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Travel

Flights: Shocking pictures reveal new life for UK’s grounded flights – where are they?

Coronavirus has thrown the travel industry into an unprecedented state, with airlines across the globe being forced to cancel journeys, severely reduce itineraries and ground huge portions of their fleet. In the UK alone airlines have seen their schedules slashed by up to 95 percent.

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Though British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Jet2 are among those who are working with the government to repatriate Britons currently abroad, there remains a massive portion of their aircraft firmly on the ground.

While planes are usually en route to a destination, fuelling up at an international airport, or at a home base patiently awaiting its next lot of travellers, their reality looks for different for the time being.

Images have emerged of rows upon rows of popular airline’s fleet lines up, with no immediate plans to jet off anywhere.

Meanwhile, in the US taxiways, maintenance hangers and even runways have been transformed into special aircraft parking lots.

So, where exactly are UK aircraft being stored amid the COVID-19 crisis?

British Airways aircraft are being stored across the world at various airports, though here in the UK Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Nottingham, Glasgow and Cardiff Airports have all been reported to be providing a safe haven for the carriers.

Bournemouth airport has also taken on a large number of planes after the capital’s airports reached capacity.

According to The Points Guy UK one of BA’s A380 planes is grounded at London, meanwhile, another is being stored at Manila Airport in The Philippines.

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Two 747s are currently parked at Cardiff Airport, and six other 747s are residing at Heathrow.

Cardiff is also housing a Dreamliner, while nine others are at Heathrow having not operated a commercial flight since March 18.

The airline is also reportedly storing some of its fleet in Madrid, and others at Glasgow airport.

Express.co.uk has contacted BA for more insight into where its planes are being stored.

British Airways most recently suspended all of its Gatwick flights, following in the footsteps of easyJet which grounded its commercial planes.

“Over recent days, easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers,” the airline said in a statement.

“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday, March 29.

“We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

“At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights.

“We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

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The Luton-based carrier has parked all of its 334 planes, though it is not clear where they are all housed.

Images have emerged showing some grounded flights parked at Gatwick and Luton airports.

Express.co.uk has contacted easyJet for further comment.

In a similar move, Stansted airport’s biggest airline Ryanair says it expects the majority of its commercial flights to be grounded until June.

The Irish carrier said it does not anticipate operating scheduled services throughout April and May, though this is dependant on government advice.

According to the Ryanair website: “We expect that most if not all Ryanair Group flights will be grounded, except for a very small number of flights to maintain essential connectivity, mostly between the UK and Ireland.”

Like most airlines, it is likely a large portion of its fleet will be parked at one of the airline’s main bases, including Stansted and its primary Irish base in Dublin.

Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for further insight.

Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab explained how the UK government has teamed up with airlines at this time to bring Britons home.

The government has partnered with UK airlines including British Airways, easyJet, Virgin, Titan and Jet2 to set up a repatriation effort and ensure those who want to fly home are able to do so.

“The first priority is to keep as many commercial flights runnings as we can, and that’s based purely on the scale and the number of people who want to come home,” explained Raab.

The government will now be injecting £75 million into repatriation efforts in a bid to help commercial airlines continue to fly while keeping ticket costs as low as possible for travellers who wish to book onto flights.

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Travel

Holidays: Should you buy back pounds? Exchange rate experts issue travel money warning

Holidays have been cancelled or postponed for the near future as coronavirus sweeps the globe. Many Britons may now be left with travel money they purchased that now has no use. It is possible to exchange this back into pounds at this time?

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Express.co.uk spoke to experts to find out what Britons should do about their euros or other leftover currency.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of Equals (formerly known as FairFX), said: “We’ve found that on average people return from holiday with around £177 worth of leftover currency.”

However, he warned that Britons need to be careful about buy-back rates.

“Those with cash, whether leftover from a holiday or because travel plans were cancelled due to coronavirus, can change their currency back to sterling, but this will leave them at the mercy of buy-back rates, which have been hit by the falling pound over the last few weeks,” he said.

The best way to counter this problem is to shop around first.

“Savvy consumers should shop around before they change currency back to make sure they’re getting the best offer available and not losing too much money in the process,” Strafford-Taylor detailed.

However, given the closure of many bureau de changes and suspension and cash services it may actually be best to hold on to the travel money.

“If they can, holidaymakers might want to keep hold of their currency until their next trip and use it then,” said Strafford-Taylor.

