Last Updated: 12th April
This article was created on the 13th March 2020 using only facts which have been issued by the UK Government, other world Governments, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other trusted sources. This article will be updated when new travel information is released, ensuring we share only the most relevant and up to date facts.
In addition to this, we will also share travel information advised by Martin Lewis, who is the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, regarding ways to keep your money safeguarded and anything you need to know about travel companies and potential refunds in response to the Coronavirus.
Our focus with this article is to help those with current travel plans or travel plans for the future, with updated news focused on things such as the status of global borders and visas, flights, insurance, refunds and any other travel disruptions. We do not want to share anything that is not relevant, or anything that will cause panic or scaremonger. We are of course not professionals on this matter either, so please do your own in-depth research for your specific queries and make decisions based on that – we are just here to highlight the latest travel news and try to help in any way we can.
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A List of Insurance Companies & their New Cover Policies
b. Refunds if you used a Credit Card to Pay for your Holidays
1. The Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Now we won’t go on too much about this, because by now we’re sure you are all fully aware of what it is and how it works, but we will briefly outline it anyways for those who may be living under a giant rock.
a. What is the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that has now turned into a global pandemic, which is not air-borne itself, but can be spread from person to person. This is spread through respiratory droplets (saliva) when an infected person coughs or sneezes (onto a surface or another person) and/or the infected person is within 6ft/2M of another person, for a long period of time (10-15 minutes).
b. How Dangerous is it?
Now this is very subjective to each individual and no one could possibly give a definite answer.
But what we do know, is that although people are saying “it’s just like the regular flu”, it is a lot more vicious due to lack of immunity, and the fatality rate is a lot higher. So no, it is not like regular flu at all. Yes, thousands of people die from the regular flu every year, which is awful, but the Coronavirus is being treated a lot different due to how quickly and effectively is can spread. Just keep this in mind.
Yes, the likes of Luke and I, most other young, middle-aged, fit and healthy people will (hopefully) fight this virus off without a problem, but you cannot be selfish and naive here – it is the weak and vulnerable such as the elderly, cancer patients, asthmatics, diabetics and people with heart and lung diseases that will suffer badly or become fatally ill. These are the people we need to think about when us fit folks have the potential to be carriers and spread the virus unknowingly. Just stay at home where possible to help prevent further outbreak.
c. How Can it Affect Me?
Family and Friends – If you have symptoms, you now have to self-isolate for 7 days, then use the online 111 service if your symptoms do not improve or worsen. If you have tested positive for the virus, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days, meaning not leaving your house or having face-to-face contact with anyone including friends and family, even in your household. Future measures for the UK may consist of the whole household self-isolating for 14 days if just one family member has tested positive for the virus.
Work – You may be asked to work from home if possible, to help prevent spread of the virus. For those who are unable to work from home, please see the following information:
Following that, if you are self-employed, you can also sign the following petition to also receive SSP:
Travel – This is what a lot of people are worried about as so many people are set to lose hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, due to their holidays or flights being cancelled. Despite the outbreak, a lot of travel/holiday companies are refusing to refund or amend unless you have been advised not to travel to that destination, or if the company cancels the trip themselves.
2. Countries Who Have Changed Their Border or Visa Status
The brown link above is SO useful and has all the updates you will need regarding border controls and travel updates. Basic, to-the-point lists, including the latest border and visa changes, and who is restricted from entering which countries.
The latest news stated below, can all be found via the above button.
The Latest Travel Updates: 12th April 2020
- Canada have now made allowances on who is permitted to enter the country. Such as immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and people who hold and have not yet activated a student or working visa. All people must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless if they have symptoms or not. Please see source for more details.
Source: IRCC (Canadian Government)
- Canada to close all borders to all foreigners, from 12:00 EDT on 18th March 2020, up until 12:00 EDT on June 30th 2020.
Source: Canadian Government (canada.ca)
- USA mutually closes its northern border with Canada, for all but essential travel.
