Travelling to and from the UK

Extract from the Independent 01.11.2020


The UK government has said:


 “Avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.”


"Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed – including holidays in the UK and abroad.


"This includes staying in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. 


“There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes.”


There is no impact on inbound international travel, though of course existing quarantine rules apply.


These are the key questions and answers based on what we know so far:

I am abroad at the moment. Must I come home? 

No, your trip should continue as normal. Assuming you are returning to the UK during lockdown, there is a good chance that your flight will operate as normal.

However, the ban on outbound international travel means that airlines and holiday companies are likely to cut back services to reduced their losses.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: "Following the government’s sudden announcement today, easyJet will operate its planned schedule until Thursday and will be reviewing its flying programme over the lockdown period.

"It is likely that much of the UK touching schedule [ie flights to, from and within the UK] will be cancelled during lockdown with our planned flying set to resume in early December.

“We will advise customers who are booked to travel over the next month of their options with a view to assisting customers to return to the country in the coming days."

A spokesperson for British Airways said: "We note the prime minister's announcement of a new national lockdown for England to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

“Like other businesses, we are assessing the new information and we will keep our customers updated on any changes to their travel plans.”

Under European air passengers’ rights rules, you are entitled to an alternative flight home – though given the extreme circumstances it may involve changing your trip by a day or two either way.

I have an overseas holiday booked to leave before Thursday. Am I still able to fly out – and what happens when I come home?

You should  be able to travel as planned. The ban on holidays begins on Thursday 5 November. Trips before that should be unaffected; easyJet has confirmed it will operate its schedules as planned up to an including Wednesday. 

But as indicated above, there is a significant chance that your homeward trip may be affected, assuming you are returning to the UK during lockdown.

After the Canary Islands were put on the “OK” list I booked a trip in November. Will it go ahead?

According to the government, no. You and thousands of other people are in an awful position. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, opened up the Canaries for travel a week ago. 

According to easyJet’s Johan Lundgren, “Bookings went through the roof”. Many of those trips are for November, with many people desperate for a break.

Those trips are now off. To travel on holiday anywhere abroad before early December will break the lockdown rules, and therefore you cannot go.

What are my rights if I cannot travel?

That depends on how you booked the trip, and the attitude of the travel provider.

The simplest case is if you booked a package holiday with one of the two giant companies, Jet2 Holidays or Tui.

 

They will not take holidaymakers abroad against government instructions. You will be entitled to a full refund within two weeks.

If you have booked flights separately, then your rights depend on whether the flight actually goes ahead. Many flights are likely to be due to a near-complete collapse in bookings. Under European air passengers’ rights rules you are then entitled to all your money back within a week.

However, some flights will continue. British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and other carriers have planned to operate up to 30 per cent of their schedules in November, and many of those departures will continue – not least because there are British travellers across Europe who are expecting to be brought home at the end of their holidays.

If both legs of the trip are operating, then you have no legal entitlement to a refund. However, British Airways and easyJet are likely to provide vouchers if you are unable to travel. Ryanair and Wizz Air may not.

If I stand to lose money – either on an air ticket, or an accommodation booking – can I claim on travel insurance? 

Probably not, though if the insurance policy was taken out before mid-March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic became a “known event,” then you may possible be able to claim for losses unrecoverable elsewhere.

What will this do for the travel industry – and people who work in it?

The international travel ban will cause thousands more job losses, very sadly, and finish off some great holiday companies. There could also be casualties among airlines and possibly even UK airports.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, the travel association, said: “Today’s announcement that holidays in the UK and abroad will not be allowed under lockdown in England will mean a complete shut down for travel businesses which have already been severely damaged by the pandemic." 

 

Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel analysts The PC Agency, said: “The winter period is always tough for the travel sector but this is set to be ultra-cruel. I hope that Rishi Sunak recognises the extreme challenges ahead and offers support to the sector. It’s going to need it.

