to any compensation from the travel guarantee if your trip has been cancelled because of the coronavirus or advice from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, even if the company is subsequently declared bankrupt.
Also read what rules apply when the Ministry for Foreign Affairs advises against travel to a particular country on the government’s website (in swedish), opens in a new window External link, opens in new window.
You are only entitled to compensation if you:
- booked a package travel or
- booked a linked travel arrangement and
- your trip has been cancelled or interrupted because the travel operator has become insolvent or been declared bankrupt.
The travel operator must also have arranged a travel guarantee that is sufficiently large to cover the requirements of all travellers. Although those who sell package travels or linked travel arrangements are legally obliged to arrange a travel guarantee, they do not always do so. You should therefore make sure that the travel operator has a travel guarantee before you book your trip.
Please note that you are not entitled to any compensation if:
- you only purchased flight tickets,
- flights were delayed,
- you are not satisfied with your trip and wish to make a complaint,
- your package travel has been cancelled for a reason other than the travel operator having become insolvent or been declared bankrupt,
- you cancel the trip yourself.
Also bear in mind that vouchers offered by travel operators to their customers in connection with cancelled trips instead of a cash refund are not covered by the travel company’s travel guarantee. If you have chosen a voucher instead of a refund, you should use it as soon as possible to book a new trip.
Apply as soon as possible, but no later than within three months of it having become clear that your trip will not be taking place.
For example, you should apply in cases where you have paid for the whole trip, but:
- find out that your flight tickets or hotels have not been paid for by the travel operator, and/or
- you do not receive your travel documents.
Find out more about travel guarantee
What is the travel guarantee?
The travel guarantee is there to protect those who have booked:
- a package travel or
- a linked travel arrangement.
The travel guarantee means that you are entitled to compensation if you are unable to complete all or part of your trip because the travel operator is insolvent or has been declared bankrupt.
For you to be entitled to compensation, the travel operator must have arranged a travel guarantee and it must be sufficiently large to cover the requirements of all travellers.
Although those who sell package travels or linked travel arrangements are obliged to arrange a travel guarantee, they do not always do so. You should therefore make sure that the travel operator has a travel guarantee before you book your trip.
What counts as a package trip?
A package travel lasts at least 24 hours or includes an overnight stay. Furthermore, at least two (2) of the following items must be included:
- Passenger transport, e.g. by air, train, bus or boat.
- Accommodation*, e.g. hotels or hostels.
- Car rental or motorcycle rental requiring a category A driving licence.
- A tourist service**, e.g. a spa, cookery course or ticket to an event.
A package travel does not always have to consist of transport and accommodation, but may, for example, consist of the following:
- hotel accommodation with a concert ticket only or
- flight ticket and car rental only (without accommodation), on the condition that the trip lasts longer than 24 hours.
If you make purchases from multiple travel operators with different websites, this can sometimes count as a package travel if your personal data and payment details are sent from the first website to the second, and you make your bookings within 24 hours.
* If, for example, you take a night train with a sleeping compartment, this is only counted as passenger transport if the purpose of the trip is that you shall simply travel from one place to another. If, on the other hand, the purpose is an experience-based trip, it is counted as both passenger transport and accommodation and is thereby a package travel.
** For example, breakfast or sauna in a hotel would not count as a tourist service but are included as part of the accommodation. A helicopter trip cannot be counted as both transport and tourist service.
What counts as a linked travel arrangement?
A linked travel arrangement* is when you purchase several different travel services relating to the same trip, but with separate agreements (from one or more companies). The precondition is that the first agreement in some way facilitates the other purchases.
One example would be if you have purchased a flight and are given a link to a car rental company or an offer to book hotel accommodation in connection with the purchase. If you purchased the other travel service (rented a car or booked a hotel) within 24 hours, it will count as a linked travel arrangement.
It is the first travel operator, the one that sells the flight and facilitates the other purchases, that is liable for arranging the travel guarantee for its part of the arrangement.
* This is not the same as a package holiday.
What am I entitled to compensation for?
This applies if you have booked a package travel
If your trip or part of it is cancelled because the travel operator has become insolvent or been declared bankrupt, you can claim compensation for those parts of the trip that you are unable to complete. For example, you can claim compensation for expenses you have incurred for registration fees and transport home.
This applies if you have booked a linked travel arrangement
You can only receive compensation for the travel services you purchased from the first travel operator. If you purchased multiple travel services via links on the first travel operator’s website, you cannot claim compensation for those services.
Example: You purchase a flight with a travel operator, and shortly thereafter you book a hotel with another travel operator via a link from the first travel operator’s website. In this case you can only claim compensation if the trip is cancelled because the first travel operator becomes insolvent. In this example, it means that you can only claim compensation for your flight ticket.
How do I know if my travel operator is insolvent?
Here are some indications that your travel operator may have become insolvent:
- you have not received your travel documents within the agreed time,
- you cannot make contact with your travel operator, despite several attempts,
- you find out that your flight tickets or hotel have not been paid for before departure,
- your travel operator asks you to pay for part of the trip one more time.
It is always the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet) who decides whether a trip has been cancelled or interrupted because of the travel operator being insolvent for another reason. We perform this assessment on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if the airline is declared bankrupt?
You should contact your travel operator directly if the airline is declared bankrupt and the flight is included in your package travel. The travel operator must arrange alternative transport.
Remember that you cannot claim compensation under the travel guarantee if you have only purchased a flight ticket.
What are the rules if I have a gift voucher or similar kind of voucher?
A gift voucher for a certain amount or a similar kind of voucher is not covered by the travel company’s travel guarantee. Vouchers offered by travel operators to their customers in connection with cancelled trips instead of a cash refund are also not covered by the travel company’s travel guarantee. If you do have a voucher, it should be used as soon as possible to book a new package travel. If the travel operator becomes insolvent or is declared bankrupt and the voucher has not been used to book a new package travel, the voucher may be worthless.
Are language courses and exchange studies covered by the travel guarantee?
Longer language courses and exchange studies are, as a rule, not covered by the travel guarantee. This is because they do not count as package travels. You are therefore unable to claim back your money under the travel guarantee if your trip is cancelled or interrupted because your travel operator has become insolvent.
On the other hand, shorter language courses, such as summer courses with accommodation, are counted as package travels and can entitle you to compensation if your trip is cancelled or interrupted because your tour operator has become insolvent.
More about the travel guarantee
When you want to book a trip, we recommend that you find out what your rights are as a traveller.
You can find all the information about your rights and what you need to consider before you travel abroad at The Swedish Consumer Agency’s “Hallå konsument!” service, opens in a new window External link, opens in new window.
If you are in dispute with your travel operator, you can report it to the National Board for Consumer Disputes (Allmänna reklamationsnämnden, ARN).
FAQ - travel guarantee
Because of the prevailing situation with a high number of cancelled trips, we at the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency are receiving an extremely high number of phone calls, emails and applications right now. This means that our processing times are longer than usual, but we are dealing with the cases as quickly as we can.
19 augusti 2020
Tips before you travel
Before you pay for the trip - check whether your travel operator has arranged the travel guarantee.