“For those using prepaid currency cards, they can spend their money back in the UK online or in stores, keep it for their next trip, or change it to a different currency altogether.”

Sacha Zackariya, CEO, Change Group International Plc, also agreed exchanging money may not be wise right now.

“Along with all other bureaus de change and banks, we have now closed all branches,” Zackariya told Express.co.uk.

“We actually made the decision to close them before government restrictions to protect our staff and customers.

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“Due to this, unfortunately, there is no easy solution to change your foreign currency at this point.

“I would, therefore, recommend holding on to this leftover currency until your next holiday or if it is somewhere you are unlikely to travel again then exchange it at a later date.

“As international travel restrictions are updated and government policies change we recommend checking our website for updates on this situation.”

Sterling’s biggest low this week came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered an announcement on Tuesday night that saw the UK forced into full lockdown.

The measures included the closure of many “non-essential” shops and businesses which saw the pound plummet.

However, Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, said: “Sterling continued to gain ground against the euro on Thursday, as a broad-based improvement in risk appetite helped to push the pound to its best levels in a week, back above the 1.10 handle.”

The boost came as the Bank of England decided to keep interest rates at a steady 0.1 percent on Thursday.

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Cruises

Cruise: The luxurious new trend of spa cabins – but is it really worth the price?

As the modern traveller begins to change, cruise lines have followed suit and began to broaden their offering. No longer are cruises just for one age bracket, but with different companies adding new features from technology to entertainment, there is something for everyone.

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One of the latest upgrades to make its way into several cruise lines is the introduction of luxury spa accommodation.

This may make you envision bubbling jacuzzi at the foot of your bed, or your own personal mud bath.

However, that isn’t quite the case, though they do certainly promise elevated relaxation for your trip.

Kerry Spencer, Editor of Cruise Critic spoke to Express.co.uk to explain exactly why this new form of stateroom is on offer and how much travellers will need to stretch the budget to bag one.

She explained: “Spa cabins generally include special in-cabin amenities, such as specialist toiletries; closer proximity to the onboard spa and VIP privileges within the spa itself.

“In addition, some lines also offer additional perks such as free speciality dining or free beverage packages.”

If you’re someone who frequents the spa on a regular basis throughout your holiday, they could well be worth the extra cost.

“Spa cabins are typically near the ship’s spa since easy access is one of the perks of choosing a spa cabin,” says Kerry.

“They range from inside cabins to suites, and are often the same layout as standard cabins in their class, but with added amenities and a higher price tag.”

Several big-name cruise lines are now offering this pamper-filled package to guests, including MSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Norwegian and Seabourn, though the perks for each cruise line vary.

For example, Royal Caribbean transformed rooms on its Radiance, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class at the end of 2019 in a bid to provide customers with a one-of-a-kind stay.

The new spa stateroom is described by the cruise holiday provider as “your private retreat for relaxing and recharging”.

The spa Stateroom will include a range of “calming in-room amenities” including specialist, down-feather bedding and “upgraded toiletries”.

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Passengers staying in a spa room will also benefit from 50 percent off one spa treatment, priority spa reservations, a welcome basket of fresh fruit and daily coffee and tea deliveries.

These rooms will be available for journeys beginning in 2021.

Kerry says they will provide “passengers with priority boarding and a relaxing retreat complete with several exclusive perks, such as a welcome gift of fresh fruit in their cabins and a nightly selection of refreshments including bottled water, tea and coffee; plush bedding; upgraded toiletries; slippers and a robe; and a balcony with cushioned furniture.”

Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises already offer their specialist “AquaClass” cabins.

“Of the ones currently found on major cruise lines, Celebrity’s AquaClass spa cabins offer the most included perks, such as upgraded bathroom amenities, specialist bedding, exclusive access to speciality restaurant Blu, as well as the spa concierge, unlimited access to the AquaSpa Relaxation room, the Persian Garden or SEA thermal suite,” Kerry continues.

Furthermore, some boast unique features you might not expect.

“Costa Cruises’ Samsara Spa cabins, for example, have direct access to the Samsara Spa via a glass elevator surrounded by a waterfall,” adds Kerry.

“Seabourn’s penthouse spa suites are also located directly above the Spa and have direct access to and from the spa via a spiral staircase located in the spa’s lobby.

“In the evening, Seabourn spa penthouse passengers can also choose a calming fragrance from a selection of four by L’Occitane to be diffused throughout the suite.”

