Flights with the nation’s favourite airlines are taking off from next month. However, many people will understandably feel apprehensive about booking holidays at this time. With lockdown (albeit eased) still in place and no word on when the “essential” travel restriction will be lifted, numerous Britons are unsure about how to plan ahead.
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Express.co.uk spoke to travel expert Jon Thorne, Director of User Satisfaction at flight comparison site Skyscanner.
Thorne explained what the best first steps to take are if you’re wanting to go away on holiday after coronavirus.
Travellers will need to make sure they have the right cover and check up-to-date government travel advice.
“It’s important to ensure that you have the correct travel insurance in place,” Thorne said.
“Some existing policies may have changed so be sure to read the policy in full before booking any part of your trip.”
“It is also important to check the government advice in your home country, as well as any destination country to make sure that you can leave and come back without any major issues.
“This includes consular information, in case there is an emergency and you need to get home.
“In some cases, countries might not have official measures in place to ensure you can return quickly from your place of travel if there is an emergency.”
Thorne added: “Skyscanner has live COVID information pages on the site and in-app with extra information with regards to travel, we advise checking these as well as any airline coronavirus policies.”
As for booking flights, you need to make sure you’re not getting locked into anything – flexibility is key.
“Our main advice at this time is to look for flights which are covered by a flexible fare policy,” explained Thorne.
“You can identify these as they are marked with a ‘flexible ticket’ icon when they appear in the search listings. You can also filter your search to show only flights which are covered by these.
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“However, it is worth noting that all airlines have different policies. Clicking the icon takes you to the airline policy where you can read them in full, and make sure that should your flight be cancelled, you won’t be out of pocket.”
So how safe is it to fly in a post-coronavirus world?
“The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises British people against all non-essential travel,” said Thorne.
“While we understand that this should change in the future, we have no timeline for this.”
Thorne continued: “While it’s impossible to remove airborne pathogens completely, airlines have been finding new and better ways to keep the air onboard their flights clean for decades.
“It’s not just coronavirus that HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters combat.
“Heathrow airport, the UK’s largest airport, is using thermal cameras to detect travellers with higher than normal temperatures, a symptom of COVID-19. The technology and measures being taken at airports across the world are far more stringent and advanced than ever before.
“Airports and airlines are still asking travellers to bring their own facemasks, an important thing to consider when packing for your trip.”
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