Categories
Travel

Flights: Passengers ‘can’t change seats’ on planes amid stringent new airline rules

Airlines have had to implement new safety and sanitation measures to make customers feel more comfortable taking flights. Face masks, cleaning procedures and limited human contact are just some of the ways in which airlines are trying to give their customers peace of mind. And now, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that changing seats on a flight may be a thing of the past.

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Economy-class passengers on flights that are not full were always able to move from assigned seats once take off had occurred and seatbelt lights had been switched off.

But now anyone trying to move seats could be issued a stern warning from cabin crew.

Even though there is likely to be extra space on board flights, passengers are assigned to their own place.

IATA has introduced the mandatory measures for when aviation restarts.

Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security, said confirmed the new changes.

He said: “Once you are in your seat, you can’t change any more.”

Seating records and passenger tracing mean that they will be able to trace passengers more easily, especially after they leave the plane.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said: “The prompt availability of passenger locator data is extremely important for the success and effectiveness of contact tracing operations in order for public health authorities to identify and notify people who were sitting in close proximity to an infected case and to give them advice accordingly.”

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IATA has also supported the wearing of face coverings for passengers and crew members while on board planes.

However, they do not support social distancing by leaving middle seats on planes empty.

They also said that evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on planes is relatively low.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said passenger safety is key when people start flying again.

He said: “The safety of passengers and crew is paramount.

“The aviation industry is working with governments to re-start flying when this can be done safely.

“Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low. And we will take measures—such as the wearing of face coverings by passengers and masks by crew—to add extra layers of protection.

“We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable.

“One without the other will have no lasting benefit.”

Ryanair recently announced new safety measures for its flights which they hope will start from July 1.

Some of the procedures include checking in online, wearing a mask at all times, checking temperatures before flying and planes being cleaned regularly.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has previously criticised the Government for it’s implementation of a 14-day quarantine period for anyone flying into the UK from abroad.

The measures will be put in place from June 8 but will exclude those flying from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

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Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP hits ‘one-week high’ amid new hope for COVID-19 vaccine

The pound to euro exchange rate has managed to stay above the 1.12 handle so far this week which, pushing it to a one-week high. Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine in various locations across the world has given investors more confidence. The pound is now currently trading at a rate of 1.1244 against the euro according to Bloomberg at the time of writing.

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Yesterday, the pound was trading below the 1.12 handle at a rate of 1.1191 percent against the euro.

Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk to provide exclusive insight into the current exchange rate.

Mr Brown said: “Sterling gained ground on Tuesday, rising to a one-week high, above the 1.12 handle, as the pound rallied in line with a broad improvement in risk appetite; with investors becoming increasingly upbeat about the economic reopening and the prospects for a coronavirus vaccine.

“Today, those factors are likely to remain the main drivers of price action, with the data calendar presenting little in the way of impactful releases.”

However, despite the good news it seems the UK’s own economic strain is still very much the focus of discussion and has impacted risk appetite dramatically.

Current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice states that “all but essential travel” is prohibited.

This will continue to remain in place for an “indefinite” period of time.

The advice paired with the UK’s upcoming quarantine rules – set to begin on June 8 – has thrown the travel and tourism industries into a tailspin.

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Emma Coulthurst from price comparison site TravelSupermarket said that although there is a desire to travel, most people are not booking this year but for next year, meaning that the tourism sector in multiple countries could be set to lose more money.

She said: “We know that there is a pent-up desire to travel.

“We’re seeing people searching for holidays later in the year, October being the most popular month to look for a holiday.

“As the picture becomes clearer on the exact health protocols put in place at airports and on airlines and whether our Government and countries will let us travel, more people are likely to book for this year.

“Currently, though, we’re seeing more Britons hedging their bets on holidays next year”.

Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG said last week that the economic situation in Europe is slowly improving.

He said: “While the situation in Europe is improving, according to PMI data, markets are looking tired once again.