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However, with the added experience unsurprisingly comes an added price tag, and that varies depending on who you cruise with.

Kerry says: “The cost of a spa cabin varies significantly based on the cruise line, ship and itinerary. The general guideline is that a spa cabin will cost more than a regular cabin in a specific category, but not as much as the next category up.

“A spa oceanview stateroom, for example, will cost more than a regular oceanview, but not as much as a balcony cabin.”

If you do want to enhance your cruise experience, then they may be worth the cost.

It largely comes down to how much you plan on using the spa.

“A spa cabin can certainly enhance your holiday experience if you are going on a cruise for some all-out pampering, and plan on spending a lot of time in the spa,” says Kerry.

“The perks you can enjoy include free thermal suite access, free fitness classes and great discounts on and priority access to spa treatments.

“If all you want are just a few onboard spa days, then the additional cost of a special spa cabin will probably not be worth paying a premium for.”

For passengers hoping to book spa treatments, they should do so quickly. If treatments become fully booked guests could miss out on their favourite experience, even if they’ve paid the extra cost.

“Don’t forget to book spa treatments in advance – ideally, as soon as you book, but definitely before you get onboard – since they can get booked up quickly, and can be more expensive onboard,” warns Kerry.

On the flip side, it is vital customers do their research as they may be disappointed.

Kerry explains: “When it comes to specialist spa accommodations, cruise line offerings vary significantly, so it is worth doing your homework to see if you are really going to gain from the upgrade.

“Work out how much time you also really want to spend in the spa, especially if you are on a port-intensive cruise or are excited about experiencing all the other onboard activities and entertainment programmes on offer.

“You don’t want to be beholden to your spa if it means missing out on other activities or being unsociable with new friends.”

Ultimately, holidaymakers should consider the purpose of their trip before purchasing spa accommodation.

“If you want your onboard experience to be all about pampering, then a spa cabin might be the perfect way to ensure you get the VIP treatment you deserve,” concludes Kerry.

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Travel

Flights: The unlikely item you should disinfect when travelling for this disgusting reason

Coronavirus has left everyone nervous about germs and handwashing has never been more discussed. However, it turns out that it’s not just your hands that should be cleaned when travelling. Research shows that your passport could be a veritable smorgasbord of nasties.

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A recent report by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shed some light on this.

Findings showed that the COVID-19 virus could still be detected on plastic surfaces (such as passport covers) up to three days after the initial contamination.

With this in mind, cast your mind to how many people have handled your passport as you’ve handed it over to be checked while travelling…

So should you be disinfecting your passport when you travel to prevent catching anything unpleasant?

One expert advised wiping the travel document down with wipes of over 60 percent alcohol.

Erin Sorrell, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University told Afar magazine: “In general, viruses—and not just the coronavirus—can survive longer on nonporous, water-resistant surfaces like plastic and steel.

“Many passport covers are made from plastic and those surfaces should be cleaned regularly.

“Using a disinfectant wipe that is over 60 percent alcohol is a good method.”

However, travellers should be careful not to damage or smudge any airport stickers they may need while cleaning their passport.

Passport covers to go over the passport could help worried travellers.

A sheath can protect the passport itself from germs and comes with no risks when cleaning.

Furthermore, other materials such as leather and fabric are porous.

This makes them less hospitable for viruses so they won’t survive as long.

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However, these covers should still be cleaned every now and again to still be on the safe side.

Travel health experts at Vaxxy Travel shared their top tips with Express.co.uk for saying safe and clean while travelling.

“Before your travel, organise an inflight bag of essentials to ensure you can remain clean whilst on the flight,” said Parvinder Sagoo, Pharmacist and Clinical Advisor at Vaxxy Travel.

“Things like anti-bac hand wipes, spray, hand sanitiser, facial wipes, anti-bacterial hand cream and face cream and any other items that will keep your immediate area safe.

“Once you get on the plane, wipe down your armrests, tray table and window shutter with one of the wipes to ensure any germs are removed.

Ensure you do not share any food with anyone on your flight, and when it comes to the in-flight meals make sure you wipe down any areas of plastic that you will be touching.

“Ensuring you take regular trips to the bathroom to wash your hands thoroughly in between hand sanitiser is advised to keep hands clean.

“If you do go to the bathroom, it might be an idea to take your anti-bac wipes with you so you can wipe down the areas that you will be in contact before and after for the next person.”

