Travel

What should I do about my booked flights this year? An expert explains all

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Hollie Richardson
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Coronavirus travel: can I still go on holiday?

Do you have flight booked for later in the year? Money Saving Expert has shared its advice with Stylist on what to do next.

Nobody is travelling anywhere at the moment, unless it’s classed by the government as essential. Coronavirus has resulted in over 3 million confirmed cases globally and there have been over 200,000 deaths. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is warning against all non-essential foreign trips indefinitely

But with the lockdown being reviewed again on 7 May, will travel restrictions begin to ease soon? And what can we do about flights that we’ve already booked for the coming months of 2020?

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What should I do about my booked flights in 2020?

“In most cases, it’s best to sit tight for now and not to cancel,” Guy Anker, deputy editor of Money Saving Expert tells Stylist. “If you cancel now, there’s a chance you’ll get nothing or just get vouchers back, depending on the airline.”

Referring to flights that have already been paid in full, he continues: “You’re better off waiting for the airline or holiday company to cancel (but there is an exception for people who have only paid deposits). If they cancel, you’re almost certainly entitled to a cash refund. It’s hard, with some companies, to enforce that: entitled doesn’t mean you’ll 100% get it. 

“Airlines are pushing people towards taking vouchers so that they have more cash to pay their staff. We [MSE] are sympathetic to the travel industry. I would say to someone: if you are going to spend it, you might be doing your bit for the economy as a whole by taking a voucher rather than [the] cash. But I also know that people need money themselves for their own survival.”

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He explains it would be unlikely that, right now, insurance companies will pay out for future flights that you want to cancel because you don’t want to go anymore. But, depending on if the restrictions are loosened or not, you could be in a stronger position to cancel later.

“Hold tight, hold your nerve and wait for them to cancel,” Anker says. “If they don’t, you can cancel yourself and you’re in a much stronger position. It doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get money back, but sit tight is my main message.”

Which airlines are offering refunds right now?

According to MSE, these are the latest airline updates on refunds.

Easyjet

Easyjet is cancelling flights on a seven-day rolling basis and affected customers are being contacted. It has temporarily waived flight change fees, so anyone with an existing or future booking can move their booking to another date. 

Visit the Easyjet website.

Jet2

All Jet2 flights before 17 June 2020 are being cancelled. If you booked a flight that was due to take place before then, the airline will contact you with a list of options.

Visit the Jet2 website.

Ryanair

Budget airline Ryanair is waiving flight change fees for customers who wish to change their travel plans due to coronavirus from Friday 13 March until the end of April 2020. 

Visit the Ryanair website.

Coronavirus travel: you can only travel if the government considers it essential.
Coronavirus travel: you can only travel if the government considers it essential.

British Airways

British Airways is allowing you to cancel bookings before 31 July and get a voucher valid for two years.

Visit the British Airways website.

Norwegian

You can waive the Norwegian flight change fee if you have a booking for an international flight made up to and including 31 May 2020 for travel up to and including 30 November 2020. 

The entire journey (including return flight) must be completed by 30 November 2020. Alternatively, you can cancel bookings where the outbound flight departs before 1 June 2020 and get credit valid for 12 months.

Visit the Norwegian website.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic won’t charge change fees for bookings after 4 March 2020. 

Visit the Virgin Atlantic website.

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If you do have a flight booked this month, it’s of course worth looking into the above information on potentially getting a refund or rescheduling. But for any flights beyond that, it’s perhaps best to follow Anker’s advice and just sit tight for now.

Images: Getty

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…