“What was a straight-line move higher in late March has turned into a grinding contest of attrition between the bulls and bears, and while the buyers have the upper hand for now, expectations of a sharp pullback are on the rise.

“Having reiterated their ability to do more if needed, central banks have now little to do but wait to see how the data, both economic and infection rates, plays out; in this environment, modest improvements compared to last month’s dire readings are unlikely to provide much fuel for further gains in stocks.”

He added that despite the UK’s figures improving, there is still “very little data to go on”.

He continued: “Some improvement in the UK figures has bolstered the pound as well, as cable looks to continue its recovery from Monday’s lows.

“But with so little data to go on, we are essentially still very much in the dark.

“Until lockdowns are fully ended the data tells us little apart from the fact that economies are operating at a fraction of their overall capacity, something that can be gleaned merely from going for a walk outside.”

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Travel

Campsites reopen: Camping poses ‘much less risk’ says expert, sparking hope for holidays

Camping, caravans and UK holidays may well be the breaks of the future, as travel restrictions remain in place and quarantine rules regarding international travel come into force next month. But now, the UK Government’s deputy chief medical officer might have sparked hope for British tourists wanting a holiday in the UK. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said that being outdoors is “biological truism” meaning that it is safer to be outdoors than in an enclosed space.

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Prof Van-Tam made the comment during the UK Government’s daily press conference yesterday.

He said: “It is absolutely a biological truism that outdoor environments are much less risk than indoor environments.”

However, he warned that opening campsites has to be thought about carefully.

He added: “Of course that will need some careful thinking about because sharing a tent is a small enclosed space or can be a small enclosed space with generally poor conditions of ventilation and I guess it depends who you are sharing it with.

“It is the same for a caravan, so it is not a straightforward as it might sound – indoors vs outdoors, hotels vs campsites, it is a little more complex than that.

“I will begin to give that some careful thought.”

According to one camping website, bookings have already reportedly increased in the UK for camping holidays.

Online campsite guide and reservations site, Cool Camping, announced that it has actually seen an increase in people booking for July, August and September.

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The company began receiving more interest after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his last announcement on May 10.

Founder of the company Jonathan Knight explained the reason why campsites may be able to open first.

Mr Knight told the MailOnline: “Most campsites have large spaces between pitches, so applying social distancing isn’t much of an issue.”

The UK Government recently announced that all visitors travelling to the UK from abroad will be subject to 14 days in quarantine.

On arrival, they will have to provide details of where they will be staying.

Visitors will then be told to remain at that location for 14 days.

After the 14 days are complete, they will then be allowed to mix with the general population.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed yesterday that the new rules may not come into play until “early next month”.

Mr Shapps also revealed in the House of Commons yesterday that “air bridges” could be a future travel option between the UK and low-risk countries.

Mr Shapps said that the Government is in “active discussions” over introducing “air bridges” which will allow people entering the UK from countries with an ‘R’ rate lower than 1.0 to be exempt without having to be put into quarantine.

He said in the Commons: “It is the case that we should indeed consider improvements for example ‘air bridges’ enabling people from other areas, other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country.

“Those are active discussions that will go beyond what will initially be a blanket situation.”

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Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: Sterling ‘gains ground’ on weak euro after ECB court ruling

The pound managed to push past the 1.14 handle yesterday after a German court ruling declared that the ECB’s asset purchasing had to be proven necessary in the next three months. But with no major announcements today, investors remain focussed on Mr Johnson’s lockdown exit strategy which will be announced on Sunday. The Bank of England (BoE) is also set to make fresh policy decisions in a meeting tomorrow as it assesses the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

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To soften the blow to the UK economy, the BoE announced a wide range of measures at the beginning of the crisis which included interest rates plunging to an all-time low of 0.1 percent.

Currently, experts are waging that no policy changes will be made but as the UK’s coronavirus death toll peaks to the highest in Europe, this could soon change.

The pound is currently trading at a rate of 1.1490 against the euro according to Bloomberg at the time of writing.

Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk to provide exclusive insight into the current exchange rate.

