HOLIDAYMAKERS with trips booked to France have had their plans thrown into chaos due to changing government travel advice.
We explain what British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, and Ryanair are doing to help affected passengers, if anything, and whether you can get a refund.
It comes as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) yesterday advised against all but essential travel to France as well as to Malta and the Netherlands.
This means travel insurance policies are unlikely to cover you if you travel against the FCO’s advice.
Holidaymakers currently in France, the Netherlands and Malta, or who decide to travel anyway, will also have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK if they arrive after 4am tomorrow, August 15, or risk a £1,000 fine.
The shake-up has left many passengers no longer wanting to fly but many airlines are continuing to run flights as normal.
Below we explain what it means for you. Just keep in mind this applies to those who booked directly with the airline or its package travel arm.
If you booked via a third party, you should contact them directly in the first instance.
British Airways is still operating a limited number of flights to France, meaning you can’t get a cash refund unless the flight is cancelled.
If you no longer want to travel, it’s offering vouchers which you can use on a future booking up until April 30, 2022.
Just bear in mind there are a few catches; namely it only applies to those with travel up to September 30, 2020, if booked before March 3, 2020, or for travel up to December 31, 2020 if booked after March 3, 2020.
If you have a flight-only booking, you must also exchange it for a voucher before check-in for that flight closes.
For those with a BA package holiday eg, a flight with a hotel, you have up to seven days after the government’s announcement to request a voucher, or before check-in closes on the day of your outward flight, if sooner.
BA is also allowing passengers to change flights without incurring a fee, although you will have to pay any difference in price.
EasyJet told The Sun it plans to operate its full flight schedule to France in the coming days.
If you no longer want to travel, you can change your booking without incurring a fee, but you’ll still be charged any difference in price.
Alternatively, you can request a voucher for the value of your booking.
If your flight to France later in August is cancelled, you’ll be able to apply for a cash refund on EasyJet’s website.
Separately, EasyJet has cancelled all package holidays to France until the end of August, meaning you can get a full cash refund.
Package holiday customers with trips booked in September can also choose to cancel their holiday and receive a credit voucher.
Jet2 suspended all flights to France in March due to coronavirus, but it hasn’t yet confirmed whether package holidays were cancelled too.
It’s since started flying to Bergerac and La Rochelle, and these flights will go ahead as scheduled, the airline told The Sun.
Customers who longer wish to travel to these destinations can rebook with no admin fee, but you won’t get a refund unless your flight is cancelled.
Jet2 said it’s not planning to operate to any other destination in France until October.
Ryanair said its flights to France are continuing to operate as normal, meaning you can’t get a cash refund.
It will, however, let you change your flight, although you might be charged a change fee to do so.
Only those with bookings made after June 10, 2020 for travel in July 2020 and August 2020, and new bookings made after July 16, 2020 for September 2020 can change their flights free of charge.
And even then, the free flight change is not available on changes made within seven days of departure.
All other bookings are subject to a change fee, and in both scenarios you’ll have to pay any difference in flight cost.
If your flight is still going ahead, you’ll find it hard to claim from your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act or under Chargeback as the service you paid for is still going ahead.
Whether your travel insurance covers this scenario depends on your policy, and many purchased after March 2020 won’t cover coronavirus-related cancellations.
If your flight is actually cancelled, your airline should pay you a full cash refund.
For those struggling to claim their money back due to a cancelled flight, try your card provider next, followed by your travel insurance.
If you’re unhappy with your treatment from an airline, you can complain to whichever alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme it’s signed up to. See the Civil Aviation Authority’s website for a full list.
Note that Ryanair isn’t signed up to an ADR scheme.