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Travel

Flights: Passenger shocks with extreme protective measures amid coronavirus outbreak

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the number of confirmed cases has increased rapidly, showing how contagious the disease truly is. This has led governments to urge people not to travel unless absolutely essential, however, there are many who have found themselves in this category, needing to fly back home to safety.

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Most plane passengers are taking safety very seriously, washing their hands, using hand sanitiser and wearing face masks while travelling through airports and on aeroplanes.

However, one traveller shocked his fellow fliers when he took extreme measures to protect himself from the COVID-19 virus.

Passengers were so shocked at his choice of protection that one snapped a photo of the moment and shared it with Instagram account @PassengerShaming.

The man can be seen sitting at the end of an economy row on board a plane.

Strapped into his seat, the man appears to be taking a mid-flight snooze.

However, it is the intense ensemble he has opted for in an attempt to protect himself from the virus which may be surprising to some.

Not only has the man donned a face-mask for protection, but he also appears to be sitting inside a huge plastic bag.

His entire body is enclosed within the plastic, and there seems to be no holes or way for him to breathe.

At the time of writing, the image has amassed 23,351 likes and 709 comments, dividing the opinion of many.

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One user wrote: “I can’t breath just looking at this picture.”

Another pointed out how unsafe his outfit could be. They said: “Meanwhile, it’s the suffocation that gets him.”

Someone else simply commented: “That can’t be safe.”

Another questioning: “Can they breathe?”

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Others, however, felt that his outfit choice was reasonable given the circumstances.

One said: “At this point, that seems like a normal response to me.”

A second added: “No chances taken!”

While a third congratulated the traveller, saying: “At that point, just put yourself in the checked luggage hold.”

There were some users, though, who felt even his extreme safety precaution simply wasn’t enough to protect himself and others around him.

“I wish you would start a COVID-shaming Instagram page to call out the stupid behaviour that is keeping this virus spreading,” said one commenter.

Another angrily vented: “Why are people even flying?! Stay your a***s home!!!”

This call to stay away from unnecessary travel was also echoed by PassengerShaming, who captioned the image: “If you can avoid it, please stay home.”

Of course, there were also those who tried to inject a little humour and light-hearted banter into what feels like an ominous situation.

One commenter said: “At that point, just put yourself in the checked luggage hold.”

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Categories
Travel

Emirates flights cancelled: Airline suspends all passenger flights amid coronavirus fears

The airline Emirates has announced it plans to suspend all flights by March 25. The decision is in line with a number of other airlines who have cancelled or reduced services as coronavirus fears grow.

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Emirates announced it will suspend all passenger flights in a statement posted on Twitter.

The statement reads: “Today we made the decision to temporarily suspend all passenger flights by 25 March 2020.

“SkyCargo operations will continue. This painful but pragmatic move will help Emirates Group preserve business viability and secure jobs worldwide, avoiding cuts.

“We deeply apologise to our customers for the travel disruptions and inconvenience caused. We are committed to minimise impact to our customer.

“We will continue to watch the situation closely, and will reinstate our passenger services, as soon as feasible.

“These are unprecedented times for the airline and travel industry, but we will get through it with your support.”

Are you affected?

The airline flies from six UK airports, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London Gatwick and London Heathrow.

The majority of flights are long haul and will usually stopover in Dubai.

Those who have booked tickets and are set to board a passenger flight from March 25 will no longer be able to do so.

In the statement, the airline explained it will try to minimise the impact to customers as much as possible.

The company also shared information for customers hoping to get a refund or fly at another time.

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Passengers who are no longer able to fly will be able to request a travel voucher.

Detailing the voucher, the Emirates website wrote: “Travel vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue and can be used for any Emirates product or service.

“Travel vouchers are issued per passenger and are non transferable.

“You can use the travel voucher throughout the year for multiple transactions if you wish to (up to its value).

“You will also receive travel vouchers for any services you have paid for associated to your ticket.”

Passengers whose flights have been disrupted can also put in a request for a refund.

Over the past few weeks, airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair, British Airways and Norwegian Air have all cancelled a huge number of flights.

This follows the government’s advice, who have urged Britons to stop all unnecessary travel.

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Cruises

Cruise: The strict rules which could see some passengers banned from cruises

Cruise holidays have been increasing in popularity in recent years and attracting an audience far beyond the stereotypical older generation which was once its main target. However, despite more options for younger travellers, there is a strict policy in place which means some travellers may be denied boarding.

