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Holidays are once against facing cancellation due to the latest UK lockdown. it comes as countries around Europe extend measures in a bid to curb the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Britons who had been eyeing an escape in the winter months now face more waiting until they can jet off.
Following the announcement of the third national lockdown in the UK, holiday firms including easyJet holidays, TUI and Thomas Cook have issued updates for customers.
Can would-be holidaymakers claim a refund?
The recently relaunched online travel agent Thomas Cook has announced it is cancelling all package holidays until mid-February.
It has set out a preliminary restart date of February 15, however, this will be reviewed in line with the Government position at that time.
Customers will be entitled to a refund or given the option to move their holiday to a later date.
In a statement, Thomas Cook’s CEO Alan French said: “Following the announcement of the latest lockdown, we are calling our customers to offer refunds or move their holidays to a later date.
“We’ve seen over the festive period that customers are looking ahead to the summer and beginning to book in earnest for those important summer weeks in the sun. I am sure that after many more weeks spent at home – and with the progress of the vaccine rollout – we will see an even bigger demand for people to escape to the beach this summer.
“We’re all desperate for a holiday and right now there are great deals to be had for early booking.”
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The package holiday arm of budget airline easyJet has cancelled holiday plans for many of its customers as a result of the new lockdown.
easyJet holidays says it is contacting customers who are impacted by cancellations to discuss their options.
The firm’s existing Protection Promise, which was developed to further ensile consumer confidence, continues to be available to customers.
As part of the scheme, customers are entitled to free cancellations with a full refund should they change their mind up to 28 days before departure.
This includes a refund of their deposit by way of credit to your online easyJet holidays account.
An easyJet holidays spokesperson explained: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement this evening (4 January) and the implications for international travel from the UK, we are reviewing all holiday bookings.
“We will be contacting customers whose holidays can no longer go ahead with the option of cancelling for easyJet holidays credit which can be used to rebook an alternative holiday, or customers can choose a full refund back to their original payment method.
“We’re really proud that we’ve been able to average 12 days to process refunds.
“We will also be in touch with customers with later departure dates to remind them of our easyJet holidays Protection Promise which offers ultimate flexibility and reassurance.”
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TUI is axing package holidays throughout January and into February for some travellers “in line with international travel restrictions.”
The holiday provider is cancelling all holidays departing from English airports until mid-February.
It is cancelling all holidays departing from Scottish and Welsh airports until January 31.
Customers will be given a refund credit note or entitled to a full refund.
According to a statement on TUI’s website: “As a result of the latest national lockdown measures announced on 4 January 2021 we’re cancelling all holidays in line with international travel restrictions.
“Customers due to travel from an English airport before mid-February will be contacted in departure date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive, receiving an ATOL-protected refund credit note with incentive, or cancelling and receiving a full refund.
“All holidays from Scotland and Wales have been cancelled until 31 January.
“We will constantly review holiday cancellations in line with updated travel advice.
“Customers currently overseas can continue to enjoy their holidays as planned and we will update them directly if there are any changes to their holidays.”
Virgin Holidays, the package holiday arm of Virgin Atlantic, is similarly cancelling its holiday deals due to the lockdown announcement.
In a statement, Virgin said: “In line with the new national lockdown restrictions we have reviewed the upcoming holiday schedule and will be cancelling all holidays up to and including 14 February 2021.
“To simplify the options and to provide immediate peace of mind for customers whose holidays will no longer be going ahead, we’re automatically providing a digital voucher for the value of their trip, redeemable up until 30 September 2021, which they can use to rebook a holiday, departing any time before 31 December 2022.”
Customers may also opt for a refund.
Jet2holdays has extended the “suspension” of its package holiday offering until mid-February.
This is up to and including February 11, 2021.
“For customers due to travel from 12th February onwards, we will provide another update closer to the time,” said a spokesperson.
A statement on the Jet2holidays website adds: “If you’ve been affected by these programme changes, we’ll be automatically cancelling your booking with a full refund. Please be patient with us as we do this.”
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