Many of England’s optimists who booked a getaway in November have been dealt a horrible blow by the second lockdown. The new measures will come into effect on Thursday 5 November and will last until Wednesday 2 December.
Those ominous words “Avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport” ring drearily to dampen spirits once again. The government said:
“Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed – including holidays in the UK and abroad.This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
“There are specific exceptions, for example, if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes.”
So what does this all mean for holidaymakers?
Can I still go on holiday?
The lockdown rules are being enshrined in law, so if you do travel anywhere else in the UK for any reason outside the exemptions list you will be breaking the law. That includes visiting a second home and travel to any country – even those on the travel corridor list – though that list has dwindled to a handful of places.
The exemptions list includes the need to fulfil work, educational or caring responsibilities.
I’m already on holiday, will my homeward plans go ahead?
Just carry on with your holiday as normal. Your fight should still be operating. Be alert and check on any updates and services may be reduced
Under European air passengers’ rights rules, you are entitled to an alternative flight home. In these are extraordinary times so there may be some delays.
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said:
“Following the government’s sudden announcement easyJet will operate its planned schedule until Thursday and will be reviewing its flying programme over the lockdown period.
“It is likely that much of the UK schedule will be cancelled during lockdown with our planned flying set to resume in early December. We will advise customers who are booked to travel over the next month of their options with a view to assisting customers to return to the country in the coming days.”
A spokesperson for British Airways said:
“We note the prime minister’s announcement of a new national lockdown for England to slow the spread of Covid-19. Like other businesses, we are assessing the new information and we will keep our customers updated on any changes to their travel plans.”
I have a booking to the Canaries. Can I still go?
Even though the Canaries finally made it back onto the travel corridor list recently Lockdown 2 means you cannot go. Any holiday travel to anywhere before early December will break the lockdown rules.
I have plans travel from Wales to England. Do I need to cancel?
In short yes. The exceptions are if you have to travel for work or some other important reason. The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has set out the basic principle for what happens from 9 November to 2 December:
“During the month-long lockdown in England, travel will not be permitted outside Wales without a reasonable excuse.”
So I can’t travel, but what about my refund?
Holiday packages booked with Jet2 Holidays or Tui will not go ahead. You will get your refund within two weeks.
If you booked a flight independently, if the flight goes ahead you will not receive a refund. If the flight is cancelled Under European air passengers’ rights rules you are then entitled to all your money back within a week.
Check with your airline. British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and other carriers have planned to operate up to 30 per cent of their schedules in November, and many of those departures will continue mainly because British travellers across Europe who are expecting to be brought home at the end of their holidays.
However, British Airways and easyJet are likely to provide vouchers if you are unable to travel. Ryanair and Wizz Air may not.
If I stand to lose money for my flight or a hotel booking – can I claim on travel insurance?
It is unlikely however it is worth asking. Some insurance policies after March did include limited insurance for this event and other Covid-19 related issues.
Are UK holidays all off?
Yes, at least for people from England who were hoping to begin a break between 5 November and 2 December. Those impacted by the lockdown will probably get their money back.
The Competition and Markets Authority says:
“A consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be provided because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Sometimes the small print on a booking will state that coronavirus related cancellations will only be entitled to a credit note.
In essence travel around the UK is simply not allowed until early December. Residents of Wales and Northern Ireland are not allowed to travel beyond their borders, and Scotland does not want arrivals from any other UK nations.