FLIGHTS are resuming from the UK next month as airlines restart their international schedules.
The current advice from the government still advises against non-essential travel – although this could change in the upcoming weeks.
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Some airlines have already relaunched their flight schedules, albeit at limited levels, such as Wizz Air who resumed flying in May.
We've also explained everything you need to know about getting a refund during the pandemic as well as the hand luggage rules.
Ryanair is resuming flights abroad from July 1, with 1,000 daily flights to popular destinations including Spain, Greece and Portugal.
Airline boss Michael O'Leary said on Good Morning Britain that thousands of families had already booked a trip abroad in July and August.
The low-cost airline's new safety measures include:
- Face masks / covering worn by passengers and cabin crew
- Fewer checked bags encouraged
- Passengers to check in online and download boarding passes
- All aircraft interior surfaces are disinfected every night with chemicals
- Limited trolley service onboard with just pre-packaged snacks and drinks
- Food and drink paid for by card only
- Queuing for plane toilets will also be banned – passengers have to ask to use loo
Mr O'Leary has also spoken out against the government guidelines regarding checking hand luggage in – with the Ryanair boss advising the opposite.
He told the Independent: "We’re recommending passengers do exactly the opposite: maximise carry-on bags and minimise checked-in bags."
He added: "Our logic has always been that checked-in bags are handled by eight pairs of hands, from the check-in desk to the boarding gate, all the way through to the arrival airport as well – whereas a carry-on bag the passenger keeps with them at all times."
Ryanair passengers looking for refunds have been told they can be expected to wait 10 to 12 weeks, according to Mr O'Leary, as they are dealing with "an unprecedented record backlog of cancellations”.
Many passengers are instead being offered credit notes instead of refunds, which will convert back to a refund if not used within 12 months.
In an email to customers, the airline explains: "Please note that if you do not use the voucher before the expiry date you will receive a full cash refund.
“In the event you use the voucher in part, you will also receive the option of voucher for the balance or a cash refund after the expiry date.”
EasyJet are resuming flights from next week, although this will be primarily for domestic routes only.
Following this, half of its 1,022 fleet will start overseas flights from July.
By August, 75 per cent of its routes will be operating – but with around 30 per cent of its normal flying capacity between July and September.
The airline has introduced a range of new safety measures as well for when passengers resume flying.
- Enhanced aircraft disinfection for easyJet aircraft
- Customers, cabin and ground crew will be required to wear masks
- There will also initially be no food service onboard flights
Regarding the new hand luggage rules, easyJet told Sun Online Travel: “In line with EASA guidance we are allowing passengers to bring hand luggage on board but asking them to try and minimise this and advising them they will be required to stow it themselves in the overhead lockers.
"We have implemented a range of biosecurity measures based on the EASA guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers and crew onboard.”
EasyJet passengers looking for a refund have been offered three alternative options – a cash refund, a free flight change or a voucher and goodwill credit.
For cash refunds, easyJet is advising it can take 28 days, but warns that refunds may take up to 90 days to be processed.
For changing a flight to a different date, easyJet has waived the change fee so you can transfer for free onto any other easyJet flight within Europe up until May 2021.
For a voucher and credit, you will receive the voucher of the full cost of the flight, with goodwill options including a £50 easyJet Holidays voucher or a £5 easyJet flight voucher.
The UK flag carrier hopes to resume flights from July 1, with just eight routes from London Heathrow.
Later in July, international flights will resume to 29 destinations within North America, Asia and Africa.
British Airways has announced that it will encourage face masks on board – but it will not be mandatory.
Other safety measures include:
- Asking passengers not to move around the aircraft cabin
- Removing newspapers and magazines from on board its planes
- Only serving pre-packaged snacks
- Installing distance markers in its airports
- Requesting that customers make use of self-check-in and bag drop
British Airways customers with affected flights can get a cash refund by calling its customer service, but due to high demand it may be difficult to get through.
Alternatively, you can claim a voucher to use for a flight booking before the end of April 2022 by filling in an online form.
The airline is also offering Avios points as an option for cancelled flights.
Jet2 has postponed the launch of their flights, with routes resuming from July 15 to 40 destinations including Spain, Portugal and Greece.
While the airline is increasing its cleaning measures with daily disinfection of the aircraft, masks are not mandatory on flights.
Regarding refunds, Jet2 is allowing passengers to either move their flight booking to another date without charge, or to use a credit note within six months.
Passengers wishing for a refund will have to contact Jet2 directly.
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