Tag Archives: restart

Boris Johnson hasn't 'given up on May 17' – holidays could restart with cheap tests

Prime Minister Boris Johnson[1] set out May 17 as the earliest date international travel[2] could resume. Yet, when speaking during an address to the nation on Monday, Mr Johnson showed some caution.
Since then, however, the PM has said he has “not given up” on his initial roadmap plans.

“We have to be realistic… we can’t do it immediately,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“A lot of the destinations that we want to go to at the moment are suffering a new wave of the illness, of COVID[3], as we know. We can’t do it immediately.

“But that doesn’t mean that we’ve given up on May 17.

READ MORE: Calder reveals places most likely to be on UK travel green list[4]

However, authorities are now looking into the possibility of low-cost lateral flow tests, in a bid to make holidays accessible to more people.

It comes after easyJet CEO Johan Lungren expressed concerns the Government’s testing for travel plans would make holidays out of reach for the average tourist.

Speaking previously during a live webinar as part of Aviation Week, Mr Lundgren said: “One should not underestimate the difficulties that I think testing provides for people from a cost perspective.

“I sometimes hear representatives from the industry arguing ‘let’s just put testing in place and then we should go’, well the truth of the matter is that particularly if we are looking at the cost of the PCR tests as an example.

“That is way prohibited for a family for four for instance to take these tests perhaps twice because you have to get it when you go to the destination and then also come back.

“In many cases, those costs are actually higher than the fare of the ticket.”

Mr Lundgren also told BBC Radio he does not believe testing should be required for “low-risk” European countries.

In response to this, Mr Johnson said: “The boss of easyJet is right to focus on this issue, we’re going to see what we can do to make things as flexible and as affordable as possible.”

On Monday, the Prime Minister pointed to a rise in cases of COVID-19 across Europe as a cause for concern.

We are hopeful we can get going from May 17 but I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulties we are seeing in some of the countries people are wanting to go to,” he said.

Despite this, he remains positive about the current data across the UK regarding COVID-19 cases and the vaccination rollout.

References

  1. ^ Boris Johnson (www.express.co.uk)
  2. ^ travel (www.express.co.uk)
  3. ^ COVID (www.express.co.uk)
  4. ^ Calder reveals places most likely to be on UK travel green list (www.express.co.uk)

Flights: easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2, BA & TUI updates ahead of travel restart announcement

Airlines around the world have faced uncertainty amid ongoing travel restrictions, with many forced to axe and amend itineraries. On April 5, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to unveil more information on his plans to restart international before the Global Travel Taskforce resume meeting on April 12.

Ahead of these key dates, what are the latest updates from UK airlines?

easyJet

Passengers who are impacted by cancellations will be contacted by the airline.

“If part/all of your trip is cancelled, you will be notified directly via email and informed of the options available to you,” the easyJet website detailed in its latest statement.

“We know that this has been a difficult and frustrating time for many of you who have had your travel plans disrupted, for those who may have had to wait on calls, or for those who faced difficulties booking onto rescue flights.

“As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be flying again. ”

The airline has also introduced a flexible cancellation policy for customers who may be impacted by travel or lockdown restrictions.

It explained: “Due to a number of countries across our network imposing national and regional lockdown restrictions, we appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing if you are due to fly with us and understand that you may wish to change your travel plans, so we are providing a number of flexible options.”

Passengers who are hoping to change travel plans must do so within two hours.

Ryanair

Ryanair[3] has continued to fly throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent months, however, airline bosses made the decision to reduce its capacity due to a decrease in passenger foot traffic.

Flight itineraries remain subject to change.

Customers who are impacted by cancellations are entitled to a full refund from the airline, or the options to rebook their journey for a later date.

However, customers who have simply changed their mind about travelling or can no longer fly on their booked journey will not be entitled to a refund if the flight is still going ahead.

Instead, passengers are welcomed to make use of the airline’s extended “no flight change fee”.

This means passengers can change the date and time of their journey twice without incurring a fee.

