British Airways suspends all flights to and from mainland China
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In light of the coronavirus crisis and Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s updated guidance for travel to China, British Airways has suspended all flights to and from mainland China. British Airways flights to Hong Kong will continue to fly as scheduled.
Prior to Wednesday’s suspension, British Airways operated flights between London Heathrow and Beijing and Shanghai. The suspension takes effect immediately and will last until 31 January while the airline assesses the situation. However, there are no nonstop British Airways-operated flights on sale to mainland China until 1 March 2020.
“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority”, British Airways said in a statement.
The airline is allowing passengers who had travel booked to China through 23 February 2020 to rebook to the same destination at a later date. The itinerary must be in the same cabin class as the original flight or a lower cabin, if available. Additionally, if you had travel booked with BA to China through 23 February, you can request a refund from the airline, which also applies to reward bookings. Contact the airline to change your itinerary or request a refund.
The FCO is advising against all travel to Hubei province and encourages those who are still there to leave immediately. The FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
The virus has caused more than 100 deaths and has spread beyond China to 16 other countries.There have been no confirmed cases in the U.K., with 97 people having tested negative for the virus.
“We are also working urgently to finalise arrangements for an assisted departure from Hubei Province for British nationals this week, and are in contact with people in Hubei to ensure they register their interest and that we can keep them updated”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
A number of airlines have cancelled some flights to China, such as Air Canada, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific. As of time of publication, Virgin Atlantic is still operating its nonstop route between London and Shanghai, however, it is allowing passengers to rebook, change their destination or cancel and receive a full refund for their itinerary.
“We’re closely monitoring the situation regarding coronavirus and will always follow guidance set out by relevant authorities”, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said in a statement.
Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.
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