Can I get a refund on my Christmas travel plans if I cancel?

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The Government has decided to press ahead with the controversial plans to let people travel throughout the country over the Christmas period. Under the new rules, three households can mix over five days – these households cannot change over the period and mixing is allowed indoors and outdoors.

Social distancing and face mask advice will also be relaxed within these bubbles.

The rules will be relaxed from December 23 to December 27.

Regulations for Christmas were announced earlier this month by the Prime Minister following the end of the national lockdown on December 2.

People should be “extremely careful” about who they mix with in the run-up to Christmas if they are planning to see elderly relatives over the festive period, the Health Secretary has warned.

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Matt Hancock said people should take “personal responsibility” around what they choose to do before and within the five-day period during which restrictions are relaxed.

He was asked at Monday’s Downing Street briefing if people should self-isolate from now if they want to see elderly loved ones during the festive relaxation period, which will begin next week.

He said: “I think that if you want to see elderly relatives at Christmas, we all know that the best thing to do is to make sure that you don’t have coronavirus.

“The best thing you can do if you want to see elderly relatives at Christmas is to be extremely careful now about who you see.”

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The Transport secretary Grant Schapps has agreed to waive all admin charges if you decide to change or cancel your train tickets over the festive period.

He tweeted: “To help passengers who now need to change their travel plans over the Xmas window, we’ve removed admin fees if you’re rebooking a rail journey.

“Please consider your Xmas Travel plans very carefully and if you need to travel, please book ahead. #TravelSafely.”

However, you will need to check your train provider or booking service if you decide to abandon your Christmas travel plans altogether to see if you can get a refund.

A lot of advance tickets are non-refundable, so unless the Government changes take place between now and the 23rd, it’s unlikely you will get your money back.

You should check your type of ticket to see if you can get any refund at all.

Train operators say they paid £421m in refunds in the first four months of the pandemic, more than the total value of refunds in all of 2019.


Airlines are only obliged to refund customers if it is them who cancels the flight.

If you simply decide you don’t want to fly, it’s up to the airline if they want to refund you – and that’s an almost definite no.

Some airlines will let you change your flight to another date/time in the future, with Ryanair, EasyJet, British Airways all offering differing policies on flight changes.

Some are offering free flight changes whereas others are offering vouchers and occasionally refunds.

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