Jasmine Harman says she's stuck in Spain after cancelled flight
Airlines have faced a difficult year amid the coronavirus pandemic, with cancellations rife due to changing travel corridors and global entry restrictions. Last week, travel providers and consumers were served a “devastating” blow in the latest travel corridor change.
After bagging its spot as the only place in Spain on the travel corridor list, the Canary Islands was removed due to a sudden increase in coronavirus cases, particularly in Tenerife.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy the PC Agency described it as “utterly devastating news not only for consumers who booked #Xmas breaks but also for travel firms who benefited from the sales uplift.”
What are the latest updates from airlines following the news?
Unlike some airlines, British Airways (BA) has not responded to travel corridor changes by cancelling flights.
Instead, the airline says it is keeping its network and schedule under constant review.
The airline has a “confidence commitment” in place, allowing customers to have “flexibility” when booking flights.
“You can change the dates and destination of your booking without incurring a change fee, although you will need to pay any difference in price,” explains the BA website.
“If you decide you no longer want to travel, you can cancel your booking and we’ll give you a voucher to the same value for a future booking.”
Most recently, the British flag carrier announced it is trialling COVID-19 tests for passengers travelling on select flights from the USA to the UK, in partnership with American Airlines and airline alliance Oneworld.
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easyJet continues to operate a reduced service, though has made some changed to its schedule as a result of national and regional lockdowns both in the UK and abroad.
According to the airline’s website: “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.”
If part or all of a trip is cancelled by the airline, passengers will be notified directly via email.
They will be offered the opportunity to switch to another easyJet flight free of charge, opt for a voucher for the full value of their fare, or request a refund.
Customers due to fly to or from a destination during a period when the country or region is subject to local government lockdown restrictions they will have the option to switch to another easyJet flight for free or choose a voucher for the full value of their ticket.
easyJet holidays is also offering more options for customers who have travel booked trough the package holiday arm of the company.
Garry Wilson, chief executive officer at easyJet holidays, said: “This is yet more disappointing news for customers who were looking forward to a well-deserved holiday, especially so close to the festive period.
“And it’s a confusing situation as we wait to see if there will be any change to FCDO advice alongside the travel corridor lists update.
“We couldn’t leave our customers with uncertainty though, particularly where Christmas bookings are concerned, so we believe it’s the right thing to do to give our customers a choice about their holiday plans.
“This is why we’ve further flexed our industry-leading booking terms. We’re committed to doing all that we can to help our customers.
“And of course we support the need to put public safety first so we’re looking forward to seeing more detail on the Test to Release scheme when it’s announced.
“We hope it’ll mean some customers will be able to take advantage of it and still be able to travel as long as FCDO travel advice allows.”
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The budget carrier is one of the few airlines which has continued to serve a rather robust number of routes following the resumption of air travel after the first lockdown in March.
Ryanair has not responded to travel corridor changes with cancellations.
It has, however, dropped flight change fees for all new bookings made for travel before January 31, 2021.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has vowed the airline will be the “large EU low-fare airline” following the pandemic.
In order to achieve this, he says the Irish-carrier must offer “more aircraft.”
Last month, the airline has announced 24 additional flights from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and the UK which will begin on December 17.
TUI has responded rapidly to travel corridor changes in recent months, vowing it will not operate flights or holidays which are not on the Government’s “safe” list.
However, following the latest travel corridor change, TUI issued a new update for customers.
“We’re aware of the UK Government’s recent decision to remove the Canary Islands from the travel corridor list,” a TUI spokesperson told. Express.co.uk.
“TUI UK holidays are currently operating as planned.
“If you return from the Canary Islands any time after 04:00 Saturday 12th December you will need to quarantine for a maximum of 14 days, however from Tuesday 15th December the Test to Release programme will be available for customers returning to England.
“We advise customers to check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website for more information about this.”
The holiday provider is also offering “extra reassurance” to customers by allowing them to amend travel for free.
“If you have a booking made before 31 December 2020, travelling between 1 November 2020 and 30 April 2021, you can amend fee-free up until 21 days before departure,” states the TUI website.
“If your booking includes a non-TUI Airways flight, you’ll need to amend your holiday to one which includes a flight with the same carrier as your original booking.”
Previously, Jet2 has reacted quickly to travel corridor changes, contacting customers to update them on their flight status and provide them with their options.
However, the budget carrier has not yet released a statement regarding the latest travel corridor changes.
However, it has updated its website to inform passengers of the steps they must take before and after visiting the holiday hotspot.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some changes to entry requirements for arrivals into the Canary Islands,” states the Jet2 website.
It lists requirements for travellers including a PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure, downloading the SpTH app. and filling out an online form.
The airline adds that passengers must “Self-isolate in line with government guidance for arrivals into the UK from 4am on 12 December 2020”, with those in England having the option to “reduce the self-isolation period by paying to take a COVID-19 test.”
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