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I have flying plans for August 11th to September 3rd (my partner is only staying 10 days), and bought tickets from Dublin to Buenos Aires with Lufthansa, through Trip.com. Today it was announced that the Argentinean government will cancel all commercial flights until September 1st, this will be posted in the Official Bulletin sooner than later.

  1. Should I expect Lufthansa or Trip.com to contact me in light of this?
  2. Can I get a refund? If so, will the money go to Trip.com and then their refund policies applies? Is there a chance I may not get my money back?
  3. Would it be advisable to try to contact Lufthansa directly to reschedule, or would this mean I have to go through Trip.com for this?

I am a tad worried, since I've read some people have had some bad experiences with Trip.com (sadly, after I made my purchase through their webpage.)

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    Flying to Buenos Aires from where? – Relaxed Apr 26 at 17:18
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    @Relaxed Dublin, Ireland. – Pedro Tamaroff Apr 26 at 17:33
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    I edited it into your question. It was likely given the fact that you mentioned Lufthansa but it means EU 261 applies (in case that's relevant). – Relaxed Apr 26 at 17:36
  • As a side note, there’s nothing preventing the government from uncancelling the flights. There’s a possibility that the airline will wait until the last moment to actually cancel the flight. – Tim Apr 28 at 1:37
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Under EC261 rules, you are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels the flight.

However, currently most airlines are starved for cash, and are unable to meet their legal obligations. Most will at least try to convince you to take a voucher rather than get a refund. Some will (illegally) not even give you the option and only provide a voucher and no refund.

Even if the airline does not categorically reject the idea of a refund, your chances of getting it timely (by law, you should receive it within 7 days) are slim to none these days.

If you have any way to get the money back via your card issuer (notably if you paid with a credit card), you should most probably pursue that option, though the details vary a lot based on your country of residence and the specific card used. Debit cards usually offer much less protection in this case.

As you are travelling on an "incumbent" airline which will most probably be rescued by the government if needed, your best option is probably to take a voucher or reschedule to a much later date. For smaller non-state-backed airlines which are at risk of bankruptcy, a voucher may prove not to be worth more than the electrons it was emitted with.

Note that it your flight is part of a package (flight+hotel for instance), then the travel agent who sold it to you is required to be insured to be able to refund you. However, even in those cases, I'm not sure the guarantee funds are sufficient to cover all the refunds that would need to be made.

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    "Note that it your flight is part of a package (flight+hotel for instance), then the travel agent who sold it to you is required to be insured to be able to refund you". Very interesting: do you have a reference/source for this ? – Hilmar Apr 27 at 11:29
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    @Hilmar EU regulation requires travel agents to take out necessary insurances to refund/repatriate their customers in case of insolvency. europa.eu/youreurope/business/selling-in-eu/… But whether that applies to Trip.com I'm not sure. – zhantongz Apr 27 at 11:55
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Wait until the policy is official.

Should I expect Lufthansa or Trip.com to contact me in light of this?

On your Trip.com booking, you can check under [Booking details] then under [Cancellation details] for a trip cancellation. If no cancellation information is there you should wait until the flight is cancelled by Lufthansa.

Can I get a refund? If so, will the money go to Trip.com and then their refund policies applies? Is there a chance I may not get my money back?

The refund will have to be processed by Lufthansa. Lufthansa currently offers to re-book your flight if it is cancelled. Since Argentina has banned flights, you can re-book the flight and apply for a FlightVoucher worth €50, to qualify:

All customers with unused Lufthansa tickets issued prior to 19th April 2020 and with a travel date through 31st December 2020 are eligible for this offer. Rebooking and redemption of the discount must take place no later than 31st August 2020.

This can be applied for on the linked page.

Would it be advisable to try to contact Lufthansa directly to reschedule, or would this mean I have to go through Trip.com for this?

If you have a Lufthansa booking reference, there is no need to go through Trip.com (unless Trip.com says it can get you a refund and you want one)

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    If the Argentinian policy is not yet official, it's a bad idea for the customer to initiate canceling. – svavil Apr 26 at 20:21
  • @svavil I meant to add when the policy is official – Daniil Apr 26 at 20:36
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    It is often worth waiting until the airline makes the cancellation (rather than the passenger initiating the cancellation) if you're trying to get a refund – Midavalo Apr 26 at 21:51
  • @Midavalo yes it is – Daniil Apr 26 at 22:10
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    @Daniil Please edit your answer to make it clear OP (or anyone else in the same situation) should NOT cancel the ticket until the flight shows as cancelled, as the rules are completely different in the two cases. – jcaron Apr 26 at 22:36

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