The idea of booking a holiday during a global pandemic is a gamble that many travelers have taken, with some finding success. However, for many British travelers, it’s one that hasn’t paid off.
Following the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the UK is to head into its strictest lockdown yet, several British travel agencies have cancelled holidays for thousands of passengers. Here’s all the information on who it affects, what happens next and when British travelers can expect to go on a holiday once more.
Holidays Cancelled – What Happens Next For Travelers?
The cancellation of thousands of trips has come from several of the UK’s most popular travel agencies. Thomas Cook, Virgin Holidays, easyJet, Tui and Jet2 are the big-name firms behind the cancellations, with many others expected to join them in the coming days. However, encouragingly for those who have booked through these companies, refunds are available.
Thomas Cook has cancelled all package holidays until February 15th, after which the company hopes to restart travel should government policy reflect that it is possible to do so. Customers are entitled to refund, or can move their holiday to another date.
Those who booked through easyJet have also seen their plans cancelled. However, those who booked did so under the company’s “Protection Promise”, which allows free cancellations up to 28 days before departure. The refund will be either in the form of a credit on a customer’s account, or a full refund back to their original payment method.
TUI has cancelled all holidays that depart from English airports before mid-February, whilst those leaving from Scottish and Welsh airports prior to January 31st have also been cancelled. Customers can expect to be contacted by the company to discuss their refund options, which include rebooking with an incentive, a credit note with an incentive, or a full refund.
Virgin Holidays has cancelled all holidays leaving before February 14th, and have automatically provided customers with a refund voucher, though customers can opt for a full refund instead. The voucher is redeemable until 30th September 2021, and can be used to book a holiday departing any time before December 31st, 2022. Jet2 has only suspended and cancelled flights up to and including February 11th, and has said that it will provide an update closer to the time for those leaving from February 12th.
UK Travelers Options Limited
Options for travelers from the UK have grown increasingly narrow over the last few weeks, after a wave of countries closed their borders to flights following the discovery of the new, more-transmissible virus variant in the country.
The European countries that have banned the UK are: Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Romania and Poland. With the situation in the UK worsening, it is unlikely that such restrictions will soften in the short term.
Under England’s current lockdown rules, travel abroad is not permitted unless the traveler has a legally permitted reason to do so.
Rules regarding travel are different for other countries in the UK. British travelers who are currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. England’s lockdown is to be reassessed once more in mid-February; should the situation show signs of improvement, only then can UK-based travelers expect to be able to travel once more.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories