British jet-setters still have their fingers crossed in the hope a holiday this summer will be possible. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against all but essential international travel from the UK, but airlines are preparing to take holiday-makers onboard. Here’s when EasyJet, Ryanair and British Airways will be flying to a fuller schedule again.
EasyJet grounded its entire fleet and suspended commercial operations in March.
Since, the airline has only offered rescue flights to bring Brits home from abroad during the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 15, EasyJet resumed flights domestically from 10 UK airports, including Belfast (BFS), Birmingham (BHX), Bristol (BRS), Edinburgh (EDI), Glasgow (GLA), Inverness (INV), Isle of Man (IOM), Liverpool (LPL) London Gatwick (LGW) and Newcastle (NCL).
This has allowed the airline to stick to Government travel guidelines and avoid the two week isolation period in place for international travellers.
It also plans to resume some domestic operations in France, Switzerland, Portugal, and Spain.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lindgren said: “We will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want to fly.”
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The airline hopes to have 75 percent of its route network up and running by August.
All EasyJet passengers will need to stick to some guidelines when flying, though.
From now on those aged six and over will have to wear a mask on flights, unless you have a medical letter explaining why you are exempt.
You’ll also have to stow your own hand luggage and crew will be managing the use of toilets.
There is currently no catering service, but you will be given water on request.
Budget airline Ryanair resumed a limited flight schedule on June 20.
The airline is working with EU governments to keep a small amount of flights running in case of an emergency. However, 99 percent of its planes are still grounded.
From June 20, the airline is operating flights from Dublin to a number of areas in the UK, as well as Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Lisbon, and Cologne. There is also a flight from Cork to London.
From the UK, most flights leave from London Stansted. From here you can fly to areas within the UK and Ireland, and Eindhoven, Lisbon, Berlin, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, and Porto.
Ryanair announced on May 12 that it plans to resume 40 percent of its flights as of July 1, so look out for more flights to Spain and Portugal becoming available.
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Ryanair flights don’t come without restrictions, though.
You’ll have to wear a mask on flights, and maintain the correct distance from others.
If you need the toilet, you will need to ask staff for permission to prevent queues forming outside the toilets.
Food services are also going limited to pre-packaged snacks and drinks, and you must use a contactless method to pay for them.
British Airways announced that it is planning a “meaningful return to service” in July, but exactly when depends on FCO advice.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “These plans are highly uncertain and subject to the easing of lockdowns and travel restriction.”
The International Airlines Group (IAG) who own BA said it doesn’t think demand for flights will recover until 2023.
The airline probably won’t return to full capacity until this date, either. IAG expects BA to be operating at about 45 percent capacity in July, compared to the year before.
There are currently 29 long-haul routes on BA’s repertoire, and you are able to book flights leaving the UK as early as July 1.
If the July flights do go ahead, the airline has set regulations regarding personal protection and hygiene.
You’ll have to wear a mask and change it every few hours on the flight.
To maintain social distance, you will have to stay in your seat, if possible.
Onboard catering services will also be different, depending on your ticket type and what flight you are on.
Special meals, including children’s meals, will also be scrapped.