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It turns out that cruise lines can not allow pregnant women to travel onboard their ships after a certain point. This is to do both with the safety of the mother and baby, as well as the capabilities of the crew.

Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor of Cruise Critic, spoke with Express.co.uk to explain why these regulations are in place and revealed what alternative options are out there for mothers-to-be who hope to take to the seas.

“If you’re enjoying a healthy pregnancy and have been given the green light from your doctor, cruise lines will generally accept pregnant passengers in their first or second trimesters,” explained Adam

“However, cruise lines have implemented strict pregnancy policies that place restrictions on travel for pregnant women starting just ahead of their third trimester, due to concerns about potential pregnancy complications and the possibility of preterm birth.”

The trend of “babymoons” is on the rise – a popular way to enjoy some last-minute relaxation before the baby arrives.

Though a luxury cruise, complete with pool, abundant food and a full-service spa may sound like the ideal way to spend this pre-baby holiday, it’s probably not an option.

As Adam points out: “Cruise lines have put these policies in place with the safety and well-being of mothers and babies in mind, since most lines are not equipped to safely care for a new-born that is delivered prematurely.”

Though cruise lines do offer onboard medical staff, including full trained conductors and even special areas dedicated completely to caring for sick or unwell cruisers, they don’t have the capabilities to care for a newborn.

“Ships from the main cruise lines will all have at least one doctor and two nurses onboard,” says Adam.

“Many larger ships sail with two doctors and three to four nurses.

“Strict rules mean that all ships must have medical staff on call 24 hours.”

Though all medical personnel on board must have at least three years of postgraduate experience in both general and emergency medicine, staff do not have the equipment on hand that land doctors do.

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“Cruise ship doctors are unlikely to fully treat life-threatening illnesses or injuries onboard, as they do not have all the resources of a land-based medical facility,” says Adam.

“As a result, seriously ill patients or those with illnesses outside the scope of onboard medical facilities will be evacuated by tender boat, or helicopter to the nearest shoreside hospital.”

In a worst-case scenario, should something unexpected happen during or after labour to either mother or baby, the cruise ship crew may not be able to help and waiting on rescue transport could have dangerous consequences.

What’s more, the need for additional emergency medical support or treatment could incur a huge cost.

This is partly why medical insurance is so vital on a cruise, baby or not.

However, there are also times when a pregnancy can happen after a cruise has been booked, which could see potential holidaymakers unsure of how to proceed.

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Adam says: “Since many people plan their cruise holidays well in advance, it’s entirely possible that an unexpected pregnancy might end up overlapping with your planned sailing dates. If you don’t wish to sail while pregnant and have not yet paid your final payment, it’s generally easy to cancel your sailing and get a refund of your deposit.

“As a matter of policy, most cruise lines don’t count pregnancy as just cause for a refund or travel credit, so if you cancel after final payment, you might be accountable to your cruise line’s cancellation policies and might not receive a full refund. Each line, of course, has their own policies, but there are times we do see cruise lines work outside of what’s legally necessary to assist when guests are experiencing certain extenuating circumstances – customer satisfaction generally continues to be of paramount importance to most cruise lines.”

In most cases, an unexpected medical issue or hospitalisation is covered by repurchased travel insurance.

Alas, with pregnancy the rules can be different.

Adam continues: “Unfortunately, there are few travel insurance companies that classify pregnancy as an unforeseen event. Nonetheless – we highly recommend that you purchase specialist cruise travel insurance as soon as you’ve paid the final instalment of your booking – since most will take your pregnancy into consideration on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s also worth bearing in mind that a number of travel insurance companies will not allow you to book travel insurance a year prior to the start of your holiday – so make sure you do your homework – or ask your travel agent or cruise line for advice regarding this before you make your final payment instalment.”

For travellers still in the early stages of pregnancy and keen to continue with their cruise, a doctor’s note is advised.

“Regardless of official policies for cruises and flights, if you’re far enough along to be showing, it’s advisable to have a doctor’s note on hand to play it safe,” advises Adam.

“Your GP should be able to organise a letter stating your anticipated due date and that both you and your unborn child are healthy enough to travel and that your pregnancy is not high risk.”

There is one alternative to the general rule, however, and that is river cruising.

Keen cruisers could turn their attention to a river cruise instead, allowing for the holiday to be much closer to land and providing easier access to land medical services should they be required.

