UK hotel quarantine 'won't make much difference' says Calder
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Many airlines have been forced to stay grounded amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Though some are now operating limited journeys for essential travel, the latest rule in a growing list of travel restrictions has come into force.
Hotel quarantine kicks off today, which will see arrivals from “high risk” countries being held in Government approved accommodation for their 10 days of self-isolation.
What are the latest updates for airlines including British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, TUI and Jet2?
British Airways (BA) has continued to fly limited flights, and will still operate a “reduced” and “dynamic” schedule amid the tightened travel rules. The airline has issued an update for its passengers who are due to fly into the UK from one of the 33 “high risk” nations now subject to hotel quarantine.
A statement on the BA website reads: “From 15 February, the UK government is introducing new measures at the UK borders, including testing, self-isolation and hotel quarantine requirements for arrivals from some destinations.
“For more information on these measures, including details on how to arrange COVID-19 tests and guidance on quarantining, please visit the UK Government’s website.”
Passengers who no longer wish to fly are able to “change or cancel” their plans thanks to BA’s new “Book with Confidence” policy.
Though the airline has not made sweeping cancellations, it warns some flights may be impacted by changing itineraries.
“If your flight has been cancelled, we will contact you with your options. Alternatively, you can rebook or claim a voucher online,” explains the British Airways website.
easyJet flights continue to operate on a reduced schedule.
The airline has not cancelled any flights directly linked to the latest restrictions, however, it’s “Protection Promise” allows customers to transfer their flight without charge if they may be “impacted by new quarantine requirements”.
Customers whose flight is cancelled due to the reduced itinerary will be contacted by easyJet directly.
The easyJet website explains: “If part/all of your trip is cancelled, you will be notified directly via email and will be informed of your options.
“[These] include switching to an another easyJet flight for free (this includes the option to select a different arrival and departure airport within the same country of the original booking if you wish), choosing a voucher for the value of your ticket or requesting a refund, all of which you will be able to manage yourself online via Manage bookings on easyJet.com or on the easyJet app.”
The latest update from easyJet, posted at the end of January, states: “We are planning to operate as many flights as possible over the coming days.
“Due to a number of governments imposing travel entry bans on flights arriving from certain countries, or imposing travel restrictions on passengers who are non-residents or non-citizens of the respective countries, we appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing you and understand that you may wish to change your travel plans.”
easyJet is allowing passengers to utilise its “Flight Protection Promise” giving customers the freedom to transfer their flights without a fee up to 14-days before departure if they change their mind about flying.
Customers who are impacted by quarantine may change their flight without paying a fee at any time before departure.
Passengers impacted by a lockdown or travel ban may transfer to a new departure date, opt for a voucher for future travel, or request a full refund.
The airline also guarantees to make it “easy” for customers to request a cash refund or voucher if their flight is cancelled.
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Ryanair has updated its website to include travel information for passengers who may be impacted by the latest Government restrictions.
On its website, the airline explains: “Everyone must complete an online Passenger Locator Form before arrival in the United Kingdom.”
It also provides links to the Government website for travellers arriving from “high risk” countries from February 15.
Passengers who are due to travel are advised to “check with the relevant authorities before you fly”.
Though Ryanair has not cancelled any flights in direct relation to the new hotel quarantine rule, it has made the decision to slash its planned itinerary in the coming months due to a drop in passenger traffic.
In a press release, the airline stated there will be “few if any, flights being operated to or from Ireland or the UK from the UK from the end of January until such a time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed”.
The cutbacks will also see the airline dropping its full-year traffic forecast from “below 35 million” to between 26 million and 30 million.
Customers who are impacted by cancellations will be contacted “as soon as possible” by text or email.
Those who have had their flight cancelled by Ryanair will be entitled to a full refund or the option to rearrange their flight.
Passengers who simply want to change their plans will not be entitled to a refund but can reschedule their flight for a later date for no added cost.
Jet2 made the decision last week to further cancel flights amid the ongoing changes to travel restrictions.
Previously, the airline said flights and holidays would return by the end of March.
However, this date has since changed to April 14.
All customers impacted by cancellations will be contacted directly by the airline and issued a refund of the amount paid.
In a statement on Twitter, Jet2 said: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty and travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 14 April 2021.
“Where customers yet to travel are affected by any programme changes, our industry-leading and prompt refunding of over £1bn has been widely praised, and we will continue to automatically cancel affected bookings with a full refund.”
The airline is working in departure date order. Customers with bookings from April 15 will be updated nearer the time.
TUI made the decision to cancel all flights and holidays until mid-March due to the ever-changing restrictions surrounding travel.
The holiday provider has not yet released any information on how hotel quarantine could impact future flights.
The latest airline statement says: “Due to the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions in place all TUI holidays up to and including March 7, 2021, have been cancelled.
“Customers will be contacted in departure date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.”
“We will constantly review our holiday programme in line with updated travel advice.”
A spokesperson added: “We’re aware of the Government’s announcement regarding mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals to the UK from ‘red list’ countries from February 15.
“As we’re currently not operating, we’re working through what this means for our holiday programme and we’ll be contacting any impacted customers as soon as we have more information.”
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