"Job losses and company casualties are going to be widespread, sadly, and my fear is that lockdowns will be harder to ease than they are to switch on.”

Rory Boland, travel editor for Which?, said: "Many will go bust. Others will again withhold customer money to bail themselves out.”

Are UK holidays all off?

Yes. The government says: “Those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays.”

But holidays must not begin between 5 November and 2 December. 

Customers are likely to be entitled to their money back. The Competition and Markets Authority says: "A consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be provided because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

However, this may not apply to agreements reached where the provider has specified that, in the event of government action related to coronavirus, they will offer a credit note or postponement rather than a cash refund.

Update 29.10.2020: 

 

The Republic of Cyprus has been removed from the UK Green Travel Corridor.

 

UK travelers will from Sunday (4am UK time) will need to self-isolate for 14 days when returning from Cyprus, due to rise in Covid 19 cases in Cyprus. Lithuania was also added to the UK's self-quarantine list.

Residents or visitors travelling to the UK from any country, must provide journey and contact details using the form below.  This includes if you’re travelling from a country or territory where you do not have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK. You must complete this form even if you’ve already completed a different form to enter another country.  If you do not do this before you arrive it might take you longer to enter the UK.

The journey and contact details form must be completed online less than 48 hours before you travel.  Do not print out the form and fill it in by hand.


When you arrive at the UK border you’ll need to show either:

  • a printed copy of your confirmation email

  • the confirmation email on your phone

The government will use this information to contact you if you or someone you’ve travelled with develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.


This is a free service. You do not need to pay another website or business to provide your contact details for you.

https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk


You’ll also need to self-isolate in the place you’re staying for the first 14 days after you arrive, unless you’re travelling from certain countries or territories.


You may be fined up to £100 (£60 in Northern Ireland) if you refuse to provide your contact details. You may be fined more if you break this rule more than once. You also may not be allowed to enter the UK (unless you’re either British or a UK resident).


If you develop Coronavirus symptoms
Do not travel if you have Coronavirus symptoms.


If you develop Coronavirus symptoms when you’re travelling to the UK, tell the crew or driver on your plane, ferry, train or bus. They’ll tell staff in the airport, port or station, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

If you’re travelling with other people
You and the people you’re travelling with must all complete a separate form.  If you’re travelling with someone under 18 years old, they do not need their own form if you:

  • will arrive and leave together

  • will stay at the same UK address

  • add their details into your form

If you will enter the UK more than once in 48 hours
You can include multiple journeys in your form if you will enter the UK more than once in 48 hours, for example if you’re a haulier or crew member.
 

Who does not need to complete the form
You do not need to complete the form if you’re travelling from one of the following places, and you were there for 14 days or more:
Ireland
the Channel Islands
the Isle of Man
There are other reasons why you might not need to complete the form. Read the list of who does not need to complete the form.

Before you start
You’ll need:

  • your passport details

  • the name of the airline, train or ferry company you’re travelling with

  • the name of the company organising your tour group - if you’re travelling as part of a tour group

  • your booking reference

  • the name of the airport, port or station you’ll be arriving into

  • the date you’ll be arriving

  • your flight, train, bus or ferry number

  • the address you’ll be staying at for your first 14 days in the UK

  • details of someone who can be contacted if you get ill while you’re in the UK

 

If you’re travelling by Eurostar or Eurotunnel:

  • put ‘Eurostar’ or ‘Eurotunnel’ when the form asks ‘What is the flight number, train service or ship name that you will arrive on?’

  • provide your scheduled time of departure.


Contact the helpline if you need help with completing the form or have questions about self-isolation.

 

For queries relating to who does not need to complete the form or self-isolate, please read the list of those who are exempt and the evidence they should provide.

 

Form and self-isolation helpline
Telephone: 0800 678 1767
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

 

Useful Links

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-transport-and-travel-guidance

Source: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

                              In cooperation with

TFR - The Foreign Residents in the TRNC