He said: “Sterling gained ground against a weaker euro on Tuesday, breaking above the 1.14 handle, after a German court ruling on the legality of the ECB’s asset purchase programme left market participants somewhat doubtful over the central bank’s ability to continue providing a backstop to the eurozone debt markets.

“Today, one can expect relatively rangebound conditions, as investors look ahead to tomorrow’s BoE decision, and continue to await Prime Minister Johnson’s address laying out a ‘roadmap’ for exiting the lockdown.”

Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at IG, a global leader in online trading said the German court’s ruling on the ECB had hit risk appetite in the markets.

He said: “It has been a volatile morning for European equities, as investors attempt to work out the implications of a German court decision.

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“Initial gains for European markets have been reversed as the German constitutional court throws a spanner in the works of the ECB’s monetary easing.

“As constitutional experts scramble to work out what the ECB will have to do in order to satisfy the hardliners in the German court, markets have seen a hit to risk appetite, as once again the potentially-fatal weakness of the eurozone system comes into play.

“Without a single authority to implement fiscal decisions, the nations of the eurozone must find common ground, making coherent and, importantly, rapid policy-making difficult at best.

“The decision was hardly unexpected, which accounts for the weakness in the euro before the decision this morning, but the cautious atmosphere in European assets could easily spread if investors fear that the co-ordinated global response to the pandemic is beginning to fray.

“Oil prices have continued their surge, with WTI pushing above $22 and providing further support for embattled oil stocks.

“This looks like an ongoing ‘reset’ in sentiment which ultimately leaves the general market outlook unchanged; everyone was clearly too bearish down at $10 and lower, but with the price up almost three-fold from its April low the polar opposite risk now looms – storage constrains and oversupply problems have not disappeared, while demand is only set to recover modestly.

“Buyers of oil now risk being very late to the party.

“Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start at 23,870, up 121 points from Tuesday’s close.”

Coronavirus cases have hit over 3.7million worldwide with almost 260,000 deaths.

The deadly virus is expected to have dealt a massive blow to the global economy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the global economy is likely to shrink by three percent this year.

The IMF has described this as being the worst decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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Categories
Travel

Hand luggage: Top experts reveal the one clothing item that’s vital for ‘travel mishaps’

Hand luggage is a vital part of packing for a flight abroad especially with the numerous restrictions in place. It’s important that you not only pack what you need but also adhere to the cabin luggage allowance and follow the liquid rules in place. But sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you need until a travel emergency occurs on your holiday, or even worse, on your flight.

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With that in mind, The Trip Sisters, Colleen Kelly and Catie Keogh revealed not only how to pack your luggage but the one clothing item you should include in your hand luggage that’s vital for travelling abroad.

Host, Creator and Executive Producer of the popular Emmy-nominated National PBS Television Series, ‘Family Travel with Colleen Kelly’, Colleen is a trusted voice in the travel industry and has become a well-known family travel expert in the US.

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Catie is an Emmy Award-winning Host and Executive Producer who is co-host – with her sister Colleen – of the television and radio show, ‘Trip Sisters’.

Together, the duo have become the tour de force of travel, culture and food, with an impressive knowledge of the best hacks and tips for packing your luggage.

The Trip Sisters’ main piece of advice is to pack luggage by the day.

They said: “If you plan on travelling to different places, pack your luggage by the day.

“This way, you’ll only have to dig into one suitcase instead of rummaging around multiple ones.

“Also, (and this is an obvious one) roll your clothes to avoid wrinkles and allow yourself more space in your suitcase.”

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Catie also revealed the key items she simply can’t travel without, which includes an innovative clothing hack.

Some of her favourite tips include the ‘Me Makeover Essentials Travel Makeup Kits’ and always bringing a dark coloured scarf with her on flights.

She added: “The dark colour helps if you have any travel mishaps and the scarf can double as a blanket in flight.”

Meanwhile, Colleen prefers her creature comforts so she can feel at home while away.

She revealed that she always brings her pillow from home so she can be comfortable wherever she travels.

