As the coronavirus crisis grows, should you stay or should you go when you’ve already booked your flight?
Here are quick answers to your frequently asked questions:
Q: Should I still travel?
A: The advice is against ‘all but essential’ travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against travel to a number of areas due to the ongoing outbreak. Please check the UK FCO website for country-specific information.
Be aware that there may be enhanced screening/monitoring at entry and exit ports. In some countries, you may also be required to self-isolate for a set period, even if you do not have symptoms.
Q: Can I get a refund if my flight is cancelled?
A: Flights to affected areas are being cancelled based on FCO advice and some are solely due to a downturn in bookings.
If you booked directly with an airline, you are eligible for a refund or to rebook free of charge (although you may still have to pay any fare difference incurred). If you booked through a third party, you will need to contact them to find out your options.
Q: I’m apprehensive to travel but I’d like to push through. What does my insurance cover?
A: Airlines, tour companies and insurance providers have no obligation to offer refunds based on panic.
So if you decide not to travel to anywhere outside the FCO travel risk list, you are unlikely to get refunded. It’s worth checking because some providers may allow you to move the booking as an incentive or an act of goodwill.
Q: Am I insured for cancellations?
A: Contact your airline, hotel or tour operator to check their policy.
If they can’t help, you will most likely need to have travel disruption cover included in your policy if you plan on travelling and getting insurance.
AA, Co-op, LV and Virgin Money all have policies that will cover for cancellations based on FCO advice, and hotel costs should your flight be cancelled. You also have protection using a credit card if your booking was more than £100.
Q: What if I end up in quarantine?
A: Comply with the rules of local authorities, which will probably involve a 14-day quarantine. It is unclear who will cover the cost of your journey home: either the UK Government could arrange a rescue flight or your travel insurance could cover your return. Check your policy provider.
Most insurance policies will cover medical costs should you become ill overseas but make sure you check the small print. If you’ve booked and simply don’t want to travel because you’re worried, you won’t have grounds for a refund.
Upon Your Return
Returned travellers who feel unwell with either a high temperature or new continuous cough, need to self-isolate for 7 days, see the Public Health England stay at home guidance. There is no need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. However, if symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, returned travellers in England, should contact NHS 111 online. Those without internet access, should call NHS 111 and for a medical emergency dial 999. In Wales and Northern Ireland contact NHS 111. In Scotland, phone your GP or NHS24 (111).