Coronavirus Travel Update
As the world continues to fight Coranavirus Covid-19 the travel industry is trying to react as quickly as it can to this unprecedented situation. Terms and conditions are changing daily as airlines stop flying, cruise ships park up and hotels close their doors, we try to keep our customers advised on Coronavirus Travel updates.
If you have a booking with us you will have been contacted and the options available to you described in as much detail as we have at the moment. Due to the volume of calls, tour operators and airlines are processing bookings traveling within the next 72 hours. If your booking is outside this date just wait for us to contact you with advice on what is on offer.
All bookings for the month of April are currently being cancelled and we will be in touch as soon as the operator is in contact with us. No cash refunds are on offer at the moment but full credit vouchers are being offered and a free amendment to defer the date of your holiday. To act quickly we ask all our customers to consider alternative dates of travel and to be read to change.
We have also listed below some of the key facts we have discovered as we have been processing our bookings.
The key facts are;
As a country, we are now not able to travel at least until the end of April 2020.
This could affect departures into May 2020 but we will not know this for a few weeks.
Lockdown is a word that is becoming part of our daily language and as the UK encourages self-isolation, other countries are enforcing a full lockdown.
Tour operators, airlines, hotels are all struggling with the mass cancellation of holidays and trips. There is just not the money there to refund everyone. In order to save the industry, travel credit notes have been introduced. What this means is that your money is still ATOL protected and even if an operator was to fail you would be able to claim that money back.
Amend and change dates is the advice for travel within the next 30 days. Most companies are allowing this free of charge and allowing bookings up to 30 April 2021
Visa waiver programs have been removed for a lot of countries and we may find this stays for some time. Countries want to control who now enters. When travel starts again we may not get such easy entry.
Cruiselines remain parked up until the end of April and schedules are being amended to reflect the bans now being imposed on them by certain countries. These dates could extend into May departures too.
Testing is becoming common by some countries on arrival to the country and temperatures recorded.
Operators are still selling holidays for departures up to 31 October 2021. Booking conditions are good with low deposits and a guarantee of amendments free of charge if required. Some clients are grabbing the deals for Christmas departures and beyond. We are of course here to assist with all your travel requirements. Some Easter holidays I have had to move to summer are the same price or less.
Lots of free child places have arrived for summer departures to encourage bookings. If you are thinking of holidays why not consider booking now. Free amendments and delayed departures is on offer if this continues.
Those customers that love to get away for Christmas now is the time to be planning as offers are available with low deposits and ability to amend free of charge.
Travel Company Closed Out dates
We’ve pulled together a list of the cruise lines, airlines and operators that have made temporary changes to their booking policies in light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
P&O Cruises and Cunard
Both lines have revealed an interim policy for guests with bookings departing prior to 31 August 2020. All guests booked to sail ahead of the date can cancel 48 hours before departure and receive future cruise credit, redeemable against any sailing until the end of March 2022.
Guests booked before 11 March [date of policy announcement], and travelling before August, will have additional onboard credit applied to their booking.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Guests on these lines can cancel their existing and new bookings up to 48 hours before embarkation for sailings through to 30 September 2020.
Customers who decide to cancel will receive cruise credit, which can be used for any itinerary operating worldwide until 31 December 2022.
The line has temporarily changed its cancellation policy for bookings departing up to 31 May 2020.
Itineraries beginning earlier than 3 April can be cancelled up to 72 hours before and receive future cruise credit; 4 April – 31 May cruises can cancelled by 31 March and receive credit.
Guests who choose to keep their booking for departures between 9 March and 31 May will receive onboard spending money.
Update – all cruises paused for 60 days until 10 May 2020.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea
These cruise lines will allow guests to cancel their bookings up to 48 hours before departure.
The initiative applies to all sailings on or before 31 July 2020. Guests will receive credit for their cruise fare usable on any sailing of their choice in 2020 or 2021.
The following individuals will temporarily not be allowed to sail:
- Guests who have been hospitalized in the last two months for, or have a history of, severe or chronic medical conditions.
- Per CDC, chronic conditions are defined as an illness persisting for a long time or constantly recurring, such as diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease, suppressed immunity (i.e., active cancer, taking steroids) or require oxygen for any reason.
- Guests who are 70 years and older, will be required to present a doctor’s “fit to sail’ letter at check-in, confirming they do not meet any of the health/medical criteria.
- If your clients are unable to present this letter, they will not be allowed to cruise.
- Guests who have been to or traveled through China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, Singapore in the last 20 days prior to embarkation.
- Guests who have been in contact with another person diagnosed with or tested for COVID-19.
Any of your clients who meet any of the above criteria must cancel their reservation and may select one of the following options:
- Receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit (FCC). In addition, your clients will also receive a future onboard credit – US$300 per stateroom if they were scheduled to sail on a cruise of 5 days or less; US$600 per stateroom if they were scheduled to sail on a cruise of 6 days or longer – when they rebook their future cruise.
