TRAVEL is on hold for now as lockdown persists, with many who had plans in the coming months now with facing cancellations and refunds. Yet with little progress in the way of resuming flights, what does this mean for Britons with holiday in the winter months?
Although a roadmap for relaxing lockdown is anticipated for the coming months, leaked travel quarantine plans from the government present a bleak outlook for the future of travel. Though customers with plans in the next few weeks have been notified of cancellations, and are in the process of receiving refunds, those with bookings in the winter months might be concerned they will face the same fate. What is the latest advice for future travel from some Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet, British Airways, and TUI?
Holiday specialist Jet2 issued its latest update regarding the COVID-19 outbreak on April 24 2020. In it, they announced they would be halting flights throughout the remainder of April, May and into June. However, the travel operator remains positive, saying flights are anticipated to resume on June 17 2020.
“Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, weve decided to recommence our flights programme on 17 June 2020,” reads a statement.
“If you’re travelling before this date, unfortunately, your booking will be affected as our flights won’t be operating.”
Customers with bookings prior to this date will be contacted by the customer service team. Jet2 is working in departure date order, and customers are reminded to be “patient.”
Customers travelling after the planned recommence date are still bound by Jet2s normal terms and conditions, which means they could face financial losses.
“If youve made a booking thats currently unaffected and you would like to either amend it or cancel, this will be in line with our terms and conditions,” reads Jet2s statement.
According to Jet2’s terms and conditions: “If you decide to cancel your whole booking or to cancel an individual passenger in your party, we do not provide any refund and strongly recommend all people travelling put in place appropriate personal travel insurance from the date of booking.”
The airline assures it is working in accordance with all safety guidelines issued by authorities.
It says: “We understand that you may have concerns about your flight(s). The health and safety of our customers is always our number one priority, so were continuing to monitor the situation very closely and will adjust our programme accordingly where necessary.”
Travellers should keep an eye on any relevant updated from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Jet2.
Britons with winter flights booked through Ryanair may be feeling concerned, with almost 99 percent of the airline’s fleet currently grounded.
The airline has also suggested that its operations will not resume until “sometime in July” according to its latest statement.
No set date has been proposed for Ryanairs return.
While this is bad news for customers with flights booked in the coming weeks, it is a promising signal to those with winter plans.
If travellers are concerned about future bookings, they are advised to hold onto them until the airline cancels.
Should Ryanair operate the flight as planned, customers who chose to cancel may not be entitled to a refund.
For those who have had their journeys cancelled by the airline, they will be issued with a “refund voucher” which can be used to book a new journey with the airline.
If customers do not wish to accept the voucher, they must contact the airline and will be placed in a queue until the pandemic is passed.
Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, easyJet has been cancelling flights on a 7-day rolling basis.
This means that winter travel plans remain largely uncertain, but even for those concerned, they are advised not to cancel their flight unless an airline representative gets in contact.
If a flight is not yet cancelled, easyJet is not accepting refund requests.
An easyJet spokesperson said: “At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights as this will depend on national travel restrictions and customer demand.
“We are working closely with local authorities and the relevant regulators to monitor the situation across Europe so that we remain informed of when restrictions could change and when flying can resume.
“We anticipate this will be a minimal schedule at first, which will vary by country.
“In the meantime, we are maintaining our full fleet of aircraft in a flight-ready condition and putting accelerated procedures in place to ensure flights can resume quickly and safely.
“We continue to work closely with EASA and other agencies to ensure we meet the necessary requirements for crew training as well as any additional health and safety measures that could be introduced to best protect our customers and crew, ensuring we are in compliance with any new ways of operating ready for when flying resumes.”
Customers whose flight is cancelled are entitled to a refund. Those who wish to reschedule their flights for a different date can do so free of charge. However, if the second flight is a higher price point customers will be responsible for paying the difference in ticket cost.
British Airways (BA) has continued to operate some flights for the purposes of repatriation, or for those who are travelling for “essential work”.
However, most of its commercial operations have been slashed in the coming months.
BA bosses issued a statement last week suggesting the airline will make a “meaningful return” in July, although no set date has been put forward.
Customers with winter plans should stay up to date using the BA website.
A spokesperson said: “This is a fast-moving situation, and we recommend all customers check for the latest on their flight on ba.com.”
The airline’s current ‘book with confidence’ policy has been extended through to December 31 2020, meaning those with winter flights are able to amend their date and destinations for no extra fee.
Holiday provider TUI remains optimistic about the future of winter travel plans, with hopes to relaunch its schedule after June 12.
TUI continues to work in line with government guidelines and is frequently reviewing and updating its policy.
A spokesperson added: “Our holidays departing after June 12 2020 are currently due to operate as planned.
“Its also reassuring for customers to know that all of our package holidays are ATOL protected, so travellers can book their future holidays with confidence.
“If the holiday needs to be cancelled down the track, they will be offered the option to either receive a refund credit with a bonus incentive or a cash refund.”
Holidaymakers who are faced with cancelled holidays before June 12 will receive a refund credit. They are also able to use this credit to apply for a cash refund, though this could take some time due to the high number of requests.
TUI states: “Youll receive a refund credit for the full value of your holiday, and well give you a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.
“We understand that you may not be ready to book again just yet, so the refund credit gives you the flexibility to book your travel in the future. “Plus, if your original booking was for a package holiday, youll get a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.”