“Many river cruise lines like Avalon, Uniworld, Viking and AmaWaterways don’t apply these same restrictions, given that riverboats are always close to land and land-based medical facilities,” says Adam.

“The decision of whether to cruise is left to the judgment of the woman and her doctor instead.

“Some cruise lines will have you sign a health questionnaire when booking or at check-in to ensure that you’re aware of their pregnancy policy.

“Many others require that you get a letter from your doctor stating your anticipated due date and that both you and your unborn child are healthy enough to travel and that your pregnancy is not high risk.”

Adam says the best thing to do is plan in advance and be aware both of your cruise lines policy and your current travel insurance policy.

He concludes: “If you are thinking about starting or expanding your family, or even that this could be a possibility – make sure you check with your cruise line or travel agent on where you stand if you should fall pregnant and be over 24 weeks by the sailing date.

“Familiarise yourself with the cancellation policies so you’re aware of what you’re entitled to in the event that you are unable to sail.

“Research and buy comprehensive cruise travel insurance that covers most eventualities – since travel insurance providers will take your particular case into consideration if you have to cancel your cruise.”

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Categories
Travel

Coronavirus flights: What are major airlines’ rebooking & cancellation policies? Full list

Coronavirus has thrown the holiday plans of many into chaos as the deadly virus sweeps the globe. There are current 212, 616 confirmed cases in the world and a total of 8, 727 deaths so far. Coronavirus has proven a nightmare for those with flights booked as the UK government warns against all but essential travel outside the UK for 30 days.

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Travellers are being forced to rearrange their holidays, whether that’s cancelling flights (if they haven’t already been axed) or rebooking.

Each airline has their own policy on how customers should proceed, from easyJet and Ryanair to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Travel app Omio has rounded up airline policies as a resource for anyone who had previously booked travel or may be trying to travel home.

Boris Radke, Director Corporate Affairs at Omio, said of the current situation: “Right now, restrictions across many countries mean for most people and with only a few exceptions, it’s not possible to travel, nor is it sensible to. However we fundamentally believe in people’s desire to get back on the move as soon as it’s safe to do so; when that happens, we want to be there to support their needs.”

Here is Omio’s list of rebooking and cancellation policies for major airlines:

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus is currently waiving our change fees across all fare types and in all markets.

You may re-book to another day of travel by using the Manage Trip section. Please note the departure destination cannot be changed online.

If your flight is cancelled you can apply for a refund you can switch the date or destination of your journey.

Air Canada

Air Canada has implemented a goodwill policy that applies to flights to, from or via certain countries listed at this link. For other destinations, normal fare rules, including change policies, apply.

Air France

Users can postpone their trips (if booking was done before 31 March + flight planned until 31 May) without fees. If flight is after 31 May, then possible to get a voucher for the full amount.

Alitalia

All passengers who purchased a ticket issued by 3 April for a flight departing from 23 February to 31 May can request the following by 31 May:

To change your booking for another trip taking place by 31 December

A refund with a voucher of equal value to the ticket purchased, valid for one year, to fly to any destination offered by Alitalia.

All passengers in possession of an Alitalia (055) ticket whose flight has been cancelled can request the following by 31 May:

To change your booking for another trip taking place by 31 December

A voucher of equal value to the ticket purchased, valid for one year, to fly to any destination serviced by Alitalia.

A refund of the price of the ticket or of the remaining value of the part of the trip which has not yet been completed.

American Airlines

No Change Fees For All Tickets Purchased Between March 1-31, 2020.

British Airways

If your BA flight is cancelled and you have booked via British Airways – they will rebook or refund you for your ticket via Manage My Booking. They recommend you go first to ba.com as this is the quickest and easiest way to make changes to your booking.

If you have booked via a travel agent, contact them directly to discuss further arrangements for your booking. 

BA are enabling customers to change their destination, date of travel, or both for free, on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Sunday 31 May 2020, as well as any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday 31 May 2020.

Delta Airlines

Delta is broadly waiving change fees for travel impacted by coronavirus. That means all travel departing in March or April 2020, as well as all tickets purchased in March 2020.

For flights May 1, 2020 or later, please continue to check back as the situation evolves.

EasyJet

Change fees waived until further notice.

The airline said: “Please be assured if your flight is cancelled, you will be contacted by us there is therefore no need to contact us.

“If a country changes their travel advice there will be a short delay in our flights being cancelled and following that rescue flights will be published. On average this is around 12hours during which time our operations team are working to understand the restriction and the impact it will have on our flight programme. As soon as they have done this the revised flight programme the affected customers will be contacted via email and SMS to alert them.”

