John Holland-Kaye: Travellers must be 'desperate and wealthy'
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Package holidays see holidaymakers book their flights and hotels in one convenient bundle. However, the travel industry has been heavily battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Most major tour operators have decided to axe holidays. This is what you need to know about package holidays with TUI, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook.
TUI cancelled many of its package holidays on January 5 following the news of a third national lockdown
TUI states on its website: “Due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions in place all TUI holidays up to and including March 7, 2021 have been cancelled.
“Customers will be contacted in departure date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.
“We will constantly review our holiday programme in line with updated travel advice.”
What’s more, holidays due to depart on or before April 30, 2021, to Goa, India; La Palma, Canary Islands; Phuket, Thailand, The Gambia and Florida are also cancelled.
After it was announced this week that hotel quarantine would come into force for arrivals from 33 countries from Monday, TUI said: “We’re aware of the Government’s announcement regarding mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals to the UK from ‘red list’ countries from February 15.
“As we’re currently not operating, we’re working through what this means for our holiday programme and we’ll be contacting any impacted customers as soon as we have more information.”
British Airways announced today it is extending the cancellation of its package holidays.
All flight and holiday packages up to and including March 15 are now axed.
A British Airways spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “If we cannot fulfil a holiday, we’re committed to ensuring customers receive a full refund within 14 days.
“Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.”
The airline says it is in the process of contacting all customers who had a package holiday booked on or before March 15.
On the British Airways website, it explains: “If your flight is cancelled, please rest assured that we’ll contact you.
“We’re currently experiencing extremely high call volumes. Please don’t call or message unless you’re travelling in the next 72 hours so we can help those needing urgent rebooking.”
easyJet holidays has cancelled all package holidays up to and including March 24.
The tour operator has not yet said if any further cancellations are to be expected.
Customers who are impacted by holiday cancellations will be contacted directly by easyJet holidays.
They will be provided with the option to rebook their holiday for a new date and destination or accept an easyJet holidays credit to be used in the future. There is also the option to claim a full cash refund.
The holiday firm says it is aiming to process these in “an average of 12 days”.
Jet2holidays has cancelled all flights and holidays up until April 14, it was announced yesterday.
This is an extension on the previous March end-date for cancelled flights and holidays
Additionally, travel to Iceland is suspended until April 26.
Customers will be contacted directly by Jet2 holidays and automatically issued with a refund equal to the amount paid.
Refunds will be issued to customers whose travels are cancelled.
“If you’re due to travel from 15 April 2021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time,” added Jet2.
Virgin Holidays has cancelled itineraries up to and including February 28, 2021.
“In line with continuing national lockdown restrictions, Virgin Holidays has reviewed its upcoming holiday schedule and extended cancellations from February 14 2021 up to and including February 28 2021,” said Virgin in a statement.
“Customers affected will be contacted in departure date order to confirm their cancellation and the options available to them, including a voucher redeemable up until September 30, 2021 (ATOL-protected until March 31 2021), which they can use to rebook a holiday, departing any time before April 30, 2023.
“This can either be to the same destination or we can look at alternatives, as well as different times of the year.
“Virgin Holidays continues to review the upcoming holiday schedule regularly, extending cancellations on a rolling basis, in line with developing national lockdown rules.”
Virgin Atlantic extended its free changes deadline today.
“The rebooking horizon has been extended for all customers all the way until April 30, 2023, giving a broader window of time to reschedule plans if needed,” said the tour operator.
After the hotel quarantine start date was announced last week, Thomas Cook announced they “are not selling holidays for departures before February 15 and will review in line with the latest government decisions after that.”
Thomas Cook’s CEO Alan French said: “Following the announcement of the latest lockdown, we are calling our customers to offer refunds or move their holidays to a later date.
“We’ve seen over the festive period that customers are looking ahead to the summer and beginning to book in earnest for those important summer weeks in the sun.”
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