- Receive a cash refund, to be processed to the original form of payment within 90 days.
Guests traveling in the same stateroom as the impacted party are also eligible for the compensation options listed above.
Any accompanying family or friends in separate staterooms who also wish to cancel will receive a 100% future cruise credit.
Since we are experiencing high call volume, please complete this form if your clients meet any of the above criteria for canceling their cruise. We will process your request and send you a confirmation. There is no need to call us.
Pre-purchased shore excursions, beverage and Wi-Fi packages, and Fun Shop purchases will be automatically refunded. If your clients select a refund, please note it will be processed in approximately 90 days.
We recognize the impact of these new policies and sincerely apologize for any disruption to your clients’ vacation plans. We trust you understand these temporary policies reflect an industry wide agreement with the U.S. government that were made with your clients’ best interest at heart.
Guests forced to cancel their cruise because of the above will receive a voucher equal to the value of the cancelled cruise, to be used for any future sailing departing before the end of 2021 plus an on board credit of €100 per cabin for cancelled cruises up to 6 nights and €200 for cruises of 7 nights or longer. This credit is refundable, valid for any period of the year and can be combined with any existing promotion.
We are denying boarding to anyone from high-risk areas:
• Anyone who has travelled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Macau or Italy in the past 14 days (this includes transit flights in the aforementioned geographies. The same rules apply to such guests’ travel companions (parent, spouse, child, siblings, or a companion who shares a cabin).
• For the Caribbean area only: Japan is considered a high risk area by local authorities. Therefore, anyone who has travelled to, from or through Japan in the past 14 days (this includes transit flights) will not be allowed on board of the ships (currently MSC Meraviglia, MSC Divina, MSC Armonia, MSC Preziosa and MSC Seaside.
• For all ships embarking in Miami. Starting from Saturday 14 of March we are further elevating our health measures, in line with the recommendation of the Cruise Line Association and the USA Government.
• We will deny embarkation for:
• All guests with a severe chronic medical condition (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) as specified by the U.S. CDC
• All guests 70 years of age or older at embarkation date or who turn 70 within the duration of the cruise, unless provided written verification from their qualified treating physician certifying no severe chronic medical conditions and otherwise fit for the cruise
• We started thermal temperature check on all Ports and all Gangways
• We started weekly health screening for all crew members
The introduction of Kuoni Flex allows clients to change the dates of a holiday up to a week before departure, free of charge, available on holidays to: Mauritius; Maldives; Thailand; Bali; Sri Lanka; Caribbean; Mexico and certain group itineraries in India booked between 6 and 16 March departing until 15 February 2021.
There is a Flexible Booking policy for customers to delay their holidays until 11 weeks before their original departure date and rebook their trip for a date within 11 months.
Bookings must be made by 31 March 2020 to qualify, with the policy available across Premier’s product range.
The operator has introduced a collection of UK Flexi Holidays, offering customers the option to amend their departure date free of charge, up to four weeks prior to departure for any new 2020 UK holiday booking.
Shearings is also offering a guaranteed 10% discount on all UK holidays departing in April and May 2020.
Gold Medal and Travel 2
They have waived cancellation and amendment charges across their entire package holiday programmes.
Agents will only have to pay any fare difference with the airline and/or hotel, if applicable. The operators will also be releasing Facebook deals featuring savings and free upgrades for customers and rewards points for agents.
The operator has waived amendment and cancellation fees on all new bookings made from 10-31 March 2020.
It is relaxing its booking policy to enable clients to alter dates and destinations free of charge for holidays up to one month before departure.
Valid for departures up to 31 October 2020 on new bookings made from now until 31 March for travel to many of the operator’s destinations, including Madeira, Malta, Croatia, Algarve and Bermuda.
Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Emirates, Norwegian and Qatar Airways
All these airlines have pledged to waive amendment fees for bookings
This applies to bookings made between 4 and 31 March for travel up to and including 30 September for Virgin Atlantic; between 6 and 22 March for travel between 7 March and 31 August for Norwegian, completed before 31 March for Emirates, made between 3 and 16 March for BA and for anyone travelling with Qatar until 30 June 2020.
Wizz Air and Ryanair
Wizz customers will be offered a choice of rebooking on an alternative Wizz Air flight or comparable route at the “earliest opportunity”, receiving a total refund or being given credit to the value of the cancelled flight plus 20% extra.
All impacted Ryanair customers can request a refund or rebook or reroute their journey.
In a coronavirus FAQ section of the airline’s website, easyJet says it will not refund customers who take the decision not to travel, but will accept amendment requests at a cost of £30 per person if it is more than 60 days before departure and £55 per person between 60 and two days of travel. For more upto date info https://www.easyjet.com/en/policy/coronavirus
If easyJet cancels a flight, the airline said it will contact customers directly to explain the options available.