UK citizens’ consumer travel rights will remain the same from 1 January 2021.
If you are travelling by air, road, rail or sea commercial services, you will have the same rights if you are denied boarding, or suffer a cancellation or long delay.
Make sure you have travel insurance
You should have travel insurance before you go away.
You should understand the terms and conditions of your travel insurance and be happy with its cover for healthcare and travel disruption.
If you have already bought travel insurance, your insurer can let you know if there will be any changes to your policy from 1 January 2021, including if it is still valid in the case of disruption.
Contact your insurer if you have any questions.
Follow the travel insurance checklist
Booking your holiday with credit cards
Book travel and holidays with a credit card where possible as this should give you some protection if your travel firm goes bust. You may be able to get a refund for credit card payments between £100 and £30,000.
These rights will remain unchanged from 1 January 2021.
If you book your package holiday with an Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) member, your rights will be unaffected from 1 January 2021.
Holidays booked with ABTA members provide financial and legal protection and means the travel company is responsible for making sure passengers get the holiday they paid for.
If something isn’t provided or as expected, the company or its suppliers are responsible for resolving the issue by offering an alternative or providing a full or partial refund. In some cases, passengers may be able to claim compensation.
The UK Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (ATOL) scheme provides protection for travellers who book a holiday which includes a flight. Your rights will be unaffected from 1 January 2021.
If an ATOL licenced travel company collapses, it ensures that your money is protected and you can get home.
The majority of bookings made directly with airlines will not be covered by ATOL. Package sales made in the UK by travel businesses established in the European
Flying to the EU from the UK
Before you leave for the airport, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services from your airline.
Airport security screening
Flights will continue and you should not experience any difference in security screening.
Passengers flying from the UK will continue to transfer to onward flights at EU airports without extra security screening. This will also be the case at airports in Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.
There will be no impact to direct flights to non-EU countries.
Air passenger rights
Existing passenger rights will continue for air passengers flying from the UK.
For EU registered airlines, EU law will continue to apply for flights to and from the EU.
Assistance, compensation and protection will continue for:
- passengers subject to denied boarding, delay or cancellation
- passengers with reduced mobility
- insolvency of a travel provider
You should take out appropriate travel insurance, check and understand the terms and conditions of their booking.
Private and general aviation
UK issued private pilot licences will remain valid for use on UK registered aircraft including for flights in the EU.
However, if the operator of the aircraft is resident or established in the EU, an EU licence may be required in some EU countries.
Learn more about private pilots from 1 January 2021.
Travelling by Eurostar to the EU from the UK
Your rights as a rail passenger using either domestic or cross-border rail services will remain unchanged.
The EU regulation on rail passengers’ rights is now UK law. It will continue to protect passengers on cross-border rail services.
Before you leave, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services for Eurostar.
Travelling by Eurotunnel to the EU from the UK
Your rights as a passenger using Eurotunnel’s cross-border shuttle services will remain unchanged.
Passengers can continue to use Eurotunnel’s existing complaints procedure.
Before you leave, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services for Eurotunnel.
Travelling by bus or coach to the EU from the UK
The EU regulation on bus and coach passengers’ rights is now UK law. It will continue to protect passengers on cross-border bus and coach services.
Before you leave, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services for your bus or coach provider.
Travelling by sea to the EU from the UK
Passengers travelling to the EU by sea should not experience any difference in their journey.
The EU regulation on passengers’ rights is now UK law. It will continue to protect passengers on ferry services.
The EU regulation on maritime passengers’ rights is now UK law. It will continue to protect passengers who embark on a cruise at a UK port.
Before you leave, check online for the latest travel information and scheduled services for your ferry or cruise provider.
Passenger rights in regards to travelling will remain unchanged.
Learn more about passenger consumer rights when travelling to the EU from 1 January 2021.
Economic Area (EEA), will also not be covered. These bookings must be protected by the system in the company’s home country.
The protections you currently have when buying timeshares will stay the same if the contract is made under UK law.
If you enter into a contract in an EU country from 1 January 2021, your contract may be governed by the law of that country. The EU directive relating to timeshare will continue to apply across the EU. However, your protections could differ in each EU country depending on how that country extends protections to non-EU citizens.
You should make sure that you are provided with clear information and legal advice before you buy. EU law says that timeshare contracts must be written in the language of the consumer’s own EU country. As the UK will no longer be in the EU, you will not automatically receive the contract in English, but you can still ask for an English translation. You should not agree to any contracts that you do not understand.
Help and advice
Contact the UK European Consumer Centre for help with problems buying from an EU country. The UK ECC offers free advice and assistance to consumers who buy goods or services in an EU country (and Norway and Iceland) and experience a problem.