On its website, Ryanair explains: “We know your plans may change, so we’ve dropped our flight change fees for all new bookings made before 30 June 2021, for travel before 31 October 2021.

“You can now make up to two flight changes for travel by 31 October 2021. This gives you complete flexibility and peace of mind.

“Our Zero Change Fee promo is applicable for bookings made after 10 June 2020. Flight changes must take place at least 7 days before the original scheduled departure dates.”

Jet2

Jet2[7] has suspended all flights up to and including May 16 in line with the Prime Minister’s “roadmap” out of lockdown plans.

The airline is likely to provide an update following any new information released by the Government.

“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,” Jet2 said in a statement.

“If you’re due to travel from 17 May 2021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time.”

Customers who have booked their journey through a third party or online travel agent are advised to get in touch with them directly.

British Airways (BA)

British Airways[8] has continued to operate a “reduced” and “dynamic” schedule throughout the pandemic.

This means some flights could be cancelled or changed.

Customers impacted by cancellations will be entitled to a refund.

The BA website explains: “If your flight has been cancelled, we will contact you with your options. Alternatively, you can rebook or claim a voucher online.”

The airline recently cancelled more flights in line with its ongoing schedule changes.

A BA spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are sorry that, like other airlines, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic and global travel restrictions we are operating a reduced and dynamic schedule.”

Customers can also utilise BA’s “Book with Confidence” policy which allows passengers to “change or cancel” their plans.

BA recently announced plans to trial its own vaccine passport app named “VeriFLY”.

The app will provide information regarding a passengers vaccine status.

BA chief executive Sean Doyle said he hoped the move would “set an example” for other countries.

He added: “What we want to make sure is that we also take that leadership position into restoring travel and restoring the economy.”

TUI

All TUI[9] holidays departing from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including flight-only and accommodation-only bookings, due to depart on or before 16 May 2021 are currently cancelled.

Holidays, including flight-only and accommodation-only bookings to Los Cabos, Mexico, and Kvarner Bay, Croatia, departing on or before October 31, are now cancelled.

TUI is expected to give a new update on its plans for flights following the Prime Minister’s announcement on April 5.

In an updated statement the airline said: “We’re aware of the media reports regarding international travel not being able to take place before July 2021. “We’d like to reassure you that we’re working closely with the UK Government on the Global Travel Taskforce to re-instate international travel.

“It is our expectation that the Prime Minister will be giving an update on 5 April, and will then provide more detail about international travel on 12 April.

“The first and earliest date for travel, is still 17 May and we will continue to update our website as and when we know more.”

TUI has extended its “free changes policy” until the end of June.

Customers booked to travel between May 17 and the end of June can change their booking to a later date without incurring a charge.

For those who made their booking online, this can be done via the “Manage My Booking” portal.

Customers who booked their holiday in-store are able to contact the airline’s telephone centre to discuss their options.

As part of TUI’s “Holiday Promise” customers can change their holiday to another date or opt for a full refund if Government advice changes and it becomes illegal to travel abroad, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advised against non-essential travel abroad, or if new quarantine rules come in.

Cruise holidays won't recover for two years says Carnival boss – when do cruises restart?

Arnold Donald, chief executive of Carnival Corporation, told the Financial Times that the cruise industry will have to work doubly hard to attract first-time cruisers in a post-pandemic world.

What’s more, returning staff to ships is a long and tricky process.

For Carnival, which has 90,000 staff, it could take up to 45 days due to differing international travel restrictions and quarantines, Donald said.

As for ships sailing this year, the boss said: “[It] depends on so many variables, because every destination is going to have its own level of comfort and what regulations are going to be.”

READ MORE: Italy holidays: Latest FCDO update as Italy goes into lockdown

Holidays: Skyscanner expert warns May restart might not 'go to plan' – advice for booking

Many Britons may be eyeing holidays after the suggestion some international travel may resume from May if Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown goes to plan. However, this decision will be led by “data”, as well as restrictions and entry requirements decided by international governments.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Martin Nolan, a travel rules and consumer advice expert from Skyscanner shared his advice for Britons who are keen to get something in the diary now.

