While the enthusiasm of Ryanair and Easyjet to jump-start the travel industry should be applauded; their timing not so much.
Today (July 1), both airlines have launched their summer flying program and between them, there will be 2,000 daily flights across Europe on offer to travel in July and August.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said:
“It’s time for Europe to go back flying again, it’s time to reboot Europe’s tourism industry, and Ryanair is proud to lead this initiative with over 1,000 daily flights.”
The airline said it plans to operate 40 per cent of its usual capacity throughout July hailing this as ‘great news’ for passengers and crew, who have been grounded for more than three months.
Sounds promising, but there is a problem. The Foreign Office (FCO) is still advising against all non-essential overseas travel which means anyone that travels while this advice is current, will not be covered by their travel insurance.
At this time it is impossible to predict the transmission behaviour of the Covid-19 virus and returning passengers to the UK may find they have to quarantine for 14-days.
Those passengers who have a ticket but find they cannot or do not wish to fly at this time won’t be entitled to a refund. At best they will be offered the chance to rebook and will have to pay the excess if the fare is more expensive.
In the meantime, there has been a bit of shuffle going on as airlines try to consolidate some flights. Customers have reported incidents of being transferred to different flights.
In effect, the original flight has been cancelled and those who don’t wish to be transferred are entitled to demand a refund.
EasyJet, who has started domestic flights in June, is to close Stansted, Newcastle and Southend bases permanently and is looking axe more than 2000 jobs – around a third of its UK workforce.
British Airways has also taken steps to consolidate. The British carrier has confirmed that all of its short-haul flights due to take off from Gatwick airport during July and August have been moved to Heathrow airports.