But she explained that when you bring your own pillow, there is always one thing you have to remember.

She added: “Make sure to use a brightly coloured pillow case so you don’t get it mixed up with the hotel pillows!”

And in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, one top tip that the sisters shared for travelling in the future is thinking about the health of yourself and your travel companions.

They said: “Take yours and your travelling companion’s health and age into consideration.

“Any time you travel abroad, there are more risks than travelling domestically.

“You’ll likely have a longer flight, be in unfamiliar territory, and be investing more money.”

They added: “Also, be sure to bring any medications (even aspirin or allergy medicine) with you as they can be hard to get abroad.”

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Cruises

Cruise secrets: Cruise ship staff reveal their worst moments onboard liners

Cruise ship holidays offer passengers the chance to explore different destinations and holiday spots around the world. The cruise ship experience is like a floating hotel where passengers can enjoy days out in different destinations and return to their rooms for a good night’s sleep.

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But sometimes things do go wrong on cruises – especially onboard a ship with thousands of people.

Former cruise ship crew workers have now revealed some of their worst experiences onboard cruise ships.

Social media and forum site, Reddit, saw a question posted by one user who asked cruise ship workers what their worst moments on board the ships “that passengers didn’t find out about”.

The post was inundated with replies from cruise ship workers who revealed some of their worst experiences – from the embarrassing to the hilarious.

One user said: “A water pipe burst in a store room and soaked ALL of the spare toilet paper.

“This was on day two of a 14 day voyage to Antarctica.

“The cabin stewards had to swap around rolls of paper between ‘low use’ and ‘high use’ guest cabins and it came right down to the wire.

“None of the guests found out or realised.

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“Now toilet paper is hidden in every cabin instead of a centralised location.”

Another crew ship member said that bad weather sometimes causes problems on board cruise ships.

They said: “I was a cruise ship worker for a few years and on a route between two cities there was a really bad storm.

“So a few minutes after the passengers got off, the storm got so rough that the ship was ripped off the docks and drifted out to sea.

“Because it takes quite a while to start up the engines it took some time until we got back to the harbour.

“Not really dangerous, but if it had happened while the passengers were de-boarding it could have gone badly.”

One crew member said that fires could happen on cruise ships without passengers finding out.

They said: “I worked on a cruise ship for two and a half years and we had three major fires.

“They were all in crew areas and were controlled and extinguished by our awesome fire team.

“The passengers never knew what happened, only that their waiter had to leave in the middle of dinner service.”

Another former crew member said that sometimes the crew get a little carried away when they party.

They said: “I used to be a crew member, and one time a guy working at the front desk jumped overboard after a crew party.

“He was found a few hours later by the coast guard.

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Categories
Travel

Holidays: The hottest destinations for a Winter break away after lockdown

Summer holidays look very unlikely to be going ahead this year as the UK remains under stringent lockdown. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also advised against all but essential travel “indefinitely”, which means jumping on a plane anytime soon is not on the cards. But as coronavirus cases decrease across the UK, and other countries like Spain begin to slowly lift their lockdown restrictions there is hope that Britons may be able to go abroad in the winter.

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While there is no evidence that the FCO may change their advice this year, there is definitely no harm in planning your next holiday abroad.

And while holidays in Europe and other close destinations might be the same temperature as the UK in the Autumn and Winter months, there are some destinations across the world where you can still enjoy a hot, sunny break away.

Here’s a list of the best destinations for a winter break post-coronavirus.

The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands is probably the closest destination to the UK that still has reasonably warm temporaries in the Winter.

If you don’t fancy a long-haul flight and more than a week away, then this is the place for you in the Winter.

With islands such as Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, there is plenty to choose from too.

Temperatures tend to fall only slightly below 20C (68F) which is perfect for those who don’t like blistering heat but want to relax on a beach.

Lanzarote offers stunning volcanic scenery while Gran Canaria is known for its huge sandy beaches.

