Travel: Ryanair CEO admits he 'doesn't understand' UK rules
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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a second announcement regarding the “traffic light” system tomorrow, with experts predicting the likes of the Balearic and Greek islands could be added to the green list. Though at the time of writing just 12 countries are on the quarantine-free green list, some airlines have already resumed flights and holidays.
Ahead of tomorrow’s potential green list expansion, what are the latest updates from easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, British Airways and TUI?
easyJet flew a limited number of flights throughout the pandemic to some destinations, though has since ramped up its offering.
The airline has also restarted package holidays under its own “traffic light” system which works in line with the Government’s advice.
Though some destinations remain off-limits to Britons under official Government advice, easyJet says it has already seen a boost in bookings to amber nations such as Spain.
When Portugal was added to the UK green list, easyJet added an extra 105,000 seats to the nation.
Should other holiday hotspots turn green, the orange-tipped carrier might once again do the same.
While the airline is operating some flights to amber destinations, it warns customers must adhere to testing and quarantine requirements.
Under its package holiday arm, easyJet holidays explains on its website that “holidays to ‘green’ destinations can go ahead, with a few steps to keep in mind” meanwhile “holidays to ‘amber’ destinations can go ahead if you’re happy to travel and follow the re-entry steps set out by the government.”
The Luton-based airline has partnered with Randox to provide COVID-19 test kits for customers who are required to take them.
Holidays and flights to “red list” destinations will not go ahead.
“In line with our industry-leading easyJet holidays Protection Promise, we won’t be operating any holidays to destinations that are on the ‘red’ list at the time of departure,” continues the orange-tipped carrier.
“But as the lists can change and destinations could move to ‘amber’ or ‘green’, you may still be able to book selected holidays currently on the ‘red’ list and we’ll keep future holidays under close review.
“You can make changes or cancel your holiday if you’re more than 28 days away from your departure date, and now you can make changes within 28 days knowing if your destination stays on the ‘red’ list we’ll cancel any bookings no later than seven days before departure.”
Under easyJet’s specially developed “protection promise” customers will be entitled to rearrange all holidays fee-free, up to 28 days before travel.
Jet2 held off on resuming flights and holidays when the traffic light system was initially announced due to ongoing “uncertainty”.
The airline maintains that it will restart travel from June 24, 2021.
“We’re taking the time to get everything ready at our airports, onboard our planes and in our resorts to give you the safest and smoothest holiday experience possible. Our teams both in the UK and overseas can’t wait to welcome you back – we’re excited to give you the holiday you deserve,” reads a statement on the Jet2 website.
To help customers “book and travel with confidence” the Leeds-based carrier has developed its own traffic light system in line with the Government advice.
“The UK Government has confirmed that international travel is now legal,” Jet2 states on its website.
“However, there are some conditions in place for people returning from different destinations, known as the Traffic Light system.
“The UK Government has committed to reviewing its Traffic Light ‘status’ of overseas destinations every three weeks.
“We’ll review our programme and policies in line with that timetable. Our last review date was May 13 2021.
“We expect to review again on or around June 1 2021 and every three weeks after that.
“As the UK Government has previously decided not to give us advance notice of any changes to the entry requirements from different countries, please bear with us as we need to take time to consider any changes to our programme and policies.”
Customers are advised to check the rules and traffic light colour of their chosen destination at least 14 days before travel.
From June 24, holidays to green list destinations will go ahead.
For “amber list” destinations, Jet2 states: “We’ll review the status of destinations on the amber list following the next UK Government review which we expect to be on or around June 1, 2021.
“However, if your flight is due to depart on or before July 18 2021, if you want to, you can amend your flight admin-fee-free.”
Holidays due to depart to “red list” countries will not go ahead.
Red list holidays can be changed to a new date or destination fee-free or cancelled free of charge.
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TUI is set to update its website following the Government’s announcement on Thursday.
In a statement, TUI explained: “The UK government has confirmed that international travel can resume.
“There’s a new traffic light system in place, with ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ destinations. The government has confirmed that their list of green, amber and red countries will be reviewed every three weeks.
“The next update is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, June 3 and we’ll update our website to reflect this announcement on the morning of Friday, June 4.”
Following the Government’s decision to add Portugal to the “green list”, TUI boosted its Portugal offering.
Should other holiday hotspots also turn green, the airline could make similar moves.
On the TUI website, it explains: “If we know a destination or hotel is asking people to quarantine when they arrive in the country, for any length of time – and there isn’t the option to forgo this quarantine period by providing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test – or if a destination is on the red list meaning you’ll need to quarantine in a hotel on your return, we simply won’t go there.
“If – before you depart – we know you’ll have to quarantine at home on your return home, you’ll have the option to change your holiday, as we don’t expect you to do this, but your booking won’t be cancelled.”
To help customers access affordable testing packages, TUI has partnered with Chronomics with prices starting at £20 per person.
The airline also continues to offer its fee-free changes policy to the end of October, for package holiday, flight-only and accommodation-only customers.
Ryanair has continued to operate flights throughout the pandemic, though at a reduced capacity in the winter months due to a drop in passenger figures.
However, since May 17 the airline has begun to boost its offer, adding an extra 175,000 extra seats to “green list” Portugal.
Airline bosses have also continually pushed for more European destinations to be added.
Should popular holiday hotspots make it onto the green list, it is likely Ryanair will increase the number of seat and flight options.
“We’ve made two points to Grant Shapps,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told Sky News.
“Firstly, they put Portugal on the green list in May but left Spain, Italy and the Greek islands off.
“It is absolutely imperative those big tourist destinations are added to the green list at the end of this week when the green list is extended.”
Ryanair is continuing its “zero change fee” policy on bookings up to June 30 allowing changes to be made through October 31, 2021.
Passengers who are due to travel with the airline are reminded to “check with the relevant authorities before you fly”.
Ryanair has also teamed up with COVID-19 testing company Randox to provide test packages for customers who require tests for “green” or “amber” countries.
British Airways (BA)
BA has been gradually ramping up its flight offering to certain destinations as global travel begins to reopen.
It has continually warned customers that it is operating a “reduced and dynamic” service.
Package holidays have also resumed to some destinations in line with Government advice.
Passengers are advised to check their flight status and the rules regarding their destination before travel.
Sean Doyle, BA Chairman and CEO, said: “We’re pleased that our customers are able to start travelling again to some countries, including Portugal, and we’ve put on additional flights from London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh to Faro to help people get moving.”
BA is continuing to offer its “protection promise” allowing customers more “flexibility”.
BA has launched pre-departure tests for only £40, as well as a number of discounts.
Discount codes are offered via the websites and cover home tests, private testing centres and airport test centres in Heathrow and London City.
The British flag bearing airline has also teamed up with Allianz Assistance to provide COVID-19 insurance for customers in the UK.
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