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The national lockdown in the UK, coupled with a new array of travel restrictions including hotel quarantine, mean holidays are on hold for now. As a result, many big-name providers have made the decision to axe package holiday plans in the coming months.
Luckily, operators are refunding all customers who have had their plans cancelled.
In many cases, holidaymakers also have the option to reschedule their travel to a later date if they wish.
What are the latest package holiday updates from easyJet holidays, Jet2 holidays, TUI, British Airways, Thomas Cook and Virgin Atlantic?
easyJet holidays made the decision to cancel package holiday plans up to and including March 24 following the announcement of a third national lockdown.
The package holiday provider has not yet said if any further cancellations are to be expected.
Customers who are impacted by holiday cancellations will be contacted directly by easyJet holidays.
They will be provided with the option to rebook their holiday for a new date and destination or accept an easyJet holidays credit to be used in the future. There is also the option to claim a full cash refund.
The holiday firm says it is aiming to process these in “an average of 12 days”.
In a statement, Matt Callaghan, easyJet holidays customer director said: “We know this news will be disappointing. But we want to give our customers as much flexibility and choice as possible so they can decide what is best for them.
“We’re really proud that, where we’ve needed to cancel holidays, we’ve been able to process refunds in an average of 12 days. We’ll continue to do the right thing for customers.
“And for any customers wanting to change their holiday or make a new booking, we’ve got holidays on sale all the way through to March 2022.
“We know there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. We can’t wait to take people on well-deserved holidays just as soon as it’s possible for us to do so.”
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Jet2 holidays made the decision to cancel all holidays up until March 25.
Furthermore, travel to Iceland is suspended until April 26.
The package holiday provider is yet to announce any changes to this schedule.
Customers will be contacted directly by Jet2 holidays and automatically issued with a refund equal to the amount paid.
A Jet2 spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “Since the onset of the pandemic, we have always respected that customers should receive their money back if we have not provided their flight or holiday.
“For customers due to travel from March 26 onwards, we will provide further updates closer to the time as appropriate.”
Thomas Cook had already cancelled a number of holidays following the national lockdown announcement, however went on to axe even more after the Government confirmed its quarantine hotel plans.
The firm decided to allow customers to cancel or amend their future holiday if they were to be impacted by the new hotel quarantine rule.
Under the rule, arrivals from “high risk” countries must undertake their mandatory quarantine period in a Government approved hotel.
Alan French, Thomas Cook’s CEO, said: “We know that our customers want to feel confident they can travel or, if not, that they can get their money back. We want to reassure our customers that we will amend or cancel in full any holiday where the customer has to quarantine in a hotel on their return if they no longer wish to travel.
“While we understand the need to protect the UK from additional strains of the virus, we would encourage the government to be clear how long they expect these measures to be in place and to give the public some idea of how countries will be added or removed from the list.
“We’re all desperate for a break right now and having a holiday to look forward to will go a long way to helping us all get through the mental challenges of the pandemic and help the travel industry focus on rebuilding a future.”
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British Airways holidays
Package holidays provider by UK-flag bearer British Airways are cancelled up to and including February 29.
However, a British Airways spokesperson told Express.co.uk they are keeping flights and holiday plans “under continual review”.
All impacted customers will be directly contacted and “offered a fund.”
Holidaymakers can also amend or postpone their plans without a change fee, or select a voucher for use towards a future holiday.
The spokesperson further added: “If we cannot fulfil a holiday, we’re committed to ensuring customers receive a full refund within 14 days. Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.”
On its website, the airline explains: “If your flight is cancelled, please rest assured that we’ll contact you.
“We’re currently experiencing extremely high call volumes.
“Please don’t call or message unless you’re travelling in the next 72 hours so we can help those needing urgent rebooking.”
TUI made the decision to cancel many of its package holidays on January 5 following the news of a third national lockdown.
The travel provider has not yet announced any further changes following the quarantine hotel confirmation from the Government.
Holidays due to depart on or before “the end of February” are cancelled.
A TUI spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “TUI stopped flying on January 5 when the national lockdown was introduced and therefore no customers will be impacted.”
Holidays due to depart on or before April 30, 2021, to Goa, India; La Palma, Canary Islands; Phuket, Thailand, The Gambia and Florida are also cancelled.
TUI states it is contacting customers “in departure date order” to notify them of their options.
In a statement on its website, TUI explains: “As a result of the latest national lockdown measures announced on 4 January 2021, we’re not able to operate holidays for the moment. Please rest assured, if you were booked to travel with us between now and the end of February, we’ll be contacting you soon to discuss our options. This will be done in departure date order.
“We’d like to extend a personal thank you for your patience and understanding as our customer service and social media teams work around the clock during such an unprecedented time.”
Virgin Atlantic holidays
Virgin Atlantic’s package holiday arm has cancelled itineraries up to and including February 28, 2021.
Both its package holiday and stand-alone flight offering are being “continually reviewed” in line with the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) travel advice.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “In line with the national lockdown restrictions, we have reviewed the upcoming holiday schedule and will be extending cancellations up to and including 28 February 2021. We will contact customers affected in departure date order to confirm their cancellation and the options available to them.
“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. This can either be to the same destination or we can look at alternatives, as well as different times of the year. Customers may also request a refund.
“We’re committed to supporting customers’ travel plans so all Virgin Holidays customers with a booked travel date up until 31 August 2021 may also rebook their holiday up until 31 December 2022 with the date change fee waived.
“Customers can amend their booking via ‘Manage My Booking’ using the digital voucher, or the customer centre team is also available via the SMS messaging system and WhatsApp service.
“We thank all of our customers for their patience in these extraordinary circumstances.”
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