Swiss travel agencies extend cancellation deadline for foreign trips

Three major tour operators in Switzerland have extended the cancellation of international travel until June 14th.

Tui Switzerland, Hotelplan, and Kuoni announced on Monday that they extended trip cancellation deadlines to June 14th because many foreign countries still don’t allow non-essential travelers.

All trips abroad booked until the end of August can be postponed free of charge. Customers can choose other dates and destinations until October 2021.

The June 14th cancellation date for foreign trips also applies to clients of Hotelplan’s subsidiaries, such as Globus Voyages, Travelhouse, Tourism For All, and Migros Holidays.

For some countries, such as Sweden, which permit non-essential travel from abroad, customers will be contacted to find out if they wish to continue their journey.

READ MORE: Calendar: When can Swiss residents travel abroad this summer? 

Cancelling bookings made before various governments imposed travel restrictions in mid-March has been a major headache for customers. It has been even more challenging for those who made the arrangements on their own, rather than booking through an agency.

Many are still waiting for the refunds of the cancelled flights, but that is turning out to be a lengthy process, as airlines are on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Most, like Switzerland’s flagship airline, SWISS, offer a flight voucher.

However, limited international travel is slowly picking up, with many European countries having already opened, or planning to open soon, their borders to foreign tourists.

And SWISS has announced that it is planning to resume some of its flights in June.


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What is the fine for not filling out Switzerland’s Covid arrival form?

There is one essential form all travellers to Switzerland must fill out, but many don’t. If caught, border guards will hand out fines.

A 100-franc fine could be imposed on those who don’t fill out the Personal Locator Form
Important paperwork: Switzerland-bound travellers must fill out the PLF form or risk getting fined. Photo by Zurich Airport

With constantly changing travel rules, it is difficult to keep up with all the regulations that need to be followed to enter Switzerland (and all the other countries, for that matter).

Since September 20th, everyone arriving in Switzerland, regardless of their country of origin, mode of transport, or vaccination status, must fill out the electronic Personal Location Form (PLF).

Once filled out and registered online, you will receive a QR code which you will have to show when entering Switzerland.

However, some people may be unaware of the requirement and enter the country without this form.

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Switzerland

Checks are done randomly, so many travellers slip in without having filled this form. But if caught, you will have to pay a 100-franc fine.

So far, 200 people had to pay this fine, according to Tamedia media group.

The only people exempted from this rule are transit passengers, long-haul lorry drivers transporting goods across borders,  children under 16, cross-border workers, and residents of border areas.

The PLF requirement is an addition to other travel regulations the Federal Council implemented in September:

Two tests to enter Switzerland are now required for the unvaccinated and unrecovered.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those who have not contracted and recovered from the virus in the past six months must show two negative tests. 

The first proof should be presented when arriving in Switzerland.  Then, four to seven days later, travellers will have to undergo another test, which they must pay for themselves.

Both PCR and antigen results are accepted.

These rules only apply to arrivals from nations not on the Switzerland’s high-risk list. As the United States and United Kingdom are considered high risk, only vaccinated people from those countries can arrive in Switzerland.

This article contains more information on the rules which apply. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and Covid certificate rules?