“Most people are still booking short term, which is a continuing trend from 2020. However, we are seeing interest for later in 2021 growing, especially following the announcement from the Prime Minister last week,” he told Express.co.uk.

“We expect to see the travel situation will change as infection rates, vaccination rates and a host of other key factors change throughout 2021.”

However, Mr Nolan warned the course to unlocking the UK and travel may not “go to plan”.

READ MORE: Package holidays: TUI, easyJet, BA, Jet2 and Virgin latest updates

“The recent announcements on travel from around the world have given travellers a much-needed injection of hope and positivity,” he said.

“We are confident about travel’s return in 2021 but, the last year has taught us all that life is unpredictable, and I think it is safe to assume that not everything will go to planned on the way back to ‘normal’ life.”

In 2020, travel providers and airlines were hit with a slew of cancellations and refunds amid ever-changing restrictions on travel.

As a result, many have since implemented special Covid policies, allowing consumers the opportunity for more flexibility when booking their next trip.

These policies are crucial for those eyeing a holiday in 2021.

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Cruise: Latest restart dates for March [COMMENT]

“Travellers are keen to make bookings which protect their money should the rules change,” continued Mr Nolan.

“We’ve seen keen travellers embracing flexible airfares from travel providers who have been combining flexibility with low prices to stimulate bookings.

“Flexible air fares paired with a hotel booking with free cancellation means that travellers can delay their trip or simply change their destination and keep their travel dates should they need to.”

The expert continued: “There are a few ways travellers can protect their bookings.

Furthermore, the Skyscanner expert suggests combing flex-fares may even help cut costs.

“This can sometimes be much cheaper than package holidays and of course, allows for a personally tailored trip,” he said.

Even with the emergence of more flexibility within the travel industry, it seems there is still one safety measure which trumps the rest.

“It’s key to purchase a travel insurance policy that suits your needs; there are policies which have been designed for post-coronavirus travel and it’s important to read the small print,” Mr Nolan urged.

“If you’re able to make the booking on a credit card you will get additional protections via your card issuer.” 

While the exact date overseas holidays will resume remains unknown, the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is set to be reinstated next month.

Throughout the process of loosening restrictions, the Prime Minister has warned the nation will be lead by “data” rather than “dates”.

Camping, caravan & staycation latest holiday restart dates – Center Parcs, Butlins & more

Hoseasons

Following the PMs’s announcement, Hoseasons issued an update to its website.

It has set out how specific rules for England, Wales and Scotland where opening dates currently vary due to devolved Government restrictions.

For customers with holiday plans in England, holidays will be cancelled up to and including April 11.

The website states: “During national lockdown and in Step one, holiday accommodation is not permitted to open in England.

“We have emailed all customers with a booking in England that are due to travel on or before April 11 2021 with their options, which include the choice of a refund or a voucher of the amount paid for the booking. Please refer to that email to make your choice.”

From April 12, single households will be permitted to travel to self-catered accommodation.

Hoseasons adds: “In Step three, domestic overnight stays will be permitted provided that the party size is no greater than six people (from up to six households) or is no more than two households (of any size).

“We have emailed all customers that we believe are affected by this rule with the option to reduce party size or cancel for a refund or voucher.

“If you have not received an email from us, and you are unable to use your booking in compliance with the household/party size restrictions or updated government guidance, please contact us to discuss your options, which will include the choice between a refund and a voucher of the amount paid for your booking.”

Customers in Wales will have their holiday cancelled if it was due to go ahead on or before March 12.

Hoseasons has assured it will email options to guests, including the choice of a refund or a voucher of the amount paid.

“If you have a booking on or after 13 March 2021, rest assured that we will be in touch with the options available to you closer to the time,” adds the holiday provider.

Holidays due to go ahead in Scotland are cancelled up to and including April 25.

CoolCamping

CoolCamping is a platform which allows holidaymakers to book camping, glamping and caravan holidays from a number of independent providers.

