Grant Shapps reveals countries on UK's red and green lists
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On Friday the Government confirmed holidays will resume from May 17, with travellers returning to the UK from specific “green list” nations free from self-isolating. Many airlines are now preparing to ramp up services, however have vowed not to fly holidaymakers to countries that are not on the “green list”.
What are the latest updates from Jet2, TUI, easyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic?
Jet2 says it is “committed” to resuming flights as of June 24, but does not plan to resume operation before then.
Following the Government’s “green list” announcement Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said he was “pleased” with the decision to “reopen international travel” but added there is “a long way to go to meet the huge demand” from customers.
“Despite ‘wanting to start looking outward again’ there is still a long way to go to meet the huge customer demand for our flights and ATOL protected package holidays, so we look forward to further positive news about where we can fly to in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We also look forward to important updates from the UK Government about a simple and affordable testing regime for customers.
“Following today’s announcement, our customers can travel on their well-deserved holidays to destinations on the Green List from June 24, and we expect a huge spike in searches and bookings to these destinations.
“We remain totally committed to our restart date of June 24.”
He continued: “If customers are booked to travel on June 24 onwards and their destination is not currently on the Green List, we kindly ask that they hold off from contacting us as we take the time to make considered decisions in the best interests of customers and independent travel agency partners from all parts of the UK.”
READ MORE: Red list countries: Turkey added to UK banned travel list – FULL list
TUI is pushing ahead with plans to resume flights and holidays from May 17.
Following the news Portugal has been added to the “green list”, TUI made the decision to add more weekly flights to Portugal and Madeira from London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
TUI is now offering an additional weekly flight to Madeira from London Gatwick and Manchester, every Friday from May 21 to October 29, and twice-weekly from Birmingham, every Monday and Friday from May 17 to October 29.
These extra flights open up the opportunity to book 10 and 11 night-holidays.
TUI will also launch an additional weekly flight from Bristol operating every Thursday from May 20 to October 28. These flights will complement the existing weekly flights already on offer from other UK airports on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the Summer.
Andrew Flintham managing director of TUI UK said: “These destinations have always been a firm favourite for Britons, so it’s no surprise demand has increased following speculation they could be available from May 17 without the need to quarantine on return.
“We own every element of the holiday programme, so are uniquely placed to respond to customer demand and add additional holidays to the most popular hotspots.
“We’ve also introduced new subsidised testing packages, which start from just £20 for green list destinations to help our customers get away for their long-awaited holiday.”
Customers will be offered the flexibility to change their holidays up to 14 days before travel if they no longer wish to fly.
TUI’s website adds: “If your destination changes to Amber within 14 days of travel, you will be able to amend up until the day before your departure.”
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Easyjet has continued to fly throughout the pandemic, though flights are subject to change. Customers are also advised to stay up-to-date on the current travel and entry restrictions in their destination country.
The airline also warns passengers may be subject to a variety of rules “including forms, quarantine and testing” so it is important to be aware of rules regarding their destination.
easyJet holidays has set out plans to resume from May 17.
Following the Government’s “green list” announcement, the airline issued a statement on its plans for the future.
Garry Wilson, CEO, easyJet holidays, said: “We’re looking forward to sending our customers away again on May 17, and that will make us one of the first major tour operators to restart travel.
“We want to provide as much flexibility and choice as we can so customers can make the right decision about their holiday, so we’re really pleased to have further enhanced what we’re able to offer this summer.
“We want to see many more countries on our ‘green’ list so, as the vaccination programme continues to be so successful, we look forward to the reviews and hearing more about continued government plans to make testing easier and more affordable.”
In order to boost confidence among customers, the airline continues to allow destination or date changes on holidays up to 28 days before travel without incurring a fee.
Furthermore, if a destination remains on the “red list”, easyJet holidays will cancel the booking and provide a full refund.
Ryanair has continued to operate to some destinations throughout the pandemic.
However, following the “green list” announcement the airline made the decision to add an additional 175,000 seats on flights to Portugal throughout the summer.
Seat prices start at just £19.99 on select dates.
“We are very pleased to announce 175,000 extra seats to Portugal on the back of the UK’s green list. With quarantine-free travel now permitted to the likes of Faro, Lisbon and Porto, even more flights have been added to our UK schedule in order to meet the demand from our customers,” said Ryanair’s director of marketing Dara Brady.
In a bid to provide peace of mind for travellers, Ryanair has dropped its flight change fees.
“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 October 31 2021,” reads a statement from Ryanair.
“You can now make up to two flight changes for travel by October 31 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 seven days before the original scheduled departure dates to avail of the promo.
“Fare and product price difference may apply.”
British Airways (BA)
British Airways has continued to operate a “reduced and dynamic” service throughout the pandemic.
The airline’s package holiday arm, meanwhile, is moving ahead with plans to resume flights from May 17.
BA is also set to launch three new routes to Portugal following the “green list” announcement.
In a statement, BA explained: “We will be flying from Manchester and Newcastle to Faro, operated by British Airways and Edinburgh to Faro, operated by BA Cityflyer.”
BA Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said: “We’re pleased that our customers are able to start travelling again to some countries, including Portugal, and we’ve put on additional flights from London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh to Faro to help people get moving.
“What’s clear is that with high levels of vaccination in the UK being matched by other countries, we should see more destinations going ‘green’ before the end of June.
“It’s disappointing to hear that despite the stringent safeguards introduced for travel from ‘amber list’ countries, the Government is now suggesting travellers avoid these.
“We cannot stress more greatly that the UK urgently needs travel between it and other low-risk countries, like the US, to restart the economy, support devastated industries and reunite loved ones.”
The airline is providing a “book with confidence commitment” for customers ensuring “flexibility”.
“Our book with confidence commitment means you have the option to change your booking date and destination or even cancel it completely,” the airline explains on its website.
“For bookings made on or after March 3 2020, for journeys that are due to have been completed by April 30 2022, you can change your booking or cancel your booking.”
Virgin Atlantic has operated some flights throughout the pandemic, however, its package holiday arm will resume holidays to some destinations from May 17.
The airline has introduced a “flexible booking policy” for customers.
“Our flexible booking policy gives you the freedom to book with confidence, knowing you can make changes if you need to, without any admin charges,” the Virgin Atlantic website states.
“For all flights and holidays up to April 30 2022, you can change your dates as often as you like. You can even choose a different destination or make one name change.
“You’ll just need to make sure you travel by April 30 2023 and make any changes before your original departure date (three weeks before your Virgin Holiday).”
However, the airlines’ bosses believe the “green list” has not gone far enough and is calling for the US to be added.
Virgin Atlantic commented: “The resumption of international travel from 17 May is an important step, but it fails to go far enough, given that economic recovery and 500,000 jobs are at stake. The lack of action now will result in the UK falling behind the EU’s reopening.
“There is no reason for the US to be absent from the ‘Green’ list. This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the UK’s successful vaccination programme.
“Further, travel to and from ‘green’ countries should be free of testing and quarantine.
“Vaccinated passengers travelling to ‘amber’ destinations should also be free from testing and quarantine, consistent with the approach to vaccinated passengers taken by the US and the EU.”
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