I am supposed to fly tomorrow on a domestic flight within the EU (Bulgaria). I have slight fever at the moment but feel otherwise OK.

However, I realised that tomorrow I am likely to be stopped at the temperature check at the airport.

What would happen to my ticket in that case? Am I allowed to rebook? Is there any EU regulation on this?

  • 77
    Do you know why you have a fever? If you do not know, the only responsible thing to do is to assume it may be covid (or some other communicable disease!) and get tested before you come into close contact with strangers, regardless of what local regulations may or may not permit you to get away with. I hope you don't have anything major and feel better soon, but take care of yourself and your community until you know for sure!
    – mlc
    Nov 5, 2020 at 20:42
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    @mlc +1. I support legal travel during the pandemic, but traveling with a fever is definitely not a good idea.
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 5, 2020 at 21:42
  • 4
    "domestic flight within the EU" - wouldn't a domestic flight mean a flight operating within Bulgaria? A flight between two countries within the EU would be international, wouldn't it?
    – Aaron F
    Nov 6, 2020 at 9:26
  • 28
    You might feel just about OK to travel, but what about the guy in the next row, rushing home to visit his sick mother… will she be alright? It is your responsibility to self-isolate. Don't risk other people's lives for selfish reasons. Your profile says you're from the UK, in which case it may not even be legal for you to fly right now - gov.uk/guidance/…
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 6, 2020 at 17:57
  • 9
    The thing that really, really bothers me about this is; someone intentionally intending to travel with symptoms, risking others not only on the plane & in another city, but also on the transport to the airport, in the airport & anywhere else they visit - not booking a test, not self-isolating [& indeed facing a fine of up to £10,000 for knowingly doing this] …& yet the question got [at least] 15 upvotes [mine is down but I don't have the rep to see all votes on this stack]. I don't know which bothers me most, but at least upvotes won't kill you.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 7, 2020 at 16:20

3 Answers 3


The question is indirectly touched upon in EU regulation No 261/2004 (the main regulation on compensation for missed or cancelled flights):

(j) "denied boarding" means a refusal to carry passengers on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2), except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation;

In other words: Airlines are allowed to deny boarding for health reasons without engaging the rules defined in the regulation (refund, assistance, compensation). Technically, that doesn't mean there isn't another rule somewhere else but clearly the intent of the EU legislator was to preserve the airlines' ability to deny boarding for health reasons. And if you are prevented from entering the airport by a third party, the airlines would simply consider you a “no-show“.

Two other things to note:

  • I don't know about the situation in Bulgaria but it is often recommended not to use public transportation or even leave your home at all if you have mild flu or cold symptoms and do not know whether it's Covid or not.
  • Many airlines and other transportation operators have enacted special rules to encourage people to book trips even when they are not sure they will be able to travel. It could be worth calling to see if they are prepared to make an exception to their usual terms and conditions.
  • 1
    It depends on the place but I think it might also be illegal to go to the airport while having the flu at the moment.
    – Kvothe
    Nov 6, 2020 at 11:21
  • If they refuse you boarding on health grounds, do they still have to refund you the ticket or would you have to make an insurance claim? Nov 6, 2020 at 12:44
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    @Crazymoomin No, they don't have to do it under regulation 261/2004, that's the meaning of the definition I quoted.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 6, 2020 at 14:50
  • @Relaxed fair enough, I thought you meant "compensation" as money additional to a ticket refund. Nov 6, 2020 at 18:06
  • @Crazymoomin Good point, I meant that the regulation didn't apply at all but it was phrase confusingly, I tried to clarify this.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 6, 2020 at 22:22

I know you didn't ask for this, but I'm going to do a frame challenge here and address the elephant in the room.

The Bulgarian government has posted multiple websites explaining the rules and regulations surrounding COVID in Bulgaria. These can be found at https://coronavirus.bg/ and https://www.mh.government.bg/bg/informaciya-za-grazhdani/informaciya-otnosno-noviya-koronavirus-2019-ncov/. While the latter site puts most of their information into Cyrillic-only PDF files with no Google Translate support (and as such doesn't allow me to quickly browse and search it), the former site does not explicitly ban people from moving with a fever (personal note: probably because it should be obvious to not travel with COVID symptoms).

Sofia Airport, on the other hand, explicitly mentions as their first bullet point:

Do not go to the airport if you have the following symptoms: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell;

Burgas Airport and Varna Airport:

Do not travel if you think you are ill!

Plovdiv airport:

Complete the Notification of Health status from your airline Don’t travel to the airport if you have been in any of the situation specified in the Notification of Health status

I cannot easily find this notification of health online, but it's likely that it mentions having a fever as one of the situations specified.

In case it's not obvious yet from these documents: most airports mention to not come to the airport if you are ill or have COVID symptoms.


Many airlines allows rebooking or refund of a ticked. They did this, to encourage passengers to book a flight on such period (where we never know about next lock-downs).

Note: airline websites have often the procedures on how to change/get refund in a prominent place, contrary to generalist booking website. Try there to get there information. In any case you should contact airline. Maybe try to avoid telling them about fever.

But you should check also what the local health authorities tell you about having fever. It may be illegal to go to airport with any kind of possible symptoms of CoVid, and this may be more expensive then the ticket.

  • 10
    It's certainly also in the airline's interest to offer a ticket change free of charge when a passenger volunteers that she or he has a fever or is otherwise unwell. Any airline that doesn't have such a policy in place is just asking for trouble because of the larger number of people who will conceal their illnesses and escape detection.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2020 at 21:11
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    @phoog that's only a problem for the airline if they get fined for it (don't think there are such fines) or if they manage to infect the attendants. Otherwise, it's in their interests to do fly you, no matter if you are ill or not. Actually, it's in their interests to NOT fly you even if you paid for the ticket if they can do so legally.
    – Dan M.
    Nov 6, 2020 at 16:21
  • 3
    @DanM.: A fine is not the only financial penalty. There's also the possibility of bad publicity that wipes out the operating income of a company that's already weak due to greatly diminished numbers of people flying (Which conveniently happens to mean that competitors have plenty of capacity to pick up the customers lost by a company which is negligent in looking out for its passengers' health and safety).
    – Ben Voigt
    Nov 6, 2020 at 23:08
  • @DanM. Seriously contributing to the worsening of a pandemic that's decimating their industry is most certainly a problem for the airline. Nov 7, 2020 at 22:48
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    @BenVoigt: In my country, there are many companies denying home office because "we are a big company and set a good example, so we need the people to work from the office" or telling employees to not test for covid when they have symptoms. Yet there is no bad publicity unfortunately..
    – guest
    Nov 7, 2020 at 23:14

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