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Mexico

Surprisingly, Winter is actually the coolest time of year in Mexico yet temperatures still remain well above UK averages.

The Caribbean coastline is sunny with temperatures hitting 30C (86F) most days.

Cancun is a great destination for those looking for a city break with vibrant bars and nightclubs with the opportunity to explore ancient Mayan sites.

Cape Verde

Similar to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde is a cluster of volcanic islands just west of Africa but with warmer temperatures.

In the midwinter, the temperatures can range from 21C (69.8F) to 26C (78.8F).

The warmer weather does mean that the islands are a little further away than the Canary Islands – a six-hour flight instead of four.

But once you’re there, you can spend your time relaxing on white, sandy beaches or hiking in the mountains.

Morocco

Just out of Europe is the mystical land of Morocco which is home to the enticing city of Marrakech.

Despite being outside of Europe, flights are relatively short and cost very little in the Winter.

Your stay is guaranteed to be sun-soaked and rich with culture as the city’s labyrinthine souks offer the weary traveller all the souvenirs you could possibly want.

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Categories
Travel

Cruises: The sad reason cruise lines will ‘tank’ after COVID-19 – it’s not what you think

The cruise industry has been left financially strained after many travellers around the world have been forced to cancel or rebook their plans. Holidaymakers have been left wondering when they will be able to go on their next cruise voyage as lines have been forced to push back their embarkment dates.

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Recently, the CDC extended its “no sail” order for cruise ships amid the coronavirus for at least “100 days”.

The order was extended at the beginning of the month stating that cruise ships can’t board passengers and return to their sailing schedules until three necessary steps are put in place.

The steps include the expiration of the coronavirus being a public health emergency, the CDC director rescinding his no-sail decision and a new order published in the Federal Register.

Now, around 100 ships in the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf of Mexico remain idle with 80,000 crew on board.

And one travel expert has revealed why the cruise industry may suffer more than other travel industries.

Travel and content writer Pola Henderson spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the sad reason why cruise lines could struggle more than other modes of travel.

The founder of innovative travel site Jetting Around, explained that cruise lines’ target demographic and perhaps their biggest proportion of customers might be the reason the cruise industry could “tank”.

She said: “I believe some cruise lines will tank.

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“I don’t think all of them will survive.

“The reason there will be a smaller demand is because you are in a confined space and I think people will be very aware of that, maybe even afraid of that.

“So I think cruise ships will have a hard time attracting new customers.”

However, Pola then explained that the cruise industry is fortunate enough to have a dedicated customer-base who will be more than happy to get back out on the waters.

“There is a group of people who are ‘cruisers’ who love it and this is their thing,” she said.

She continued: “They will likely try to get back on a ship as soon as they can – as soon as we have the green light that it’s okay and as long as there are policies in place and everything is cleaner than before.

“As sad as this sounds, when it comes to the demographic of a cruise ship passenger, a huge chunk of that is the elderly and retirees.

“And let’s not forget who is very much impacted by the virus.

“I think the virus will make the numbers smaller.

“We are looking at so many deadly cases.

“And it really pains me to say this but I think cruises will lose some customers and have a hard time attracting new ones.”

But despite the cruise industry’s current situation, Pola believes there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re talking about ocean and sea cruises but I think perhaps river cruises may be a different story.”

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Categories
Travel

Thailand travel: Government extends travel ban for tourists to curb coronavirus

Thailand is known for its white, sandy beaches and vibrant culture, making it a popular holiday destination for Britons. From backpackers to holidaymakers, the destination is great for those wanting a long stay or a fleeting visit. Bordering on Myanmar and Vietnam, the country is especially popular with those travelling around Indonesia.

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In fact, British nationals make over one million visits to Thailand every year.

But now, Thailand has extended its travel ban for Britons and other tourists due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The nation has extended its ban on incoming passenger flights until the end of April.

The move is supposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).

The travel ban was first introduced until April 4, but it has already been readjusted until April 18.

Thailand has had 2,643 cases which includes just over 100 deaths.

