The UK Civil Aviation Authority understands the acute impact that Coronavirus is having on the industry, as well as those with upcoming travel plans.
The information below is for passengers and holidaymakers. Please check this page regularly for any changes in our advice.
Travel advice from the Government is available at gov.uk.
On 30 March 2020, the UK Government announced a partnership between airlines to fly British travellers back to the United Kingdom.
British tourists stranded abroad who want to return to the UK should first check if there are commercial routes available by visiting the airline websites, Foreign & Commonwealth Travel Advice pages for the country they are in and British Embassy social media.
If there are no commercial options, they should visit the Travel Advice pages and sign up to alerts for their location and follow local Embassy social media and email updates. When special return flights become available, these will be advertised by the local Embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media and those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email.
For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Please be advised that the UK Civil Aviation Authority is not able to offer individual travel advice.
The UK Government has published information for residents and visitors arriving in the UK from 8 June 2020, including requirements to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Further information is available at gov.uk.
If your flight has been delayed or cancelled, then you are protected by a European regulation, referred to as EC261.
Under EC261, your airline has a duty of care for you if you were flying out of a UK airport or if you were flying back to a UK airport with a UK or EU airline. If you faced a delay of over two hours, you may be entitled to assistance, potentially including the provision of food and drink, as well as accommodation if a delay continues overnight.
If your flight has been cancelled, then your airline should offer you the choice of a full refund or alternative flights. Under the current situation, alternative flights may not be practical to organise, for example where government advice is to avoid travel to particular destinations. A refund may therefore be the only option available for you.
Speak to your airline for further assistance. Please be aware that airlines will likely be dealing with more queries than usual and some may be prioritising consumers that are currently abroad or due to travel imminently.
If the Government has advised against all but essential travel to your destination, your airline will likely cancel your flight and offer a full refund. If you are due to travel imminently and your flight has not been cancelled, check the airline website before contacting the airline. If the airline has confirmed that your flight will go ahead, they may still be able to offer a refund, allow you to change your booking to a later date, or your travel insurance may be able to provide assistance.
We are aware that some airlines and travel providers are offering vouchers in place of refunds. If your flight has been cancelled, you are entitled to a refund, so if you would rather the financial payment, please request this from your travel provider.
If you believe you are entitled to receive a refund from your airline but they are refusing, you may wish to open a complaint with the airline.
Travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the spread of COVID-19 have led to a significant number of flight cancellations.
While we recognise that this is a very challenging time for both passengers and airlines, the passenger's rights under Regulation EC261/2004 still apply.
Further information can also be found in the Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights regulations in the context of the developing situation with Covid-19.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been pro-actively reviewing flights cancelled since March 2020 to consider whether they were due to COVID-19.
We have initially reviewed outbound flights cancelled by Jet2.com.
Please see our passenger rights information for details of the flights that have been reviewed.
A number of airlines have published advice on their website for their customers.
Advice from UK airlines can be found below:British Airways Virgin Atlantic Easyjet Jet2 TUI
Advice from non-UK airlines, which are not regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, can be found below:Ryanair Qatar Emirates Aerlingus Singapore Airlines Norwegian Airlines
Under EC261, consumers can receive compensation for cancellations made within 14 days of your booking date. However, this regulation does not apply where the cancellation is an 'extraordinary circumstance', outside of your airline's control.
Where the Government is advising against travel to a destination we consider that this would be viewed as an 'extraordinary circumstance' and compensation would not be payable. Cancellations related to coronavirus in other circumstances (e.g. where there is no advice against travel) would need to be considered on their merits and facts. However, decisions by authorities to close airspace, restrict airline operations or place restrictions on passengers are likely to be an extraordinary circumstances. Cancellations due to the economic and environmental consequences of operating flights with only a few passengers on-board may also be considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.
Please note that If your flight is cancelled, you will always be due a refund and to be provided with assistance, even if you are not due further compensation.
If you are booked on a package holiday or cruise package, where you have paid for flights and accommodation or cruise (potentially including other elements such as car hire), then your holiday is protected under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).
Under the PTRs, if any element of your package holiday or cruise package is cancelled or significantly changed, then you have the right to request a full refund of any payments made towards your holiday. Your travel company may offer you vouchers to be redeemed against a future booking, however you are entitled to request a full cash refund if you do not wish to accept vouchers. Alternatively, you can speak to your travel agent to try and organise alternative travel, though this may be difficult in the current circumstances.
If you are due to leave for a package holiday imminently to a destination where the Foreign Office has advised against travel, then under the Package Travel Regulations you have the right to request the cancellation of your booking and choose an alternative package or receive a full refund of any payments you have made to date.
If your booking is ATOL protected, please be aware that the company named on your ATOL certificate, under the “Who is protecting your trip?” section of your ATOL certificate, is responsible for your booking, including any refunds or amendments. Please speak to your travel agent or package provider for further assistance as ATOL is only able to offer assistance if your travel company ceases trading.
If you have been promised but have not yet received a refund for any payments made towards your ATOL protected booking, you will only be able to submit an ATOL claim for these payments if the company providing your ATOL protection were to cease trading.
Refund credit notes will benefit from ATOL protection up until 30 September 2021 if they have been issued between 10 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 for an ATOL protected booking that has been cancelled due to Covid-19.
While offering consumers a refund credit note is acceptable, travel companies must offer a cash refund at the same time. If the consumer chooses a refund credit note, they should have the option to convert it to a cash refund at any point and must do so before 30 September 2021.
Consumers should keep all the original documentation for their ATOL protected booking, including the original ATOL certificate, proof of payment and the booking documents.
There are other conditions which a refund credit note must meet in order to benefit from ATOL protection. If consumers are concerned that a refund credit note they have received does not meet the criteria to be ATOL protected, they should contact their travel company.
Refund Credit Notes should:
If you are concerned about travelling, please speak to your travel company and regularly monitor the Government's travel advice.
If you choose not to travel and the FCO has not advised against all but essential travel to your destination, you may be subject to your travel company's terms and conditions. An exception to this may be if your doctor has advised you not to travel, in which case you should contact your travel insurance provider. You may be required to provide a note from your doctor to confirm this.
Advice on travel insurance is available from The Association of British Insurers.
You can find further advice for passengers on our website.
For advice on travel destinations, please visit: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
For further European airline advice, please visit: www.easa.europa.eu/
For further information for cruise passengers, please visit: www.cruiseexperts.org/
For further information on package holidays and cruise packages, please visit:
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