Is my airline allowing changes or issuing refunds ahead of England’s second lockdown?
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On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown for England. As such, all non-essential domestic and international travel will be banned as of Thursday 5 November at 12:01 a.m. The travel ban is set to last for the duration of the second lockdown, which is due to end on 2 December.
But what about if you already have travel booked? In most cases, the message from airlines is that if your flight is cancelled, somebody will get in touch to discuss your options. Here is a round-up of the latest messages or updates from airlines that operate largely in the U.K.
Related: Is my airline waiving change fees?
British Airways has not yet announced plans to cancel its November flight schedule, however, as per a tweet on Sunday, the airline advises that if your flight is cancelled, someone will be in touch.
If you have travel booked during the new lockdown period, you are able to change your flight to a later date without incurring a fee, though you will need to pay a fare difference, or cancel your trip and receive a Future Travel Voucher.
“We note the Prime Minister’s announcement of a new national lockdown for England to slow the spread of Covid-19,” a British Airways spokesperson said in a statement. “Like other businesses, we are assessing the new information and we will keep our customers updated on any changes to their travel plans.”
At the time of writing, there has been no update from EasyJet in response to the government’s lockdown announcement on Saturday. The last update on the airline’s website was 30 October, stating, “If your flight has been cancelled as a result of this [coronavirus], we are sorry. You will be contacted by our customer service team outlining the options available to you in Manage Bookings.”
Otherwise, EasyJet flights are changeable for free only when made 14 days or more before departure, which might mean fees for some passengers travelling in November, given the short notice of the latest lockdown.
Jet2 advises its passengers that it’s still okay to travel up until 4 November. It’s worth noting, however, that once the travel ban comes in to place on the 5 November, the likelihood of flights being cancelled on short notice throughout the rest of the month is high. The possibility of cancelled flights could mean that those who decide to go ahead with travel plans could become stranded at their destination.
There are currently no official updates from Ryanair regarding the news of the impending lockdown. However, according to the BBC, the airline’s CEO Michael O’Leary has said that passengers whose flights remain scheduled to go ahead in November will not be able to receive a refund. They will, however, be able to change their flights to a later date without paying a fee.
Of course, if a flight is cancelled, passengers are entitled to a full refund in all cases, thanks to EU261 regulations.
The latest advice from TUI is that passengers whose holidays are affected by the travel ban will have three options if their holiday is cancelled: rebooking with an incentive, requesting an ATOL-protected refund credit note or receiving a full cash refund.
It’s worth noting that this only applies to those with package holiday bookings and not flight-only booking. If you have a flight-only booking during the lockdown period, we recommend speaking directly with TUI to find out your options.
As per a tweet on Sunday, Virgin Atlantic also advises that someone from the airline will get in touch with passengers directly should their flight be affected by the impending month-long lockdown.
The airline’s previous flexible change-policy remains in place, meaning travel can be changed until 30 September 2022.
The U.K. government’s latest advice is that all non-essential travel is banned from England — including domestic holidays — from 5 November until 2 December. While advice varies depending on the airline, we recommend considering either cancelling or postponing your trip until after the lockdown period is due to end at the start of December.
If you have travel booked before the start of the lockdown but are due to return during it, it may be worth reconsidering the trip, given that problems might arise during the forthcoming lockdown period.
Featured image by Stefan Cristian Cioata/Getty
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