Can I still travel under the new lockdown restrictions?
Monday, 2 Nov 2020
With coronavirus cases seemingly getting out of control, the Prime Minister of the UK has decided to impose a new lockdown for the whole of England starting November 5. People have been told to avoid all-non-essential travel, both in the UK and abroad during this period.
We completely understand that this news will cause confusion for travellers not only in England who wish to fly overseas in November but also those who may already be abroad and have plans to come home during this time. We’ll answer as much as we can below including information on refunds for your cancelled travel plans.
Holidays after November 5.
Both domestic and international holidays are cancelled from November 5 until at least December 2.
The Government has said people in England should stay at home during the new lockdown period and “there is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday – this includes staying in a second home”.
Overnight stays outside of those within your support bubble are banned within the UK and abroad.
For further clarification, the government states people “cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions”.
Holidays before November 5
The new restrictions in England commence Thursday morning at 12:01am, before then you are permitted to fly out of the UK but you may be subject to self-isolation or quarantine when you arrive at your destination or return home.
Airlines will be operating their normal flight schedules until November 5 but after this date the number of planes operating will be heavily reduced. Therefore individuals are likely to have their return travel plans disrupted.
For Those Already on Holiday
Residents of England who are already on a holiday abroad or enjoying a staycation within the UK are not obliged to travel home before the new lockdown begins.
The guidance states, “Those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse,”
For overseas travellers, there should be no real difficulty travelling home before November 5 but those due to fly home after this may run into trouble due to the reduced flight schedule.
You will be legally obliged to quarantine if the destination you are returning from is not on the UK travel corridor list.
The Travel Corridor List
Travel corridors are set to continue with the government guidance stating: “Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach.”
The announcement of 73 travel corridors; destinations UK nationals could travel to without having to quarantine, in July was seen as a way to once again open up air travel and allow people to enjoy a well deserved summer holiday.
However, as the virus one again transmitted within local communities, destinations such as Spain were quickly removed and by August 13 passengers from France, the Netherlands, and Malta among others had also been asked to self-isolate upon entry to the UK.
The list has seen a reduction of 20 with many popular holiday destinations for UK nationals having been removed. A full list of the current travel corridor countries can be found on the official government website.
Refunds & Travel Insurance
Under European law, passengers who were due to travel into or out of England can get a refund within 7 days if their flight is cancelled.
Several airlines such as Ryanair have came out and said they will not offer refunds to passengers if their flights are not cancelled.
Unlike in the spring, airlines are operating a limited number of flights and routes in order to facilitate those required to travel abroad for work and the law states passengers are only entitled to a refund if their flight is actually cancelled.
Ryanair say they won’t cancel any of the flights, and therefore won’t refund passengers, it had scheduled during the November period as they were already operating at only 30% capacity.
The only option for passengers who booked to fly with Ryanair on a holiday during the new lockdown period is to try and reschedule to a flight after December 2; however there is no guarantee the international travel ban will end on this date.
UK passengers are protected by European laws that entitle them to a full cash refund for cancelled flights within 14 days.
As we previously reported however, travel firms and airlines have received unprecedented demand for refunds given the scale of the pandemic and some have taken several weeks or months to process refund requests.
You are only able to claim back on travel insurance if you booked your trip before March 2020 – when the pandemic became a “known event” or if you have a specific policy that covers coronavirus related disruption.
Hotels & Other Accommodation
With holidays being cancelled, it is highly likely that holiday rentals and similar accommodation will be forced to close unless they can prove guests are staying for work or other legal reasons.
After Lockdown 2.0
These new restrictions are currently set to expire on December 2 – when the localised or tiered system will return.
This means large parts of the country will once again be able to fly overseas, while those in the highest tier or under localised restrictions will be strongly advised to stay at home.
The Rest of the UK
Wales and Northern Ireland are in the middle of almost complete lockdowns while large parts of Scotland have also been under strict restrictions for weeks.
The three nationals have similar rules on international travel to England with people only allowed to travel for work or a limited number of other reasons.
Remember you can use our luggage shipping service to ship your luggage home during coronavirus.
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