Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests
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Hopeful holidaymakers could find themselves confused by rapidly changing travel restrictions. However, the relaxation of many of these rules has meant Jet2, easyJet, TUI and Ryanair have all been able to boost capacity on flights to holiday hotspots.
The latest UK rule changes saw more nations added to the green and amber list, and quarantine axed for double-jabbed travellers returning from amber list countries.
There are, however, still a number of testing requirements to meet both in the UK and abroad.
Luckily, many airlines now offer discounted PCR test deals for customers, to help them save money while adhering to Government rules.
Some airline are also working in tandem with the Government’s traffic light guidance, to provide help and support to customers.
Here are the latest updates from Jet2, easyJet, TUI and Ryanair.
Jet2 is now operating an array of flights in line with the Government’s traffic light system.
In order to help passengers better understand rules, the Leeds-based carrier has developed its own “Traffic Light Update”.
“The UK Government has committed to reviewing the Traffic Light ‘status’ of overseas destinations every three weeks,” explains Jet2.
“Our last review date was August 6 2021 and we expect the next UK Government review to be on or around August 26 2021, so we’ll review again in line with that.”
The airline provides a full breakdown of which of its destinations are on the green, amber or red list on its website.
Holidaymakers booked to fly are advised to stay up-to-date with regulations at their chosen destination and in the UK, as rules can change quickly.
“We’d recommend that you don’t start arranging things like COVID-19 tests until closer to your time of travel, as travel requirements both here and abroad can change,” explains the airline.
“The type of negative test accepted for travel is decided by governments both here and abroad, depending on the destination you’re travelling to or from.”
Jet2 provides a list of testing services on its website, including Collinson and Randox, which also offer discount codes for Jet2 customers.
The airline also offers a list of in-airport testing facilities across its bases.
“You’re completely free to shop around and find your own testing supplier(s) – and it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re happy with the buying decisions you make,” states the airline.
“You must get the correct testing in line with the travel requirements of governments both in the UK and abroad.”
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easyJet has ramped up flight capacity in recent months, working in line with the Government’s traffic light system to help holidaymakers understand the restrictions in place for certain destinations.
Flights to green list countries are going ahead as planned.
“You’ll need to book a test package before you travel on holiday from one of the government’s approved list of providers,” explains the Luton-based carrier.
Customers who are due to travel to a green watchlist destination will be offered the flexibility to change their booking or cancel it up to 28 days before travel.
If a destination moves from green or green watchlist to the amber or red list before departure, customers will be offered the option of fee-free changes or to cancel for easyJet holidays credit.
However, holidays to amber list countries are still going ahead if passengers are “happy to travel”.
“While you are on holiday, everyone over the age of 10 will need to take an antigen (rapid flow) test within three days before your flight back home,” states easyJet.
“Once you’re home everyone over the age of four will need to take a PCR test on or before day two of your arrival.”
Red list holidays are cancelled, and customers are entitled to a full refund.
easyJet provides detailed information on testing requirements on its website and also offers a list of pre-travel, pre-return, day two and day eight testing providers with discount codes.
These include Collinson and Randox.
“Whilst we’ve helped you find a couple of different options, you should note that these services are provided by accredited third parties and not easyJet holidays,” warns the airline.
“Should you decide to purchase any Covid testing services, the service provider’s terms and conditions will apply.
“We’re not advertising Covid testing services as a travel service or as part of an easyJet holiday and we are not responsible for the quality and timeliness of the testing services.
“We can’t emphasise enough how important it is that you’ve got appropriate travel insurance in place to meet your needs.”
TUI has ramped up flight and holiday capacity in recent months as travel restrictions have eased.
The airline continues to offer its “Holiday Promise”, protecting customers from sudden Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) changes, or restrictions overseas.
Customers who are impacted will have their holiday cancelled and will be issued a full refund.
“To offer continued flexibility and reassurance, we have extended our fee-free changes policy to the end of October, for package holiday, flight-only and accommodation-only customers,” adds the airline.
Flights and holidays to green and amber list destinations are going ahead, though customers are advised to double-check the rules in place.
“Whether you need to get tested or fill out a form before you go on holiday – plus, importantly, the point in time at which you need to do this – depends on the destination you’re travelling to,” states TUI.
It adds: “We’re doing everything we can to make testing as easy and affordable as possible for you.”
TUI has teamed up with Chronomics, a Government-approved testing provider, to offer testing to all package holiday customers.
“They’re available from just £20 per person with delivery and return costs for the tests included in the price,” states the airline.
“You can now purchase tests for holidays departing up until the end of October.
TUI also has similar deals with Klarity, Screen4 and Randox for package holiday customers.
Ryanair has continued to operate flights throughout the pandemic but has ramped up capacity in recent months.
It is advising all customers to check the relevant travel rules for their chosen destination before departure.
“Travel restrictions change regularly, unfortunately, our customer service agents cannot help you with queries about specific restriction’s in place at your destination, you will need to investigate yourself,” states the Irish carrier’s website.
“It is each customer’s responsibility to ensure they travel with the correct documentation as failure to do so might result in denied boarding.”
On its website, the airline offers a list of testing providers close to each of its hubs across the UK.
Ryanair has also partnered with Randox to provide discount codes for both green travel packs, amber travel packs and pre-departure home testing kits.
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