- Britons advised against all non essential travel globally for at least 30 days, as of 17th March.
Source: BBC News
- France lock down 15 days at least as of 12pm on 17th March.
Source: Independent News
- Canada to close borders as of Wednesday 18th to foreigners, with exceptions bring made for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members and U.S. citizens. Their Prime Minister also said that air operators will ban anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus from getting on a plane.
Source: Global News
- South Africa to close borders to all citizens from high-risk countries. Visas will be refused to anyone who has visited a high-risk country in the last 20 days, and 35 of the country’s 53 land ports will also be shut as of Monday.
Source: France 24 News & BBC News Live
- Kenya is advised against for all but essential travel, by the FHO. They are suspending travel from any country with reported COVID-19 cases.
Source: BBC & FHO (7:32am)
- Germany to close its borders with France, Austria and Switzerland on the morning of 16th March
Source: Independent News
- Australia arrivals will now have to be self isolated for 14 days.
Source: BBC News
- USA have banned anyone from entering the country who has been to China or any of the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe, within 14 days of entering the US, with effect from midnight 13th March. This now includes the UK and Ireland, which is effective from midnight March 16th.
- Spain is planning to go into lock down as of 14th March, following a 1,500 rise in cases overnight. Flights to Spain have been cancelled.
Source: Sky News
- Philippines is in lock down after raising it’s highest alert, covering 16 cities for at least 30 days.
- Czech Republic, Norway, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Turkey, Pakistan and Hong Kong have all announced full or partial plans to close their borders to foreigners.
Source: BBC Daily Update Thread – Please also click each country above to read location specific information
- India has announced that it is suspending all existing visas for at least a month, as it stands, with affect from 13th March to 15th April.
- Not so much border and visa related, however we want to highlight that New Zealand are now requesting for all new arrivals to self-isolate, effective from midnight 15th March.
Source: BBC News
3. Flights, Holidays, Cancellations and Refunds – Where do I Stand?
List of Suspended Flights
Unfortunately, the list of cancelled and disrupted flights is as long as my arm. However, via the button below, you can find a full list of all flights affected by COVID-19, which includes a list of countries where flights have been suspended, and also the dates they are suspended until (which are all of course all provisional).
On this list you can find detailed information on:
- British Airways
- Air France
- American Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Delta Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Lufthansa Group
Will I Get a Refund for my EXISTING Flight?
Now that the World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, a lot more airlines are being lenient with letting people get a refund or reshedule their flights, which have been previously booked before the outbreak.
You will mostly find that if your destination of travel has been restricted other than for “essential travel”, your airline will allow you a refund or amendment as it is due to the Coronavirus. Despite that, it seems most airlines are letting people re-book their flights, given they were booked within the dates stated by the airlines.
You can find a list, via the button below, of the following airlines and their refund/amendment policies in response to the global pandemic:
- Air Canada
- Aer Lingus
- Air France
- All Nippon Airways
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Delta Airlines
- Quantas and Jetstar
- Qatar Airlines
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines and Silk Air
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Will I Get a Refund for a NEW Flight if I Book Now?
This seems like a resounding no across most airlines, from the airlines themselves, for obvious reasons.
All airlines have stated they will only allow passengers to amend their flight or get a refund for their already existing bookings, which were booked within a certain time frame (mainly during, or before March). You can check these time frames, again, via the button above, but also double check your airline website to confirm.
If you do decide to book a holiday now for later on this year, to a country that hasn’t yet been advised as a no-go area, make sure you book your travel insurance as soon as you book your flight. Insurance policies that will cover cancellations to official no-go COVID-19 areas will only pay out if you got the insurance BEFORE the country is ruled off-limits. So the earlier you get it, the safer.
Do not book any flights (or holidays) at the moment if you don’t have to. With everything going on, it is not a given that your future flight and holiday will even go ahead, which will just be a massive ball ache. Several countries, including the UK, are expected to get worse and could go into lock down, so you would just be setting yourself up for a load of potential problems down the line! No worth the risk in my opinion.
