Boris Johnson says travel red list is under 'constant review'
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Package holidays could be one of the safest ways to travel this summer thanks to the protection offered in the event of cancellations. This may be particularly relevant once the Government’s traffic light system comes into force, which will see countries under “constant review” according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
International travel to some destinations, notably those on the “green list”, is set to return from May 17.
However, there remains an air of uncertainty around holidays, with the Prime Minister remaining tight-lipped on which countries will be quarantine free.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday evening, the PM said: “I’d love to be able to give you a clear rundown of the countries that we think will be red, amber or green.
“We won’t be able to do that at this stage.”
With May 17 just weeks away, what are the latest updates from package holiday providers including easyJet holidays, Jet2holidays, TUI, British Airways holidays and Virgin holidays?
In line with the Government’s plans to resume travel, TUI has cancelled all flights and holidays until May 16.
“Following the recent announcement from the UK Government, customers travelling from England will be subject to a new traffic light system with ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ destinations,” the travel provider said in a statement.
“It’s expected that international travel can resume from May 17 at the earliest.”
Holidays, including flight-only and accommodation-only bookings to Los Cabos, Mexico, and Kvarner Bay, Croatia, departing on or before October 31, are also cancelled.
The tour operator has stopped issuing credit notes and is instead offering cash refunds to all customers impacted by cancellations. Customers have until September 2021 to book their holidays.
In an update following the “traffic light” announcement, TUI explained: “Following the recent announcement from the UK Government, customers travelling from England will be subject to a new traffic light system with Green, Amber and Red destinations.
“We are yet to receive the full detail for each category, including what testing requirements may be needed and what colour your destination may be.”
It continued: “However, our TUI Holiday Promise for Green and Amber destinations remains the same for continued peace of mind. If prior to your departure date you know that you will need to quarantine on your return to the UK, you will have the option to change your holiday for free to another time.
“You’ll also be able to change your holiday for free if you’re unable to travel due to new testing or vaccination requirements.
“We won’t take people on holiday to destinations that will require you to quarantine on arrival or those on the Red List. In this instance, we will cancel your holiday and you will be able to amend to another date for free, or you can request a full refund.
“If we need to cancel any future holidays because of updated Government guidance, we will be in touch with you directly and will aim to give you at least seven days’ notice.”
The operator has extended its free changes policy to the end of July.
Customers due to travel between May 17 and the end of July are able to change their booking to a later date free of charge.
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easyJet holidays is due to resume some of its package holidays from May 17.
All holidays due to depart prior to May 17 are now cancelled.
“Currently, the Government has said that the planned restart date for international travel is still due to be 17 May and that’s the date we’re planning to start taking people away again,” the holiday provider said in a statement.
“The Government has also shared a little bit more about how holidays can be restarted again and the introduction of a traffic light system – they will share which traffic light colour destinations fall under in early May, so we’ll know even more then.
“We’re continually working through how COVID-19 may impact future bookings in departure date order.
“If your holiday becomes affected, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.”
As part of its protection promise, the airline vows to only take customers on “quarantine-free holidays” with the option to cancel if a holiday is impacted by travel restrictions “at home”.
Travellers will be entitled to a full refund if their holiday is cancelled by the operator.
Alternatively, customers can cancel their holiday and receive a full refund and their deposit back as credit so long as this is done 28 days before departure.
Customers can also enjoy the “freedom to change” their travel plans up to 28 days before departure without incurring a fee.
Jet2holidays made the decision to cancel all flights and holidays until June 24 following the Government’s “traffic light system” announcement.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2holidays and Jet2.com slammed the Government’s Travel Taskforce document outlining details of the “traffic light system”.
Speaking at the time, he said: “Following the publication of the framework today, we still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing. Rather than answering questions, the framework leaves everyone asking more.
“Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including June 23, 2021.”
In an updated statement on its website, Jet2holidays explained: “If you’re affected by any programme changes, we’ll automatically cancel your booking with a full refund and our team of travel experts will be in touch to help you book your summer getaway for later in the year. If you’re due to travel from 24 June 2021 onwards, we’ll provide an update closer to the time.”
British Airways Holidays
British Airways’ package holidays arm has cancelled all holiday plans up to May 17.
A BA spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “All affected customers will be contacted and offered a refund.”
In a statement, the travel provider added: “If we cannot fulfil a holiday, we’re committed to ensuring customers receive a full refund within 14 days.
“Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.”
Virgin Holidays the package holidays arm of Virgin Atlantic, is planning to resume from May 17.
In a statement on its website, the travel operator explained: “We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely and we’re continually reviewing the holiday schedule for May 17 onwards.
“All holidays up to and including May 16, 2021 are cancelled and customers have been contacted with their options, including a refund. Rest assured we will be in touch with your options if your holiday is affected.
“All Virgin Holidays customers booked to depart up until 30 April, 2022 may rebook their holiday up until 30 April, 2023 with the date change fee waived.”
Customers will automatically be provided with a digital voucher for the value of their drip, which can be redeemed up until September 30.
Customers can also request a cash refund.
Virgin Atlantic explained more destination-specific information would be available from May 17.
In an update, it explained: “Restrictions for inbound customers to England, such as Covid-19 testing and quarantine, will remain in place but apply differently depending on which destination you are arriving from.
“Each country will be categorised as ‘green’, ‘amber’ or ‘red’, with the UK Government confirming these country lists in early May, when they will also confirm if travel can resume from May 17.”
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