UK Airlines Prepare For Setback Over Delay In Lifting Restrictions

With the UK seeing an uptick in cases, it looks like the government will delay the lifting of its lockdown restrictions until at least July 19th. Because of this, airlines based in the country appear to be shrinking their schedules and canceling flights, pushing things back by about a month.

UK Airlines Prepare For Setback Over Delay In Lifting Restrictions
It looks like Virgin Atlantic is delaying the restart of some of its Caribbean services Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

UK airlines cancel flights

It looks like a number of UK-based airlines are reacting to news of the extended restrictions by cutting their flight schedules. According to the Daily Mail, airlines British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and easyJet have all canceled flights until after July 19th- the new end-date for restrictions. Here’s what we know so far:

British Airways: Earlier this week, we reported that British Airways has dialed back its schedule for June and July. According to aviation data experts Cirium, British Airways has 3,867 flights scheduled for the entire month of June. This past week that fell by 42% (1,625 flights) to 2,242 flights for the whole month.

easyJet: Once extremely optimistic and eager for the summer travel season, the budget airline has begun dropping some services to Greece and France.

Virgin Atlantic: The airline told the Daily Mail that it has had to delay the restart of some of our Caribbean services in response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 restrictions. “These include the London Heathrow to Trinidad and Tobago service, currently assigned Red List status on the UK Government’s traffic light system, which will now resume from 7 October and our London Heathrow – Havana route, now due to commence 1 October,” the airline states.

The carrier has also delayed the restart of some of its transatlantic flights to mid-July. This includes its London Heathrow services to Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Manchester to Orlando, Atlanta, and New York-JFK.

UK Airlines Prepare For Setback Over Delay In Lifting Restrictions
Services both long-haul and short-haul have been affected by the delay in lifting restrictions. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons 

All those affected should be notified by their respective airlines or travel agents. Virgin Atlantic notes that when one of its flights is canceled, customers can rebook their flights for a new travel date all the way until April 30th, 2023. Alternately, they can convert their booking to a travel voucher or request a full cash refund.

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The anticipated delay to ending lockdown

While an official decision has yet to be published by the government, reports are suggesting that the UK’s ‘Freedom Day’ will soon be pushed back to July 19th, from the original date of June 21st.

This anticipated announcement is believed to be a response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases- recorded as a 240% increase in a period of seven days. The overwhelming majority of these cases, 90% according to The Standard, are the ‘Delta strain,’ which was originally found in India.

UK Airlines Prepare For Setback Over Delay In Lifting Restrictions
While it first had a fairly robust summer schedule, British Airways has drastically cut its flights for the month of June. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

Now well aware of how bad an outbreak can get, especially with a variant that may be even more contagious, it looks like the UK will be taking a more cautious approach. Unfortunately, for many Brits, this move will mean a summer vacation closer to home.

Have you been affected by any flight cancelations? Share your experience by leaving a comment.