This is also a similar situation with insurance companies and polices:
b. Hotels & Package Holidays
FCO warning in place for your travel destination? Your hotel booking will most likely be covered by your insurance for any cancellations. Check direct with your insurer.
No FCO warning for your travel destination? Your insurer will most likely not cover your hotel booking costs in response to cancellations because of COVID-19.
Contacting hotels directly is also a great option. A lot of hotels are independent and of course have their own management, so they might be willing to help you in ways your insurance or holiday package may not. We personally know a few friends from the UK, who phoned their hotel in Belgium to ask if they could get a refund due to the outbreak, and despite there being no restrictions for travelling to Belgium, the hotel agreed to refund them – so it’s definitely worth a try!
You can also use this chart below to check what your insurance company would be willing to cover during the outbreak, regarding hotels, flights and car rentals:
A lot of the airlines listed above also offer their own holiday packages, so if you have booked with any of the above companies, you can find a list of their new refund and amendment policies via this link:
Currently, only holidays to the destinations listed on the FCO website as restricted areas due to the Coronavirus, are subject to changes/refunds. You can find a full list of countries here, each with their own details regarding the virus and restrictions.
There are hundreds of holiday companies, too many to list individually, but if you have booked through a different holiday company other than through an airline, check their website for updates or contact them directly for their specific policy. You can also check the few listed via the button below.
With that being said, here are a few articles we have also come across that may be of help:
As it stands, Eurostar are still running their trains to all destinations.
However, given the circumstances, if you are booked to travel between 13th March and 7th April, they are offering an eVoucher equivalent to your full fair. This includes any train bookings, as well as package bookings that include hotels booked directly with them. Read more below.
Airbnb have been great and simply offered a full refund for any existing reservations made on or before 14th March and with a check-in date of 14th April or earlier. Hosts will also be able to cancel without any fees or impact on their Superhost or Plus status. Read full details below.
4. Insurance – am I Covered for the Coronavirus Disruptions?
a. List of Insurance Companies and Their New Cover Policies
Whether or not you are covered is completely dependant on who you are insured with, but thankfully in most cases, yes.
However, you will only be covered by your insurance for any cancellations if you booked your trip to your destination BEFORE FCO advised against travelling there (however some firms are being more flexible with this).
Also, if the FCO have not yet advised against travel to your destination, your insurance (and flights) will most likely not be covered if you decide not to go – they see this as “your own choice” if their business is still running as normal.
If the following topics are of interest to you, please click the button below for more details and lots of other really helpful information:
- Almost all insurers say you WON’T be covered for the cost of travel if an event ticket’s cancelled
- Will travel insurance cover you if countries start blocking UK citizens from entry?
- Can I get insurance to cover my UK holiday?
- What if a UK-based holiday company has to close?
- What if my annual cover expires before the trip I’ve booked?
- I’ve booked a trip – can I cancel and get a refund?
- I’m currently abroad and worried about Coronavirus – what can I do?
- What about Coronavirus sick pay rights, childcare, cancelled events and house prices?
b. Refunds If You Used a Credit Card to Pay For Your Holiday
There is legal protection (Section 75) for credit card holders, to protect them on any purchases between £100 and £30,000, in the event that something goes wrong. This means they are jointly liable for any breach of contract (I.e. an event or holiday getting cancelled).
(However, some claims are rejected as the retailer they bought from used a third-party payment-processing firm to collect their payment, so bear this in mind.)
“The law is specific on this – you get the protection for the whole cost of an item or service, even if you only pay for a part of it – even just 1p would count – on credit. The only condition is that what you’re buying costs more than £100 and less than £30,000”
So, if you have currently got a trip booked via your credit card, you should be in luck in terms of getting your money back! Check directly with your credit card company and quote Section 75.
5. Other Travel News, Tips and Resources
- Guidance for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak of Coronavirus – Gov.uk