Following Monday’s lockdown announcement, several UK airlines have begun scrapping flights. Most are in the process of reviewing schedules and aiming to maintain essential connectivity. Meanwhile, leisure carrier TUI has already canceled all flights out of England until mid-February.
In a bid to curb a new rise of infections, the British government has imposed a new lockdown similar to the one in March. The new measures allow only those with a legally permitted reason to leave home or travel abroad. Some believe this is still not enough, such as the former Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, who has called for the closure of international borders.
The new set of restrictions will once more have a tremendous impact on would-be holidaymakers, business travelers, and commercial aviation at large. The lockdown has initially been set to last until mid-February. However, some statements suggest it could run until March.
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Leisure operator TUI announced Tuesday that it had canceled all flights and holidays until mid-February if departing from an airport in England. For departures from Scotland or Wales, the date has been set to January 31st.
The carrier said in a statement on its website that anyone currently on holiday overseas could continue to enjoy themselves and would be contacted if there was any change to return flight schedules.
UK flag-carrier British Airways is yet to announce specific flight cuts. However, the airline has confirmed it is in the process of reviewing its schedule following the announcement of the new lockdown.
“Our focus is on keeping crucial air links open – transporting vital goods and ensuring people who are permitted to travel can continue to do so safely,” a BA spokesperson told Simple Flying.
Budget carrier easyJet is also reviewing its flying program while aiming to maintain essential connectivity between key cities in the UK and a small number of unspecified international routes.
“We are contacting customers whose flights are cancelled with their options and all customers unable to travel as a result of the lockdown restrictions, whether their flights are cancelled or scheduled to operate, can transfer their flights to a later date for free, receive a voucher or a refund,” an easyJet spokesperson told Simple Flying.
Virgin Atlantic is also in the midst of reviewing its schedule for the coming weeks, a spokesperson for the airline shared with Simple Flying. The carrier also says on its social channels that it is “here and ready” to make sure those who are traveling for a legally permitted reason can fly “safe and well.”
Virgin Atlantic has a generous rebooking policy in place with a name change, destination change, and two date change fees waived for a new travel date until December 31st, 2022.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair is yet to release a statement regarding any schedule changes. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Have your travel plans been affected by the new lockdown in the UK? Let us know in the comments.