Many nations have no banned UK travellers from entering unless for essential purposes. As a result, many airlines have been forced to axe and amend routes.
Nations around the world slammed shut their borders to UK travellers following the announcement of a new strain of coronavirus.
In recent days rules have changed to allow for some essential travellers to certain destinations, along with new requirements for COVID-19 tests.
What are the latest updates from British Airways (BA), Ryanair, easyJet, TUI and Jet2?
BA has amended its flight schedule in recent months in line with changes to travel rules.
The airline states it is “operating a reduced and dynamic schedule.”
BA will contact passengers if their flight has been impacted.
“Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic and changing global travel restrictions we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule,” said the carrier’s latest statement.
“If your flight is cancelled, we will contact you but please check the status of your flight before travelling to the airport. Please also ensure your contact details are up to date within Manage My Booking’.”
It added: “Our contact centres are receiving a large volume of calls at the moment, so please bear with us if you are trying to call to rebook for immediate travel. If you need to change your flight for a later date or apply for a voucher then you can visit our ‘Book with Confidence’ pages.”
The airline recommends passengers check the rules in their destination before travelling.
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Ryanair has updated its website with information for passengers who may be impacted by the new global travel restrictions.
“As a result of COVID-19 you may be required to complete and present additional travel documentation before you travel,” states the airline.
“Please ensure you check the most up to date travel restrictions and country-specific requirements before you fly.
“Failure to present any mandatory documentation will result in your travel being denied by local authorities.”
Ryanair also reminds passengers to comply with the advice of governments “in relation to an imposed quarantine period”.
It adds: “Please note that a government-imposed advice on quarantine period will not result in the flight being cancelled and an automatic entitlement to refunds.”
Passengers will be offered the chance to amend their booking free of charge if they no longer wish to or are unable to fly.
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easyJet updated its travel information regarding travel bans on December 21.
It explained: “We are planning to operate as many flights as possible over the coming days.
“Due to a number of governments imposing travel bans on flights arriving from the UK, we appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing you and understand that you may wish to change your travel plans.”
The airline is allowing passengers the option of rebooking with a flight change fee, choosing a voucher for the full value of their ticket, or requesting a refund.
Refunds can be obtained by contacting a member of easyJet’s customer service team.
The carrier continues: “If part or all of your trip is cancelled, you will be notified directly via email and will be informed of your options, which include switching to an 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.
“We’re sorry if your travel plans have been disrupted, this is due to extraordinary circumstances outside of our control.
“We appreciate your understanding and thank you for your ongoing support.”
TUI has amended its policy for customers who were due to fly to winter sun hotspots now impacted by the travel changes. These include the Canary Islands and Portugal.
In a statement, the airline explained: “We understand there’s uncertainty about Christmas holidays to the Canary Islands and Portugal as a result of the latest travel restrictions.
“Therefore, customers due to travel to the Canary Islands from 6th January up to and including 31st January 2021 and those travelling to Madeira from 1 January up to and including 31 January 2020 are able to amend their holiday for free, with holidays currently on sale until October 2022.
“We have currently cancelled Canary Islands holidays from England up to and including 5 January 2021 and holidays to Madeira up to and including 31 December.
“We’re in the process of proactively contacting impacted customers by departure date order.”
TUI has also made some changes in line with the tier restrictions in the UK.
“We can confirm our holidays from London Gatwick continue to operate as planned to those countries still permitting arrivals from the UK, for customers able to travel,” the airline states on its website.
“All flights departing from Luton Airport up to and including 2 January 2021 have been cancelled. We will be in direct contact with impacted customers to offer them a full refund or the option to amend their booking.
“Customers that live in tier 4 in England, levels 3 & 4 in Scotland and alert level 4 in Wales and are due to depart between 20 December 2020 up to and including 8 January 2021, will be entitled to amend for free to any holiday that’s currently on sale or cancel and receive a full refund.”
Jet2 has paused some flight operations amid travel bans, with restart dates set out for the beginning of the new year.
The airline reminds customers of new entry requirements for destinations, as well as rules on testing and potential quarantine restrictions upon return into the UK.
Jet2 flights to Spain and Portugal have been axed due to the travel bans.
The airline states on its website: “We are sorry, but due to local government travel restrictions, all outbound flights to Spain have been cancelled.
“If you were due to travel to Spain on Tuesday 22nd December 2020, there is no need to contact us, we will automatically refund the total cost of your booking.
“This will be credited to the card you paid with within the next 28 days, in the same number of instalments you paid in. We apologise for this cancellation which was beyond our control.”
Concerning Portugal, a Jet2 spokeswoman said: “Due to the latest travel restrictions imposed by the Portuguese government, we have taken the decision to suspend flights and holidays to Funchal (Madeira) up to and including December 31.
“Where customers are affected by any programme changes, we have been repeatedly recognised for how we have been looking after them and we will be automatically cancelling affected bookings with a full refund.
“In line with travel advice, Portuguese citizens and those legally resident in Portugal can still travel subject to providing a negative PCR (swab) COVID-19 test result before travel, or on arrival at the airport.
“Customers in resort can continue to enjoy their holidays, as we will operate a programme of inbound flights back to the UK. We will be in touch with them to advise.
“For customers due to travel to Madeira from January 1 onwards, we will provide an update once we have further detail.”
According to the Jet2 website, flights to Madeira will restart on January 8 from English airports and January 11 from Scottish airports.
Flights to the Canary Islands are due to restart from January 6, and to Fuerteventura from February 10.
Flights to Turkey are anticipated to restart from England January 7, from Scotland on February 6 and from Northern Ireland on March 5.