Coronavirus Travel Rights – Latest on UK and overseas travel restrictions

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The ‘traffic light’ travel system used to determine the rules for those travelling to the UK has been overhauled this month. We’ve full info on what’s happening, including changes to testing and quarantining. We have seen a huge surge in people wanting to travel but with an increase in cases, people have, once again, started to worry about future travel plans. Fear not.

As restrictions are lifted, a suite of rules has been put in place. There are three key points to bear in mind before you book: 

  1. Check the UK’s travel system for what you need to do on your return. It’s important to note that the rules don’t give the whole picture, as they’re primarily about what you have to do on returning to the UK, so you also need to follow the steps below.
  2. Check the UK Foreign Office‘s advice on whether it’s safe to travel. This is key for travel insurance cover and your rights to a refund. If the Foreign Office advises against “all but essential travel” or “all travel”, you aren’t supposed to go. Travelling in defiance of the advice may also invalidate your insurance.
  3. Remember, even if the UK Government says it’s OK to travel, there’s no guarantee your destination will let you in. For example, Australia is on the green list from a UK perspective, but it’s not letting holidaymakers in. Even where there’s no outright ban, there may be other restrictions in place, eg, you may have to provide a negative coronavirus test and quarantine on arrival. Check the Foreign Office website, as well as directly with the country itself (or its UK embassy website), for the latest.

As part of a system of rules on international travel, destinations had been placed in one of three categories – green, amber and red. But on 4 October 2021, the green and amber lists were scrapped in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and replaced with a red list and non-red list group of destinations.

From 4 October, pre-departure tests before arrival from a non-red list destination were also scrapped for fully vaccinated adults travelling to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while children aged 17 and under who reside in the UK and who are travelling to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can now follow the same rules as people who are fully vaccinated. 

In addition, from 4am on Monday 11 October the red list shrunk from 54 to seven destinations

As restrictions ease, many will be considering booking a trip in the UK or abroad. But with millions of trips cancelled as a result of the pandemic and ongoing uncertainty about the future, you may be concerned about what happens if you can’t go.

Fear not.

As a general rule, if you’ve paid for a trip and then the airline cancels, you should be due a refund. Most airlines are being much more flexible, allowing changes and generally working with their customers in order to encourage people to travel. If you are in any doubt, please check with one of our consultants when we provide you with a quote. We, ourselves, are not charging any fees for cancellations or changes.

Travel firm cancellation and rebooking rights

Travel firmRefund policy if firm cancelsRefund policy if you cancel
AirbnbFull refundRefunds vary depending on how far in advance you cancel and the host’s booking policy. Eg, can usually get full refund if you cancel 24hrs+ before check-in if host has ‘flexible’ policy or 5 days+ before check-in if ‘moderate flexibility’. Cancellation fees apply with other policies and service fees may be non-refundable depending on your booking history.
British AirwaysSome flights may be cancelled (check yours here) – full refund, voucher or rebookingFor flights before 31 Aug 22 – can rebook (must pay any fare difference) or claim voucher before check-in closes
EasyjetFull refund, voucher or rebookingFor flights up to 31 Dec 21 – full refund, voucher or rebooking if a travel ban means you can’t fly. Otherwise cancellation fees may apply
EurostarFull refundRearrange trip without paying fees (must pay any fare difference)
HoseasonsFull refund, voucher or rebookingFull refund if proof of positive Covid test. If you cancel for non-Covid reasons, refunds depend on how long before arrival you notify Hoseasons eg, 7 days or less = 5% refund, between 56 and 70 days = 50% refund, 70+ days = loss of deposit
Jet2Full refundFull refund if destination has mandatory quarantine that you can’t exit with negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination (must request 3+ days before departure). Can rebook without fees in some other cases (must pay any fare difference). Otherwise change/cancellation fees apply
Logan AirFull refund or rebookingFull refund or rebooking (but must pay any fare difference) if new UK Govt restrictions mean you legally can’t fly. Otherwise change/cancellation fees apply
LoveholidaysFull refund or rebookingMay be able to rebook without fees in some cases (but must pay any fare difference). Otherwise cancellation fees apply.
RyanairFull refund or rebookingFor bookings made before 30 Sep 21 – up to 7 full days before departure, can rebook without fees for travel by 30 Dec 21 (must pay any fare difference). Otherwise change/cancellation fees apply.
TuiSome flights and hols up to 31 Oct 21 cancelled – full refund or rebookingMay be able to rebook without fees in some cases (but must pay any fare difference). Otherwise cancellation fees apply.
Virgin AtlanticFull refund, voucher or rebookingFor flights up to 30 Apr 22 – up to day before departure, can rebook without fees (but must pay any fare difference) or claim voucher to be used by 30 Apr 23. Otherwise change/cancellation fees may apply.

The information in this table is constantly changing. Please email: business@businesstravelcentre.com for the most up-to-date information.

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