- Quote: ‘We urge the government to provide the industry with more clarity, so that we can keep our all-important customers up-to-date and informed’ – Jet2
- Quote: ‘We’re incredibly disappointed that we didn’t get more notice of this announcement, or that this decision wasn’t made (on July 24), as many Brits travel on holiday at the weekend’ – Andrew Flintham, TUI UK and Ireland’s managing director.
By Andrew Atkinson
Just when you think that things cannot get any worse with the Spanish summer-hit holidays turmoil, amid COVID-19, and the return of the 14 days isolation placed on Brits returning to the UK from Spain – Jet2 made a u-turn and CANCELLED all flights from England to Alicante-Elche airport until August 16, at the earliest.
The shock news has left many people hundreds of pounds/euros out of pocket – after Jet2 reportedly said flights were to continue after the 14 days isolation announcement by the UK Government, from midnight on July 26.
And, the shocking fact is that many passengers with Jet2 found out their bombshell news, via the media.
No notification was made by Jet2 to some passengers – the day after media coverage.
Jet2 has cancelled all holidays and flights to mainland Spain until August 17 as a result of the UK quarantine rule change.
Just 24 hours earlier Jet2 had reportedly confirmed it would not be cancelling holidays and flights to Spain and advised customers to arrive for their flights as normal.
Jet2 had reportedly said that the four destinations they fly to in Mainland Spain (Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia), are “open and are located away from areas which have been impacted by increased cases of Covid-19.”
The statement said: “Following the latest government advice regarding travel to Mainland Spain from the UK, we have taken the decision to suspend our flights and holidays programme to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from 28th July up to and including 16th August.”
Jet2 are continuing to operate their scheduled programme to and from the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands and it says their “usual terms and conditions apply”.
The airline are offering customers affected the option of a full refund, the option to rebook with no admin fee or a Refund Credit Note.
A Jet2 spokesperson added: “Like all airlines and tour operators, we are operating in an extremely difficult and fast-moving situation.
“Travel advice is changing all the time, often with little or no notice, and in the case of Spain and its islands, the advice is inconsistent.
“We are having to make difficult and complex decisions in response to this, including keeping our policies under constant review.
“We urge the government to provide the industry with more clarity, so that we can keep our all-important customers up-to-date and informed.
“We are continuing to operate flights and holidays to our destinations in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands as scheduled. Because the FCO travel advice to these destinations remains unchanged, our usual terms and conditions apply.
“As always, we advise customers to purchase appropriate travel insurance before travelling.
“This is a fast-moving situation, which we are continuing to monitor very closely.
“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding and patience.”
TUI have cancelled some of their flight to Spain following the UK Government 14 days isolation notice from midnight on July 25.
Andrew Flintham, TUI UK and Ireland’s managing director, said: “We’re incredibly disappointed that we didn’t get more notice of this announcement, or that this decision wasn’t made (on July 24), as many Brits travel on holiday at the weekend.
“We also look to understand why quarantine has been issued for a whole country, including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands, when the travel advice isn’t aligned only applying to mainland Spain.
“It demonstrates why clear regional travel corridors need to be considered.
“The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is always our highest priority and welcome travel advice that protects those that holiday with us.
“However, the UK Government must work closely with the travel industry as this level of uncertainty and confusion is damaging for business and disappointing for those looking forward to a well-deserved break.”
Ryanair will continue to fly to Spain. Neil Sorahan, Ryanair’s chief financial officer, told the BBC: “As things stand, the market remains open, the schedules remain in place and we continue to operate in and out of Spain as normal.”
Spain has been removed from the UK government’s travel corridor list, anf anyone returning to the UK must quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Downing Street has warned “no travel is risk-free” after the coronavirus quarantine requirement was reintroduced.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said decisions on border measures and travel advice “can be changed rapidly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease”.
Responding to the decision, numerous UK airlines which carry flights to Spain directly criticised the move and accused the Government of throwing peoples travel plans into “chaos”.
The decision by Jet2 cost Los Montesinos, Alicante, resident Helen Atkinson £209 to book an alternative flight from Liverpool airport to Alicante-Elche airport – with rival airline Ryanair for July 29.
Additional costs have included travel to Liverpool – with a train ticket booked from Preston to Manchester leaving her financially out of pocket.
Helen had flown to the UK to celebrate her parents 60th wedding anniversary.
The decision by Jet2 came as a complete surprise as holidaymakers returned from sunbathing at the Costa Blanca beaches including Torrevieja, Santa Pola, La Mata, and Guardamar, along with thousands in Benidorm’s Poniente and Levante beaches.
In Benidorm beach plots, totalling 5,000, 13ft x 13ft were taped off, with a maximum of four people allowed in each square. Plots are also marked out at beaches across Murcia and Alicante regions.
Following the cancellation of flights amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Spain, mainly in northern areas, the Valencia government contacted the UK Government to put across that many areas of the Costa Blanca south have a minor number of new COVID-19 cases, per population percentages.
A plea that fell on deaf ears.
It was made in the hope that the 14 days isolation would be scrappe for those travelling to and from the UK to the umbrella of the Valencian regional holiday destinations, including the Costa Blanca south.
Although it is pointed out that health and safety is of the upmost importance the latest setback for travellers will hit their pockets financially, insofar as to the financial costs to rebook with another airline, at short notice.
“Not knowing if you will return to Spain has been very stressful. I have received no cancellation notification from Jet2 and found out through the media,” Helen Atkinson told The Leader.
At the time of going to press (July 28) no notification from Jet2, regards to her cancelled flight from Manchester to Alicante-Elche on July 29 had been received.
Dona Pepa, Alicante, resident Esteban Fernandez told The Leader: “I have the same problem not knowing if my sons and grandaughter, who are set to arrive on August 6.
“They are flying with Ryanair – and for the moment everything is okay – but for next week nobody knows.”