Boris Johnson says some foreign travel will ‘open up’ on May 17th
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From May 17 Britons will be able to jet off abroad to some destinations under the Governments “traffic light” system. Ahead of this, some airlines are preparing to ramp up their itineraries and welcome back passengers.
However, others are hesitant to resume flights just yet due to “uncertainty” over which nations will be categorised as “green”, “amber” and “red”.
With May 17 a matter of weeks away, here are the latest updates from Jet2, TUI, easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways (BA).
Jet has made the decision to continue its temporary suspension of flights.
According to the airline, flights and holidays are now cancelled up to June 24, 2021.
This is due to ongoing “uncertainty” with Jet2’s CEO Steve Heapy slamming the Government’s Travel Taskforce document released previously.
When it was released on April 9, he said: “We have taken time to study the Global Travel Taskforce’s framework, and we are extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail.”
In a statement on the airline website, Jet said: “We’re getting ready to take you on holiday again from June 24 2021. We’re now waiting for the UK Government and its Global Travel Taskforce to confirm which destinations fall into the green, amber or red categories of the new traffic light system – and the travel requirements for each country to be finalised.
“If you have an existing booking, we’ll be in touch with you when we know more. You can also visit our website 14 days before you’re due to depart when we’ll have all the latest official information.
“Between now and then, there’s no need to take any action – and we’d recommend that you don’t start arranging things like COVID-19 tests until all the travel requirements have been published by the governments here and abroad.”
TUI is set to resume some flights and holidays from May 17, though assures passengers it will not take them to countries where quarantine on either side of the journey will be required.
However, in its latest update on April 30, the airline explains it will only be departing from four airlines between May 17 and May 27.
“TUI Airways will also only be flying from four airports – Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol – between 17 and 27 May,” explains the airline.
“All customers impacted by the latest cancellations will be contacted directly and will be able to request a full cash refund or to change to a later date and receive a booking incentive.
“Following the most recent announcement from the UK Government, customers travelling from England will still be subject to a new traffic light system with Green, Amber and Red destinations.
“We are yet to receive the full detail for each category, including what entry and testing requirements may be needed for your destination and what colour your destination may be.
“We can confirm that we will not be travelling to any red destinations.
“We know that our customers are looking forward to their holidays, so to offer continued flexibility and reassurance, we have extended our free changes policy to include bookings up to the end of August. If you would like to change your booking to a later date, you can do this up to 14 days before you are due to travel through Manage My Booking (from Saturday 1st May), in a TUI store, or by calling us on 0203 4512688.
“And if your destination changes to Amber within 14 days of travel, you will be able to amend up until the day before your departure.”
The airline has also cancelled some select holidays due to restrictions.
Holidays to Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Tunisia, Egypt and Cape Verde due to depart before June 7 are now axed.
All Lakes and Mountains holidays to Italy, Austria and Slovenia due to depart before June 7 are also cancelled.
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easyJet has continued to operate some flights throughout the pandemic.
Package holidays provided by the orange-tipped carrier have been on hold, but are set to resume from May 17 in line with Government restrictions.
“Currently, the government has said that the planned restart date for international travel is still due to be 17 May and that’s the date we’re planning to start taking people away again,” said the airline in a statement.
Customers who have flights only bookings are advised to stay up-to-date with the latest travel information regarding their specific journey as delays and cancellations can occur at short notice.
The airline also warns passengers may be subject to a variety of “including forms, quarantine and testing” so it is important to be aware of rules regarding their destination.
The airline says it will offer further insight into which holidays can resume in the next few weeks.
“The government has also shared a little bit more about how holidays can be restarted again and the introduction of a traffic light system – they will share which traffic light colour destinations fall under in early May, so we’ll know even more then,” reads a statement on the easyJet website.
“We’re continually working through how COVID-19 may impact future bookings in departure date order. If your holiday becomes affected, we’ll let you know as soon as we can. If you’re worried about changing rules and regulations, you can find out more about our industry-leading flexibility through our Covid commitments, as part of our Protection Promise.”
Ryanair has continued to operate flights through the pandemic, though these have been at a reduced capacity due to a drop in passenger foot traffic.
Flights may also change at short notice so passengers are advised to stay up-to-date with the latest information regarding their journey.
However, in a bid to provide peace of mind for travellers, Ryanair has dropped its flight change fees.
“We know your plans may change, so we’ve dropped our flight change fees for all new bookings made before 30 June 2021, for travel before October 31 2021,” reads a statement from Ryanair.
“You can now make up to two flight changes for travel by October 31 2021. This gives you complete flexibility and peace of mind.
“Our Zero Change Fee promo is applicable for bookings made after 10 June 2020.
“Flight changes must take place at least seven days before the original scheduled departure dates to avail of the promo.
“Fare and product price difference may apply.”
The Irish carrier has also launched a “price checker” app to ensure customers get the best possible price when booking flights.
In addition to this, it has also launched a “Verified Seal” aiming to guarantee customers of the validity of their flight.
“We’re pleased to launch our new ‘Price Checker’ and ‘Verified Seal’ on the Ryanair.com website and app. These two new features will help customers avoid the pitfalls of booking with online travel agents, who may overcharge, provide incorrect customers information and prevent Ryanair from dealing directly with the passenger,” said Ryanair’s director of marketing Dara Brady.
“We advise our customers to always book directly through the Ryanair website and Ryanair app where they will have access to the lowest fares, direct Customer Care and speedy refunds.”
BA has operated some flights throughout the coronavirus pandemic, though it warns passengers these are at a “reduced and dynamic” capacity.
The airline’s package holiday arm has been temporarily suspended until May 17 at which plans some journeys will resume in line with Government guidelines.
The airline is providing a “book with confidence commitment” for customers ensuring “flexibility”.
“Our book with confidence commitment means you have the option to change your booking date and destination or even cancel it completely,” the airline explains on its website.
“For bookings made on or after March 3 2020, for journeys that are due to have been completed by April 30 2022, you can change your booking or cancel your booking.”
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