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Corona test obligation for air travelers: do I have to take care of it myself? – News abroad

Berlin – Of the Corona test before the return trip by plane to Germany is compulsory from Monday, March 29th. What does the quick decision mean for vacationers?

What travelers need to know:

Which corona tests are recognized?

According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the admissibility of the tests is based on a list kept and published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Methods such as PCR, LAMP and TMA are recognized, but also antigen tests that meet certain minimum criteria.

Do I have to take care of the test myself?

Basically yes, but there is support. Airlines and tour operators are working flat out on the corresponding logistics in order to offer travelers additional test options before their return flight, announced the German Travel Association (DRV).

Tui spokesman Aage Dünhaupt confirmed: “We organize the tests and give our customers assistance.” On Mallorca, the guests in the hotels would be tested. “If someone tests positive, he doesn’t even take the bus to the airport.” There are also agreements with clinics on the island that offer tests. They also want to relieve the airport in Palma. The organizers DER Touristik and FTI say they are also organizing the tests.

The airlines can also provide assistance. “We will not test ourselves, but will provide information on where test laboratories can be found on site. The customer has to take care of the test independently, ”said a Lufthansa spokeswoman on request.

However, the new test regulation does not only apply to Mallorca. Testing at long-distance travel destinations that are already open to tourism is more difficult, as can be heard from the travel industry. This applies to Cuba and the Maldives, for example.

In destination countries that are classified as high-risk and virus variant areas, travelers have to take a corona test before they return home anyway. FTI refers here, for example, to the emirate of Dubai, which is well booked over the Easter holidays.

The Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry warns: “Passengers do not have sufficient test capacities and test infrastructures at all global destinations.” “Otherwise passengers will be left abroad.”

One suggestion is that travelers should not be tested until they arrive in Germany.

Do I have to pay for the test myself?

As a rule, the traveler bears the costs. “The guests pay for the tests themselves,” said Tui spokesman Dünhaupt. In the hotels on Mallorca, the cost of the antigen test would be around 30 to 40 euros. FTI gives the costs on Mallorca at 30 euros. DER Touristik only bears the costs for the test if a customer has booked a flat-rate flight to Mallorca for the travel period from March 27 to April 30 between March 16 and 22.

Do I have to pay the quarantine costs if the test is positive?

According to travel lawyer Paul Degott from Hanover, a positive corona test at the holiday destination with all its consequences is a general risk to life. The same applies to a broken leg or any other illness. This means that the costs that arise from this must first be borne by the traveler.

The DRV confirms: If guests test positive before their return flight, the infection protection regulations of the respective country apply. “As a rule, the traveler bears the costs incurred for this himself.”

Many organizers offer special corona insurance for this case.

At Tui, for example, the travel insurance “Covid Protect” takes effect if the test is positive. This protection covers the costs of the quarantine stay in the hotel and the rebooking of the return trip. For all Tui customers, this insurance is automatically included in the travel price. DER Touristik offers a so-called Safe-Super-Carefree Package, which takes effect in the event of a positive Corona test. In the event of a quarantine, the organizer will cover costs of up to 3500 euros. In the case of FTI, the organizer has only covered costs in Turkey, but has now also been extended to some other countries – including the Canary Islands, Italy, Egypt and Morocco. Then the costs of accommodation and food in the event of quarantine will be covered.

What are the benefits of a travel health insurance abroad?

The International travel health insurance offers insurance cover for accidents and illnesses that occur during the trip, explains the Association of Private Health Insurance (PKV). It only reimburses the costs for treatments or medication that were not expected before the start of the journey. This also includes a Covid 19 illness while on vacation.

Travelers should carefully examine the benefits of their international travel health insurance in advance. If you are unsure, it makes sense to contact the insurance company directly.

Important: Most general insurance conditions exclude a benefit if there is a travel warning for the country. However, if travelers are already in a country for which a new travel warning is suddenly issued, this does not affect the insurance coverage.

If the return flight cannot be taken at the end of the trip due to a positive test, the insurance will not pay for a flight change. Transport back home is only covered if it is medically necessary or medically sensible. This will be checked in the event of a corona illness. If the medical necessity is recognizable, tariff benefits for the return transport are covered.

What if I tested false positive?

According to Tui, if the antigen test is positive, a PCR test will be added to be absolutely sure. It is therefore advisable to take the test as early as possible – although you have to stay in the time window of at least 48 hours before departure.

DER Touristik explains: If guests are tested at the airport and are positive, a PCR test is carried out. Organize this at the respective test station. “We transport our guests in a specially designed vehicle to the Covid Hotel.” A telephone support program with experts has been set up for this purpose.

Can I cancel the vacation free of charge because of the regulation?

Legally, this is new territory, so travelers cannot rely on it. In general, the following applies to package tours: Withdrawal without cancellation fees is possible if there are unavoidable, extraordinary circumstances that significantly affect the holiday. But is that also true in this case? “You can argue about that,” says Paul Degott. There are no court rulings on this yet. So vacationers run the risk of having to pay high cancellation fees if they cancel their package tour now.

Individual travelers have fewer rights anyway. The following applies to them: As long as the airline is operating the flight, the usual costs are incurred for the cancellation of the ticket – minus taxes and fees.

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