Last night, the Government devastated the travel and tourism industry after it was announced that following a spike in coronavirus cases, Spain has been removed from the “air bridge” list. This means that anyone travelling back from Spain will not need to self-isolate for 14 days under the new quarantine rules. Britons across the UK have responded in fury to the latest move from the Government which will put summer holiday plans in jeopardy.
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Many are now concerned that their flights, holidays and accommodation could be at risk which may lead to holidaymakers losing money.
But now, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com has shared his knowledge on holiday refunds and consumer refunds in lieu of the sudden news.
In a video posted on his Twitter page, Martin advised people on what to do if they are planning to travel to Spain this summer, their flights have been cancelled and what to do if they have to quarantine for 14 days.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Martin warned that his advice was coming from “off the top of his head” and was not “fully fact-checked” after he was swamped with questions surrounding the latest news about Spain.
If you’re on holiday and you’re due to come back and you know have to quarantine. Is there any cover from travel insurance for the 14-day quarantine?
Martin said in short: “No”.
He said he was not aware of any travel insurers that cover the self-isolation period but said to check with travel insurer to make sure.
“But effectively, you are going to have to come back and quarantine and that will likely cause many people difficulty.
“Speak to your employer, hopefully, you can work from home.
“I don’t have many warm words on that. It is something we’ve looked at in the past and most travel insurers are saying they won’t cover it.”
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What to do if you’re due to go on holiday to Spain and your flight and holiday have been cancelled.
Martin described this as being the “best scenario” because it means travellers are entitled to a full refund.
“Many package holidays are being cancelled – if not most of them. Some flights are being cancelled.
“You should be getting a full refund but many of you will be aware of the great difficulties people have been having trying to get refunds and them not coming as quickly as they should do.
“It may well be a fight but legally you’re entitled to it and if the company doesn’t help you then you want to look at doing a charge-back or a Section 75 claim from the payment card that you paid with.”
Martin warned that travellers should give companies time to try and resolve the issue first, before going down the chargeback route.
Travelling to Spain despite the new restrictions
The new guidelines mean that anyone returning from any part of Spain has to isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK.
However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice is only advising against “all but non-essential travel to mainland Spain.”
“It’s likely most mainstream travel insurance policies will not cover you.
“Your policy will most likely be invalid, not just for coronavirus but for all things.
“So do think very carefully before going to Spain, even though there are some people arguing rightly that some areas are badly affected and others aren’t.”
“It’s not worth it – if you trip over and bang your head, you’re in the hospital and you need treatment, you need flying back. It’s not worth it, things happen.”
Flight has not been cancelled – but I don’t want to travel to Spain
Martin said: “I’m afraid you tend not to have any rights if your flight is still on with the airline.”
He added: “You will be covered if you booked your travel insurance and your flight pre-pandemic, so roughly mid-March.
“You are likely to be covered by the travel insurer. Most travel insurance policies would cover it. You can go and talk to them. Not all of them, but most.
“However, if either of those elements, either the travel insurance or the holiday, were booked after the pandemic started, (mid-March) when we first got that Foreign Office advisory against travelling anywhere, then you are unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.”
He emphasised that he said “unlikely”, but that it’s not definite.
“It is worth remembering that you are allowed to go to the Canaries and you are allowed to go to Ibiza, because the Foreign Office says you can go, you just have to quarantine when you get home.
“In some ways, that’s even worse if you don’t want to go because even the old travel insurance wouldn’t cover you because it’s (the) disinclination to travel.”
Unfortunately, if you have booked a holiday to Spain recently, you’re not likely to be covered if the hotel and airline haven’t cancelled.
“Certainly, I would be looking to take advantage of any of those where you can move your flight for free.
“Book it for another time, because a refund is certainly unlikely.
“I’d certainly be taking advantage of any ATOL credit notes which are now backed by the Government. I’d be talking to the hotel about moving it to the future because you’re going to struggle to get a full refund.”
Martin said the Money Saving Expert will be providing more information at the beginning of next week.
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