Emirates

For those prohibited from travel due to travel restrictions as well as impacted by cancellation and suspensions (not including Iran the policy is:

Ticketed to travel until May 31

Rebook permitted until June 30

Reroute permitted until June 30 to selected Emirates destinations only. Applicable fare difference if any would apply.

Travel Vouchers for ticketed value.

Refund of unutilised tickets.

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Etihad

For passengers whose tickets were issued in the UAE on or before March 5, 2020 and who have been instructed or instructed by the authorities not to leave the UAE until further notice, flights departing by April 15, 2020 can do so without a standard change fee be rebooked.

Only one change is allowed, and standard fees apply for further changes. A route change or new booking is only possible if there are no travel restrictions for the intended travel destination.

Passengers can also request cancellation. In this case there is no fee for the reimbursement of the unused part of a ticket.

Eurowings

Free rebooking possibility for new bookings until 31 March 2020. As of now and until 31 March 2020, Eurowings passengers can rebook newly booked flights once free of charge. Thus, passengers can rebook to a new date within the travel period until 31 December 2020 without any rebooking fee.

Free rebooking until 31 December 2020 for already booked flights with departure date until 30 April 2020. The goodwill regulation for existing bookings applies to all flights with a departure date up to 30 April 2020. Passengers can rebook once to a new date within the travel period up to 31 December 2020 without any rebooking fee.

Lufthansa

Possibility to rebook existing bookings:

The new waiver policy for existing bookings applies worldwide for tickets purchased before 5 March with a travel date up to 30 April 2020. Passengers can rebook to a new date up to 31 December 2020 without any rebooking fee – regardless of condition of the original booking fare purchased.

General rebooking option for future bookings:

With immediate effect and until 31 March 2020, the Lufthansa Group airlines will waive the rebooking fees for all newly booked flights worldwide and offer a one-time rebooking – regardless of condition of the original booking fare purchased. Passengers can in future rebook to a new travel date until 31 December 2020 without rebooking fees.

Applicable for both waiver policies: The departure and destination airports must be identical. If the original fare is no longer available, the corresponding difference must be paid. The rebooking must be made before the original travel date.

Ryanair

If your flight is cancelled, then Ryanair will inform customers who can get full refund for free (or modify).

The flight change fee has been removed for April flights.

Virgin Atlantic

No change fee for new bookings including reward flights made in March 2020 for travel up until September 30 2020.

Flexible policy to waive the flight change fee for bookings made from March 4 – March 31 2020.

Vueling

Offering change of flight dates of all the bookings which include flights between April 13-30 2020.

The date change will be completely free (only the fare difference will be paid, if applicable).

The passenger/agency can change the flight to travel on any other available flight operated by Vueling on the same route.

Valid for all fares and flights operated by Vueling.

Please note that only one date change is allowed per flight in the booking (except for the TimeFlex fare which allows unlimited changes). It is only possible to change the date if none of the flights in the booking have been taken.

Wizzair

Passengers with bookings affected by cancellations are automatically informed (in most cases at least 14 days prior to their original date of travel) and reaccommodated on an alternative route.

Customers who have booked directly on wizzair.com or via the airline’s mobile app will receive an email notification establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of cancellation of flights.

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Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: Coronavirus crisis weakens GBP but stimulus could offer boost

The pound to euro exchange rate plummeted to a six-month low on Tuesday as coronavirus sweeps the globe. Following panic from several industries surrounding closures and job layoffs, the government last night unveiled its stimulus package which hopes to add some stability for the economy.

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Sterling is currently trading at a rate of 1.0975 against the euro at the time of writing. It shows a small boost since yesterday, likely owed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dedication to pump money back into areas of the economy which are floundering amid the spread of the deadly virus.

In a speech yesterday Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that the government would be providing a £330billion bailout for businesses.

The plan includes scrapping business rates for a year and providing cash grants to shops, pubs and other high-street outlets hit by fewer customers.

Vowing to do “whatever it takes” to protect the economy, Sunak said: “We have never, in peacetime, faced an economic fight like this one.”

PM Johnson added: “This enemy can be deadly, but it is also beatable.”

The government will also be offering a three-month holiday on mortgage payments for those in need.

Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, said: “The measures announced by the chancellor, such as a three-month mortgage holiday scheme, are an important first step to helping millions of consumers who may face financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis.

