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Can I cancel my Italian train tickets because of coronavirus?

Here's what you need to know if you have train tickets booked with an Italian rail company for travel before April 3.

Can I cancel my Italian train tickets because of coronavirus?
A passenger at Milan's central train station. Photo. AFP

This week we've been trying to answer readers' questions about how everyday life in Italy, as well as travel, is affected by the nationwide quarantine measures brought in by the government this week, in place until April 3.

We've answered your most urgent questions about how th affects everyday life here.

Another important question we've had is about whether you can now cancel your train tickets and get a refund.

Here's a full explanation of what you need to do if you're trying to change or cancel a trip.

If you've got tickets booked for a journey on Italy's rail network before April 3, you're likely to want to cancel or change your journey.

Though most trains, and other forms of public transportation, are still running they are on a reduced schedule, and you may of course not be able to travel unless your reason for doing so is urgent and unavoidable.

Photo: AFP

Passengers may be subject to police checks before boarding and will need to complete a form declaring their reasons for travelling. Accepted reasons include urgent, proven work commitments and health reasons, such as a medical appointment.

Here's the new form and everything you need to know about it. As well as for travel, everyone in Italy is now required to carry one of these whenever they leave the house.

Train companies have also stated that their passenger loungers at larger stations have been closed and there will be no refreshments served on board trains.

So can you change your train ticket or get a refund?

The short answer is yes, you should be able to – but there are some restrictions, depending on which train company you're using, where you're going, and when you booked.

If you're travelling with Trenitalia, the national rail operator which runs local services (including intercity, regionale and regionale veloce trains) as well as the high speed Frecciarossa (and Frecciabianca, Frecciargento) services, click here for full information.

Most high-speed Frecciarossa trains have been cancelled from Friday March 13. Some services are still running – check the website for full details here.

Trenitalia has stated that customers who purchased a ticket for Frecce, Intercity, Intercity Notte and Regionale before 23 February 2020 can be refunded in full, regardless of ticket type. The tickets will be refunding via an electronic voucher “equal to the value of the ticket purchased, usable within one year from the date of issue.”

For regional transport tickets, the refund will need to be made in cash.

To manage your booking, you'll need to log in to your customer account on the Trenitalia website or call the assistance number on 892020

For anyone still travelling on the remaining services, the booking system has been changed to ensure passengers sit at the recommended distance from each other (at least one metre apart), and the company said hand sanitiser dispensers were being placed on board

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If you're travelling with Italo, Italy's other high-speed rail service, you should also be able to change your ticket but the rules (here in Italian) are slightly different.

Customers need to request a refund via phone, email, or the Italo website, which the company states will be processed within 30 days.

“Tickets purchased before March 2, 2020 are refundable for travel to and from Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, while tickets purchased by March 9, 2020 can be refunded for travel to and from any other area of ​​the national territory.”

“Before the departure time, the customer may request a full refund of the ticket.”

Refunds will be issued in the form of a voucher, it states, “that can be used for new ticket purchases relating to travel within one year of issue.”

To request a refund from Italo, call the contact number 060708 or email [email protected]

If emailing, put your ticket code (and no other words or characters) in the subject line.

“In case of requests for multiple trips, it is necessary to send a separate email for each ticket code”, the rules state.

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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