The rapid spread of coronavirus has brought the world to an emergency stop.
Airlines and airports are close to shutdown, travel plans are in disarray and many of us are out of pocket due to flights and holidays being cancelled or abandoned.
With the Government now advising British nationals to avoid all non-essential journeys ‘for an indefinite period’, here’s the latest information for air travellers caught up in the chaos.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CUTS BACK
British Airways has cut back its schedule and suspended all flights from London Gatwick
The carrier has suspended all flights from Gatwick and its reduced services at Heathrow now operate from Terminal 5 only.
Passengers with existing bookings up to May 31 should complete an online form to receive a voucher valid for 12 months from the original travel date.
If you are feeling optimistic, the airline has attractive deals for this winter, including return fares as low as £249 to New York in November and £383 to Antigua in December (ba.com).
The low-fare carrier has suspended all flights until June 17. Affected customers can rebook for a later travel date without an administration fee until April 30.
Even though it remains uncertain how long the travel restrictions imposed here and abroad will last, the airline is offering winter flights to sunshine favourites such as Tenerife in the Canary Islands from £65 one-way (jet2.com).
VIRGIN ATLANTIC OPEN TICKET
Virgin Atlantic is currently only operating out of London Heathrow after drastically cutting its flying schedule
The airline has cut its flying schedule drastically and now only operates out of Heathrow. Customers with flights affected by the current travel restrictions can fill in an online form to ‘keep my ticket open’ with no change fee.
This can be used to fly to a new destination but any fare difference will be payable and you must complete travel before April 30, 2021.
Its website is also providing free meditation exercises for anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed (virginatlantic.com).
RYANAIR’S STILL FLYING
But only to ‘keep the skies open and maintain vital links’ until Thursday.
More than 90 per cent of its fleet has been grounded ‘for the coming weeks’ and affected passengers should receive an email outlining their options.
The airline has a sale of flights for travel throughout September from 19 UK airports with most fares from £39.99 one-way (ryanair.com).
QATAR AIRWAYS LOOKS AHEAD
Qatar Airways has introduced rigorous health produces and social distancing for passengers
The Middle Eastern airline has reduced its services to meet the latest travel restrictions but remains determined to ‘maintain a strong schedule of flights’.
If you are hoping to make a long-haul trip in the coming months its policy of ‘maximum flexibility’ allows customers to book tickets for travel up to September 30 and then, if it becomes necessary due to cancellation or disruption, alter the date free of charge or exchange the booking for a voucher valid for one year.
The carrier has also introduced rigorous health procedures such as making its flight crews self-isolate while overnighting in a foreign city, and implementing social distancing for passengers as part of the boarding process (qatarairways.com).
EASYJET DROPS ITS FLIGHT CHANGE FEES
Fees normally charged to change a flight booking have been dropped ‘until further notice’ for customers who do this using the airline’s website or mobile app.
This applies to both existing and new bookings and includes travel to an alternative destination with any fare difference payable.
Passengers who have had a flight cancelled can request a voucher valid for 12 months from the date of issue, which is only redeemable through its website (easyjet.com).
NORWEGIAN OFFERS A LITTLE BONUS
Travellers with cancelled flights on Norwegian are being offered credit notes
Travellers with cancelled flights are being offered a credit in the form of CashPoints (the airline’s digital currency) plus an extra 20 per cent.
If you are booked to fly by May 31 but don’t wish to travel, you can rebook without a fee for a trip to be completed before November 30, or exchange for CashPoints for later use (norwegian.com).
LOGANAIR’S REBOOKING TOOL
Glasgow-based Loganair is limiting its services to passengers with ‘an essential need to travel’ until May 4. For those due to fly before May 31 an automated ‘On-Hold’ service is available that lets you suspend your booking without confirming a new travel date.
There is no fee but a fare difference may apply (loganair.co.uk).
AER LINGUS BONUS VOUCHER
Aer Lingus is inviting passengers booked to fly before May 31 to apply for a voucher for the full value of their travel plus an additional ten per cent.
This will be valid for use across the airline’s network for five years from the date of issue (aerlingus.com).