Coronavirus advice for customers 2nd March 2021

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ABTA Members are doing their best to manage arrangements for customers whose holiday bookings have been affected.

Travel companies will be managing bookings on a rolling basis by departure date, so your company may not be in touch with you right away if your trip is not imminent. Please do be patient and keep checking their website for updates about your individual holiday and how they will be communicating with their customers.

We recognise that travellers will have many questions at this time so we have set out a series of Frequently Asked Questions on the current situation to help you to understand how your booking might be affected. The questions and answers fall within the below sections, which are:

1. Current travel advice
2. Future travel
3. Cancellations and refunds 

Our Customer Support team is experiencing an extremely high volume of calls during this crisis so unfortunately wait times are considerably longer than usual. We would strongly recommend reading the below FAQs and only contact us by phone if absolutely necessary. 

Airlines are not Members of ABTA. If you booked your flight directly with an airline, you will need to contact the airline if you are having any issues with receiving a refund.

Not all travel agents and tour operators are Members of ABTA. You can find out if your tour operator or travel company is an ABTA Member using our search tool here.

If you have an enquiry about a company that is not a member of ABTA please contact Citizens Advice.

1. Current travel advice

Following identification of a new variant of the virus, international and domestic travel is increasingly restricted, including through travel bans. The Government’s advice regarding inbound and outbound travel is outlined below. Due to the changing travel landscape, if you are unsure about the current travel advice and any specific COVID-19 measures that have been introduced in your destination, please speak with your ABTA Member travel provider to help you understand what this means for your forthcoming holiday.

 

Outbound travel

International travel from your area is likely to be restricted because of domestic regulations, so you should familiarise yourself with any guidance that restricts travel outside of your home area to go on holiday. Different rules apply in England, and the devolved administrations of Northern IrelandScotland and Wales.

If you are legally permitted to travel overseas, you should be aware that some countries have restricted entry to UK travellers. Make sure you read the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) travel advice page for the country or countries you plan to visit to find the most up-to-date information. These pages can be found here

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to some countries and territories on the basis of COVID-19 risks. The travel advice is based on risks to British nationals, including in-country public health assessments. Whilst some countries do not have an ‘all but essential’ travel restriction, if you are intending to travel to those countries you should:

  • Check that UK travellers are permitted to enter your intended destination(s) and be aware that restrictions or new quarantine rules may be introduced with little warning.

  • Comply with country specific entry requirements or restrictions included within the individual country travel advice.  

  • Comply with any country specific requirements on local COVID-19 measures in the destination that will need to be followed. 

  • Comply with any specific FCDO advice against travel to parts of the country included in the country specific advice (non-Covid related) 

Please visit the coronavirus travel guidance page for further information about travelling overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For full information relating to the coronavirus outbreak please visit the Government websitePublic Health England and the TravelHealthPro website.

Inbound travel

If you are arriving into the UK by train, ferry, coach, air or any other routes, you will need to be aware of the testing, self-isolation and quarantine requirements that apply to you.
Currently, all passengers arriving into the UK must:

  • Self-isolate for 10 days, either at home or in a quarantine hotel.

  • Follow a 3-test regime, including providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departing for the UK and taking two further COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of the self-isolation period in the UK.

  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form.

If you are self-isolating at home in England, you will have the option to use the Test to Release scheme. This means you can opt to take a COVID-19 test after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing you from the need to isolate. For more information, please visit the Government website.

While all arrivals must self-isolate for 10 days, there are more stringent hotel quarantine measures in place for all arrivals into Scotland and for arrivals into England who have been in or through a ‘red list’ country. Non-UK residents who have been in or through any of the countries on the ‘red list’ will not be allowed to enter the UK. British and Irish nationals, or anyone with residence rights in the UK, will be allowed to enter the UK but will have to quarantine in Government-approved hotels for 10 days at their own expense. Before travelling, they will need to book a quarantine package through this online platform. Click the links to find out more about hotel quarantine in England and in Scotland.

For further guidance on the requirements regarding testing and self-isolation across the UK, we recommend that you please follow these links for the full advice for EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.