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Hong Kong protesters shut down the international airport: Are you covered?

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Written by: Emma Lunn
13/08/2019
Hong Kong International airport has been closed following a second day of protests, leaving thousands of travellers stranded.

Following another day of escalating tensions in Hong Kong, authorities have ordered the closure of the city’s airport. The airport has been the target of pro-democracy protesters and there have been violent clashes with police.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned that protests look likely to continue, with further trouble between protesters and law enforcement not ruled out.

Hong Kong is a major stopover and connecting gateway to South East Asia and passengers travelling to and from Hong Kong have been advised to check the airport’s website to confirm their flight status.

Scores of flights have been cancelled including Cathay Pacific services to Gatwick and Manchester, as well as long-haul flights to a number of European, US and Middle Eastern airports.

What are your rights if you’re in Hong Kong or have a trip planned?

Fiona Macrae, head of consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk, said: “Passengers who are currently stranded in Hong Kong do have the option to travel to another airport and book flights back to the UK. But it is yet to be confirmed if passengers will receive any compensation over the costs incurred by flying out of a different airport. Passengers also have the option of remaining in Hong Kong until the situation has calmed down and the airport is reopened.”

If your flight is cancelled, one option is to travel by train to Guangzhou and fly out from there. Shenzhen is another option – it’s just outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

For passengers due to fly with an EU airline there is some good news – you will be entitled to both meals and accommodation if your flight has been cancelled until the next flight becomes available, Your airline should arrange this for you.

But passengers that are not travelling with an EU airline will have to arrange as well as pay for meals and accommodation themselves.

“For those who still have a flight to Hong Kong but no longer wish to travel for safety reasons, they will need to speak directly to their airline. Terms and conditions vary between airlines however it is unlikely a refund or re-scheduling option will be granted,” says Macrae.

Those travellers who have booked their trip through a travel agent or tour operator, will need to speak to the company directly as they may be able to re-book the holiday.

If the FCO changes its advice on travelling to Hong Kong to a ‘Do Not Travel’ status, passengers will be entitled to a full refund for any costs of the holiday.

Will I be able to claim on my travel insurance if I decide not to travel to Hong Kong?

Unfortunately travel insurance is unlikely to cover you if you decide not to travel. However, if your policy covers civil unrest or cancellation for any cause and the area you are travelling is disrupted due to unrest you may be able to claim for cancellation.

Cover will differ between insurers, so always speak to your travel insurance company directly.

 

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