As a result, many of the parks it covers have set out differing plans for when they will be safety reopening.

CoolCamping is keeping its website up-to-date in line with the latest news and regulations to help customers.

Following the latest announcement, CoolCamping updated the travel advice on its website.

It explained: “Accommodation with self-contained facilities may be permitted to re-open from no earlier than April 12, subject to the state of the pandemic at the time.

“However, this is only for individuals or individual household groups.

“Accommodation with shared facilities, plus other hospitality and tourism venues may be allowed to open from no earlier than May 17, with a limit of up to six people or two households holidaying together.”

It added no specific dates have been announced for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but the firm will update the website once new information is available.

Cruise: Latest restart plans from P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean & more – March update

Marella

Marella Cruises, owned by TUI, has announced sailings due to depart on or before May 16, 2021, have been cancelled.

“If your booking can’t take place due to COVID-19, we’ll be in touch as far in advance as possible to discuss your options with you,” said TUI.

“This will be done in departure date order.”

MSC Cruises

MSC has resumed some operations out of Italy as of January 24, however, are only accepting guests who are residents in Schengen countries.

In an updated statement the cruise line said: “Following the UK government’s briefing on the nations’ roadmap to recovery in which they outlined international travel restrictions will not ease before May 17th, MSC Cruises UK & Ireland has taken the decision to cancel the majority of our sailings until 31st May 2021, for our UK and Irish guests only.

“A report is expected from the Global Travel Taskforce on 12th April and we hope that this report will further support our optimistic outlook for Summer 2021 but in the meantime, we must ensure we study the new framework and to ensure our guests can have a seamless return to holidaying with MSC Cruises.”

Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises UK managing director, previously said: “MSC Cruises is ready to welcome British and Irish residents when the guidance changes. We are working closely with CLIA and the relevant authorities to enable British and Irish guests to be welcome back on board our ships when the time is right.”

Norwegian Cruise Line

All Norwegian Cruise Line cruises up to and including May 31, 2021, are cancelled

Customers who have had their holidays cancelled will receive a future cruise credit worth 125 percent of the cost paid. This is valid until December 31, 2022.

Customers who no longer wish to sail will be able to request a refund of the fare paid.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has updated its restart date to June following the Prime Minister’s “roadmap” out of lockdown.

In a statement, the cruise line explained: “Following the UK Government briefing on Monday showing the roadmap back for hospitality and travel, we await more clarity on likely dates for domestic and international cruising.

“While we seek additional clarification to fully understand the requirements and impact of the briefing, and to minimise any potential further disappointment, we have temporarily stopped selling all cruises that are due to depart before 21 June 2021.”

Guest impacted by the latest changes will be offered a voucher worth 125 percent of their original booking which can be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022.

Cruise: Expert predicts when cruise holidays will restart – potentially as soon as May

Mr Coulter said: “If you ask me how long will cruising restart? My answer would be it has already restarted I think in Europe, we will see.

“I think we will see cruising restart quite significantly. Cruising is important to the economy. There is a demand for it.”

He continued: “It all depends on the R number and all depends on the vaccination rollout.

“I think once you’re at that point, then then we will see cruising restart and also small ship cruising.

“I think the other thing is we will see river cruising come back quite significantly across Europe, particularly specific countries.

“I can see Portugal, I can see the Douro coming back, maybe even by late April.

“I can see the German rivers coming back in May. I think we’ll see a decent rivers season because small ships is a completely different beast from the big ones.”

For ocean cruises, however, it may be somewhat of a longer wait.

“Ocean cruising in the UK, I think will happen this year,” predicted Mr Coulter.

“But I’d be really reluctant to give a date. Maybe the summer to hedge my bets.”

While Mr Coulter is confident summer sailings will return, he says he is “hesitant” to put an exact date for a number of reasons.

“The issue in the UK is that we’re governed at the moment by FCDO rules which actually has an explicit travel advisory against cruising,” he explained.

“The only way cruising will restart is if that’s lifted.”