Package holidaymakers can also be entitled to free cancellation if the journey would be possible without any problems, but it is completely uncertain how to get back home. This emerges from a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), which was published in Karlsruhe on Friday.
Before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the plaintiff had booked a one-week motorcycle tour through Morocco for March 2020. He organized the return flight separately. On the day of departure, he was informed by the airline that air traffic to and from Morocco was to be discontinued the next day. As a result, he and a fellow traveler decided to stay at home under the circumstances and texted the organizer. He refused to repay the travel price of 2335 euros.
According to the law, package holidaymakers can withdraw from their booking at any time. However, the organizer is entitled to "reasonable compensation". There is only a right to free withdrawal "if unavoidable, extraordinary circumstances occur at the destination or in its immediate vicinity that significantly affect the implementation of the package tour or the transport of people to the destination".
The law therefore only speaks of carriage "to the place of destination". According to the BGH, however, "it can also be important whether the traveler can assume that the return journey after the end of the travel period will also be possible without significant impairments". As a rule, it is not reasonable for a traveler "to travel to the destination if it is not certain how and when he can leave the destination after the journey has been completed".
The other side had argued that there might still have been ferry connections from Morocco to Europe. However, the BGH judges do not see how it should have been possible for the plaintiff to organize passage and onward travel in the short time before departure. They therefore leave it open whether the ferry would have been a reasonable alternative at all. So the organizer has to refund the money.