Although the coronavirus hasn’t hit the country as hard as other countries, Thailand is missing out on a huge amount of money from the tourism industry.

Thailand is expected to lose 1.3 trillion baht (over £32billion) from tourism alone.

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The huge impact is mainly due to the initial hit of the coronavirus pandemic.

An estimate from the Thai Bankers’ Association said that this figure will increase if the crisis lasts much longer.

However, there is some positive news for the country.

Earlier this month, the nation’s interior minister said that Thailand will re-open borders in 21 provinces on Saturday after closing them in late March.

This will allow Thai people in countries that share borders to return home.

But there are still strict limits on how many people can actually enter each day.

Up to 100 people will be allowed to enter one border checkpoint each day, but they will then have to be in quarantine for 14 days.

The nation also borders Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising British nationals against all non-essential international travel.

The FCO’s advice for Thailand is states that all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thailand-Malaysia border is banned.

The provinces include Pattani, Sala, Narathiwat and the Southern Songkhla province.

However, this does not include, “areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.”

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Categories
Travel

Ryanair flights: Airline extends repatriation flights for stranded Britons stuck abroad

Ryanair and many other airlines are trying to rescue foreigners trapped abroad who wish to return home. Now, the affordable airline has decided to extend its limited flight schedule until April 23. The airline’s last update said that they would be running limited flights until April 16.

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However, the airline has said it is still complying with travel restrictions.

The airline made the announcement today on Twitter.

They said: “We are working with EU Governments to keep some minimum flight links open for emergency travel reasons – and this limited schedule will be extended until April 23.

“Full details of these flights can be found on http://ryanair.com.”

The airline’s press release explained that the aircrafts are disinfected daily and that they will be ready to return to a normal flying schedule once coronavirus is “defeated”.

The announcement read: “As most EU countries have imposed flight bans or other restrictions, over 90 percent of Ryanair’s aircraft are grounded for the coming weeks.

“We will comply with these restrictions at all times.

“We are working with EU Governments to try to keep some minimum flight links open for emergency reasons, even though the passenger loads on these flights is very low.

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“We are today (Tue 14 Apr) extending this limited schedule by a week to Thurs 23 Apr.

“Ryanair is operating these flights daily or weekly and all details can be found on the website.

“All the aircraft are disinfected daily. With low loads, social distancing is being optimised on-board and we ask all passengers to cooperate fully with our crews who are doing their best in difficult times to maintain vital links to/from Ireland and to/from the UK to facilitate our passengers and their families to deal with emergencies that may require urgent travel over the coming days and weeks.”

The airline added they don’t know how long it will be until the lockdown will end and that they support the actions taken by EU governments.

They added: “Until then let’s all take care of ourselves, each other, our families and our communities.”

Some of the routes include Dublin to other airports in the UK such as Bristol and Edinburgh, and Dublin to Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Lisbon and Cologne.

Other routes are from London Stansted and Gatwick, to Dublin, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Cork, Berlin and Budapest.

However, many Twitter users have been left disappointed with Ryanair for not giving out refunds for cancelled flights.

One user said: “I’m still waiting for my flight refund. I requested it over 25 days ago as flights were cancelled and when I spoke to customer services online they said it would be in my account in 3 days that was 2 weeks ago?”

Another said: “I agree. No one on twitter appears to have been refunded. How can that possibly be the case? @Ryanair – Are you actually processing refunds OR are you holding our money for your own benefit?”

Another said: “Day 25 without refund. Pretty sure that’s illegal.”

Another posted: “26 Days requested refund still nothing.

“Credit Card company took over the transaction this morning. Complete Joke. 26 Working days is ample time to refund.”

In the EU, passengers should receive the refund of the cost of their ticket within seen days of cancellation.

In the US, according to the US Department of Transportation said: “If a passenger is owed a refund, an airline, travel agent, or online travel agency must process it within seven business days if the passenger paid by credit card, and 20 business days if the passenger paid by cash or cheque.”

Ryanair has been contacted for comment.

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