Latest updates for TUI, easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 as UK restrictions ramp up
Airlines have been forced to cancel and amend flight schedules amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that the UK Government will introduce a new rule for those arriving into the country forcing them to undertake their ten days of mandatory quarantine in a designated hotel at their own expense. Travel experts have warned this could serve an "immense" blow to the industry and further damage consumer "confidence".
As a result of changing rules, airlines have been pushed to add more flexibility for customers looking to cancel their booking or rebook to a later date. Furthermore, many have cancelled flights right through until the early spring.
So what are the latest updates for UK airlines?
EasyJet have cancelled all package holidays until March due to the ongoing travel restrictions, including the pause on travel corridors. Customers who have had their flight cancelled by the airline are entitled to a refund and will be contacted by easyJet's customer service team.
Other flights from the airline continue to operate on a limited schedule to certain locations.
Matt Callaghan, easyJet holidays customer director, said: “We know this news will be disappointing. But we want to give our customers as much flexibility and choice as possible so they can decide what is best for them. We’re really proud that, where we’ve needed to cancel holidays, we’ve been able to process refunds in an average of 12 days.
"We’ll continue to do the right thing for customers. And for any customers wanting to change their holiday or make a new booking, we’ve got holidays on sale all the way through to March 2022. We know there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine, and we can’t wait to take people on well-deserved holidays just as soon as it’s possible for us to do so. Until then, we thank you for your support and understanding."
Ryanair has axed large numbers of its planned itinerary until April due to a predicted fall in passenger traffic. The airline has also extended its no flight change fee until November, stating it hopes to allow customers to "book with confidence".
A Ryanair spokesperson said: "Due to ongoing government travel restrictions as a result of Covid-19, Ryanair expects to operate a limited winter flight schedule from the UK, which will be reflected on Ryanair.com.
"All connections are subject to travel restrictions. In the event of a flight cancellation, customers can take advantage of a free flight change or apply for a voucher/refund should they so wish. Ryanair urges all passengers to check the latest travel updates on the Ryanair.com website and with the relevant authorities in advance of their flight.”
Under current lockdown rules in the UK, international travel is only permitted for "essential purposes". For those who are travelling with the airline, Ryanair reminds customers of the coronavirus regulations onboard and in foreign destinations.
Jet2 has cancelled all flights up to and including March 25th 2021. It has further suspended flights to Iceland up to and including April 26th 2021.
In a statement, Jet2 said: "If you've been affected by these programme changes, we'll be automatically cancelling your booking with a full refund. Please be patient with us as we do this." It added: "If you're due to travel from 26th March onwards, we'll provide an update closer to the time."
Customers who have booked through a third-party agent are advised to contact them directly.
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Due to the ongoing restrictions, TUI has cancelled holidays for the time being with plans to update customers in mid-February. In a statement on its website, TUI said: "As a result of the latest national lockdown measures announced on 4th January 2021, we’re not able to operate holidays for the moment.”
"Please rest assured, if you were booked to travel with us between now and mid-February; we’ll be contacting you soon to discuss your options. This will be done in departure date order. We’d like to extend a personal thank you for your patience and understanding as our customer service and social media teams work around the clock during such an unprecedented time."
Furthermore, holidays due to operate on or before April 30th 2021, to La Palma, Canary Islands; Goa, India; Phuket, Thailand and The Gambia are also cancelled. Impacted customers will be contacted by the travel provider in "departure date order" and offered a refund or the option to rebook.
Customers can also select a refund credit voucher which can be used to book a future holiday. There are also options for holidaymakers whose plans have not yet been cancelled, but who do not feel comfortable to fly on their initially chosen date.
TUI's website states: "We know how important flexibility is at the moment, so we’ve introduced a free changes policy. You can make a change fee-free up until 21 days before departure if you have a booking which falls into one of the following categories”:
- bookings made before 28th February 2021, due to depart before 30th April 2021;
- or bookings made between 22nd December 2020 and 28th February 2021, due to depart before 31st October 2021.
British Airways (BA) states it is operating a "reduced" and "dynamic" schedule as a result of the ever-changing travel restrictions, however, the airline has not introduced any new changes following the quarantine hotel suggestion.
A BA spokesperson said: "We are contacting customers whose flights are cancelled to offer options including a full refund. We advise customers to check the latest UK Government travel advice at Gov.UK and their latest flight information at ba.com."
Customers are asked not to call or message the airline unless they are travelling "within the next 72 hours" due to "high call volumes". Instead, they are advised to visit the "manage my booking" section of the BA website. There, customers will be given the option to rebook heir flight on a later date or request a voucher which can be used for a future booking.
Travellers whose flight is cancelled by BA will be entitled to a full refund, and BA says it will contact those customers directly to discuss their options. The airline has also put in place a "book with confidence commitment" which means passengers have the option to change their booking date and destination without incurring a fee.