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“The government must move swiftly to ensure those in need of assistance get clear information about how these schemes will work in practice – and that the process for doing so is straightforward, ensuring consumers can easily access the support they need in the challenging months ahead.”

Home Secretary Dominic Raab announced yesterday afternoon that the government would now be advising all Britons to avoid any unnecessary travel over the next 30 days.

In parliamentary updates at the House of Commons he said: “The FCO will always take into consideration the safety of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British Nationals against non-essential travel globally for a period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.

“I should emphasise this decision is being taken based on the domestic measures being introduced into the UK alongside the border and a range of other restrictions which are being taken by countries right around the world.

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“The speed and the range of these measures across other countries is unprecedented some of those decisions are being made without notice.”

However, there may still be some who need to exchange travel money, and now are faced with concerns about whether they will lose out huge sums of money.

Although the Post Office has cancelled the sale of travel insurance, it continues to offer travel money exchanges.

It is currently offering €1.0577 for £400 or more, €1.0731 for £500 or more or €1.0785 for £1,000 or more.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of international travel money specialist Equals said: “The global pandemic of the coronavirus along with the government’s response and the market’s reaction has left the pound incredibly vulnerable.

“Combined with travel bans, country lockdowns and mass flight cancellations, holidaymakers are struggling to know which way to turn.

“People who have had to postpone their holiday or had their trip cancelled, could hold onto their travel money until they are able to rebook, or if it’s loaded onto a prepaid card, they could use it while on home soil.

“It’s a very uncertain time for the pound, so if you do need to change your travel money back into pounds, you should shop around to find the best buy-back rate.”

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Travel

Coronavirus flights: Ryanair issues urgent warning to Spain customers as flights cancelled

Coronavirus has forced Spain to lock down its borders as the number of cases in the holiday hotspot continues to rise. At the time of writing, there are 11,309 confirmed cases in Spain – the fourth highest country in the world after China, Italy and Iran. Airlines have cancelled huge swathes of flights to and from Spain.

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Now Ryanair has issued an “important notice” to those currently in Spain and hoping to return.

The budget airline explained that those checked in to return from March 21 to March 28 have been unchecked in by the carrier.

Instead, Ryanair has said customers should apply for a free move on an alternative date.

This is what you need to know about the latest update.

Ryanair said in a statement today: “In response to the decision of the Spanish Government to “lock down” the entire country to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, Ryanair Group Airlines (including Buzz and Lauda) has been forced to severely reduce flights to/from Spain, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands from 24:00 Sun 15 Mar until 24:00 Fri 20 Mar.

“Customers that were already checked-in for their return flight may have experienced difficulties to change their booking. 

“Today we are unchecking all customers booked on flights exiting Spain from 21 Mar to 28 Mar and advising them to apply for a free move on an alternative date via our online service.

“Ryanair Group apologises for any inconvenience caused by this unprecedented crisis. 

“The safety and well-being of our people and customers is our main priority. 

“We are working closely with state authorities and we will follow any travel restrictions that are imposed. 

“We will continue to comply with all WHO and EASA guidelines to combat the Covid-19 virus.”

The statement comes a day after Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the carrier was communicating with those travellers impacted by travel changes.

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He said: “At the Ryanair Group Airlines, we are doing everything we can to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has over the last week caused extraordinary and unprecedented travel restrictions to be imposed by National Governments, in many cases with minimal or zero notice. 

“We are communicating with all affected passengers by email and SMS, and we are organising rescue flights to repatriate customers, even in those countries where travel bans have been imposed.

He added: “Ryanair is taking all actions necessary to cut operating expenses, and improve cash flows at each of our airlines. 

“Ryanair is a resilient airline group, with a very strong balance sheet, and substantial cash liquidity, and we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced or even zero flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality, which will come about sooner rather than later as EU Governments take unprecedented action to restrict the spread of Covid-19.”

Ryanair also commented on the European lockdown which is currently underway in a statement.

“Ryanair expects the result of these restrictions will be the grounding of the majority of its aircraft fleet across Europe over the next seven to 10 days,” said the Irish carrier.

“In those countries where the fleet is not grounded, social distancing restrictions may make flying to all intents and purposes, impractical, if not, impossible.

“For April and May, Ryanair now expects to reduce its seat capacity by up to 80 percent, and a full grounding of the fleet cannot be ruled out.” 

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