Boris Johnson promises 'light ahead' as he plans to lift lockdown
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested some international travel may be considered from May 17 if the reinstated Global Travel Taskforce deems it safe and possible. Following his “roadmap” out of lockdown announcement last week, many Britons rushed to begin booking flights and holidays for the future.
However, some airlines have continued to cancel routes in the upcoming months, while others have strengthened their Covid policies to encourage hopeful holidaymakers to book.
What are the latest updates for TUI, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic?
Despite seeing a surge in bookings following the “roadmap” announcement, TUI has cancelled a number of flights in the short term.
Though managing director Andrew Flintham said the airline is seeing “huge demand” for travel, the airline has axed all flights up to and including May 16.
Additionally, flights to Los Cabos, Mexico and Kvarner Bay, Croatia due to depart on or before October 31, 2021, are axed.
“Please rest assured, if your holiday has been cancelled, we’ll be contacting you soon to discuss your options. We’re working around the clock to do this and are getting in touch with customers in departure date order,” reads a statement on the TUI website.
Customers who have had their holiday cancelled by TUI will be entitled to their money back “within 14 days”.
British Airways (BA) has continued to fly limited flights and is operating a “reduced” and “dynamic” schedule amid the ongoing lockdown restrictions.
The airline also reminds those who need to travel in the coming weeks of quarantine requirements which may impact them.
The latest statement on the BA website reads: “The UK government has introduced new measures at the UK borders, including testing, self-isolation and hotel quarantine requirements for arrivals from some destinations.
“For more information on these measures please visit the UK Government’s website.
“If you have an existing booking, our book with confidence commitment gives you the flexibility to change or cancel your plans if you need to.”
Passengers who wish to “change or cancel” their booking can do so using the airline’s “Book with Confidence” policy which was developed as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Though BA has not axed all of its itineraries, it does warn customers to some changes to flight schedules may arise.
On its website, BA states: “If your flight has been cancelled, we will contact you with your options. Alternatively, you can rebook or claim a voucher online,” explains the British Airways website.
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easyJet continues to operate some flights, though it is on a reduced schedule and some flight times are subject to change.
Customers who are impacted by changing flights will be contacted by the airline to discuss their options.
The easyJet website explains: “If part/all of your trip is cancelled, you will be notified directly via email and will be informed of your options.
“[These] include switching to another easyJet flight for free (this includes the option to select a different arrival and departure airport within the same country of the original booking if you wish), choosing a voucher for the value of your ticket or requesting a refund, all of which you will be able to manage yourself online via Manage bookings on easyJet.com or on the easyJet app.”
However, despite the current restrictions, the airline reports a leap in bookings up to four times higher than the week prior to Boris Johnson’s announcement.
easyJet reports Britons appear to be looking at travel to Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, Faro in Portugal and the Greek island of Crete.
Johan Lundgren, the easyJet chief executive, commented: “We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel and this surge in bookings shows the signal from the government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.”
Ryanair reported a “large surge” in bookings from the UK following the lockdown “roadmap” announcement.
The budget career highlighted Spain, Greece and Italy and destinations of interest for Britons.
Though the airline has continued to fly throughout the pandemic, Ryanair bosses made the decision to reduce its itinerary from January due to a drop in passenger traffic.
In a press release, the airline stated there will be “few if any, flights being operated to or from Ireland or the UK from the UK from the end of January until such a time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed”.
The cutbacks will also see the airline dropping its full-year traffic forecast from “below 35 million” to between 26 million and 30 million.
Passengers who change their mind about travel will not be entitled to a refund, but are given the option to change their flight date free of charge.
If Ryanair cancels a flight, the airline will allow customers the option to amend their booking to a later date or claim a full refund.
For those who are flying with the airline in the coming months, it has updated its website to explain new “travel restrictions” in place across Europe.
The update includes information on testing and quarantine rules.
On its website, the airline explains: “Everyone must complete an online Passenger Locator Form before arrival in the United Kingdom.”
It also provides links to the Government website for travellers arriving from “high risk” countries from February 15.
Passengers who are due to travel are advised to “check with the relevant authorities before you fly”.
Jet2 reported a “dramatic and continued surge” in flight and holiday bookings since the Prime Minister’s announcement.
The airline says summer bookings have seen a major uptick, with Portugal, Spain and Turkey among the countries seeing the most interest.
However, currently the airline has cancelled all flights and holidays up to and including May 16 due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
In a statement on its website, the holiday provider explained: “Following the release of the government’s roadmap, we’ve decided to extend the suspension of all flights up to and including 16 May 2021.
“If you’ve been affected by these programme changes, we’ll be automatically cancelling your booking with a full refund. Please be patient with us as we do this.
“If you’re due to travel from 17 May 2021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time.”
Virgin Atlantic has operated some flights throughout the pandemic but continues to “review” its flight schedule on an ongoing basis.
Following the Prime Minister’s “roadmap” the airline updated its website with new information for passengers.
“On 22 February 2021, the UK Prime Minister announced a new roadmap to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England,” reads a statement.
“Regarding international travel, the UK Government has confirmed that restrictions will remain for the near future, easing no earlier than 17 May 2021.
“The Prime Minister also confirmed that a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April to facilitate a return to international travel as soon as possible and to allow people to plan for the summer.
“We know the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions mean that flexibility has never been more important and we have an updated commercial policy to give our customers greater peace of mind.
If you make a new booking for travel up to 30 April 2022, or if you are affected by a cancelled flight up until 31 August 2021, you can make as many date changes as necessary with no service fee, all the way until 30 April 2023. Customers who booked up to and including 5 February 2021 retain the option to two free date changes and one free name change.
“All customers can also change the origin or destination of their flight or make one free name change.”
Customers are also advised to stay up-to-date on travel information and restrictions for both their departure and arrival destinations.
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