Johan Lundgren: It’s legal to travel to amber list countries
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Holidays are back on the cards for Britons with the UK’s travel ban having been lifted last Monday. However, at the moment only a select few destinations on the “green list” are allowing Britons to enter.
There is hope ahead, though, with Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps revealing the list will be expended “soon”.
It is thought the next review will take place on or around June 1.
Though it is not yet clear which nations will make it onto the “green list” next, several “amber” countries, including Spain and Greece, are already allowing British holidaymakers to enter.
Ahead of the next “traffic light” review, here are the latest updates from Jet2, TUI, easyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Jet2 previously made the decision not to resume holidays until June 24 amid ongoing “uncertainty” over the Government’s “traffic light” system.
In an update on its website, the Leeds-based carrier explained: “We’re really looking forward to restarting our holidays and flights programme again from June 24 2021.
“We’re taking the time to get everything ready at our airports, onboard our planes and in our resorts to give you the safest and smoothest holiday experience possible.”
Once the airline resumes flights and holidays, it has detailed plans to operate under its own “traffic light policy” which will work in line with the Government guidelines.
“The UK Government has confirmed that international travel is now legal,” Jet2 states on its website.
“However, there are some conditions in place for people returning from different destinations, known as the Traffic Light system.
“The UK Government has committed to reviewing its Traffic Light ‘status’ of overseas destinations every three weeks.
“We’ll review our programme and policies in line with that timetable. Our last review date was May 13 2021.
“We expect to review again on or around June 1 2021 and every three weeks after that.
“As the UK Government has previously decided not to give us advance notice of any changes to the entry requirements from different countries, please bear with us as we need to take time to consider any changes to our programme and policies.”
Customers should check any regulations in place at their chosen destination, as well as its current status under the UK’s “traffic light” system at least 14 days prior to travel.
Holidays to “green list” destinations will go ahead with Jet2 from June 24.
For “amber list” destinations, Jet2 states: “We’ll review the status of destinations on the amber list following the next UK Government review which we expect to be on or around June 1, 2021.
“However, if your flight is due to depart on or before July 18 2021, if you want to, you can amend your flight admin-fee-free.”
Holidays due to depart to “red list” countries will not go ahead.
“If your destination is on the red list at the next Government update we’ll allow you to cancel your flight free of charge if it is due to depart up to and including July 18 2021, and we will of course keep the situation under close review,” explains Jet2.
After leisure travel resumed on May 17 and Portugal was announced to be on the “green list”, easyJet added an extra 105,000 seats to the nation.
The airline has also found a number of “amber list” destinations, particularly in Spain, are providing popular with Britons looking to book a holiday.
However, the airline is currently working in line with Government recommendations and reminds passengers flying to “amber” destinations that they must adhere to testing and quarantine requirements.
The airline explains on its website that “holidays to ‘green’ destinations can go ahead, with a few steps to keep in mind” meanwhile “holidays to ‘amber’ destinations can go ahead if you’re happy to travel and follow the re-entry steps set out by the government.”
The Luton-based carrier is also working with Randox to provide COVID-19 test kits for customers who are required to take them depending on the regulations associated with their destination.
Holidays and flights to “red list” destinations will not go ahead.
“In line with our industry-leading easyJet holidays Protection Promise, we won’t be operating any holidays to destinations that are on the ‘red’ list at the time of departure,” continues the orange-tipped carrier.
“But as the lists can change and destinations could move to ‘amber’ or ‘green’, you may still be able to book selected holidays currently on the ‘red’ list and we’ll keep future holidays under close review.
“You can make changes or cancel your holiday if you’re more than 28 days away from your departure date, and now you can make changes within 28 days knowing if your destination stays on the ‘red’ list we’ll cancel any bookings no later than seven days before departure.”
Thanks to easyJet’s new “protection promise” customers will be given the opportunity to rearrange all holidays fee-free, up to 28 days before travel.
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Following the Government’s decision to add Portugal to the “green list”, TUI boosted its Portugal offering.
In a bid to cater to more customers, the airline will utilise aircraft which normally serve long-haul routes to take passengers to the hotspot.
On the TUI website, it explains: “If we know a destination or hotel is asking people to quarantine when they arrive in the country, for any length of time – and there isn’t the option to forgo this quarantine period by providing evidence of a negative COVID-19 test – or if a destination is on the red list meaning you’ll need to quarantine in a hotel on your return, we simply won’t go there.
“If – before you depart – we know you’ll have to quarantine at home on your return home, you’ll have the option to change your holiday, as we don’t expect you to do this, but your booking won’t be cancelled.”
TUI has also teamed up with testing provider Chronomics to provide COVID-19 testing packages from £20 per person for passengers.
The airline is also boosting “flexibility” for customers with a new changes policy.
Ryanair has continued to operate flights throughout the pandemic, though was forced to reduce capacity earlier the year due to a drop in passenger foot traffic.
However, since May 17 the airline has begun to ramp up its offering, adding an extra 175,000 extra seats to “green list” Portugal.
The airline also launched a 48 hour £5 flash seat sale over the weekend, showing hope for future holidays.
Ryanair is continuing its “zero change fee” policy on bookings up to June 30 allowing changes to be made through October 31, 2021.
Customers who are due to travel with the airline are reminded to “check with the relevant authorities before you fly.”
Ryanair has also teamed up with COVID-19 testing company Randox to provide test packages for customers who require tests for “green” or “amber” countries.
British Airways (BA) has continued to operate a “reduced and dynamic” service throughout the pandemic, though is gradually upping its capacity in line with Government guidelines.
It has also resumed package holidays to select destinations.
In response to the resumption of travel, the airline has added new services across popular holiday destinations including Greece and the Canary Islands from June and July onwards.
Sean Doyle, BA Chairman and CEO, said: “We’re pleased that our customers are able to start travelling again to some countries, including Portugal, and we’ve put on additional flights from London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh to Faro to help people get moving.”
BA is continuing to offer its “protection promise” allowing customers more “flexibility”.
It has also partnered with Allianz Assistance to provide COVID-19 insurance for customers in the UK.
Virgin Atlantic has continued to operate some flights throughout the pandemic but has recently ramped up its offering to select “green list” destinations including Israel.
“Virgin Atlantic remains committed to the Israeli market and will soon offer twice-daily flights between Ben Gurion Airport and Heathrow Airport, alongside seamless connections to key US cities such as New York and Los Angeles, via London,” said Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic in a statement.
The airline is also offering a “fully flexible booking policy” for customers.
“Our flexible booking policy gives you the freedom to book with confidence, knowing you can make changes if you need to, without any admin charges,” states Virgin Atlantic’s website.
“For all flights and holidays up to April 30 2022, you can change your dates as often as you like.
“You can even choose a different destination or make one name change if you’d like someone else to benefit from your ticket.
“You’ll just need to make sure you travel by April 30 2023, and make any changes before your original departure date – three weeks before your Virgin Holiday.”
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