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Travel Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Updated 1 April 2020 9.00am

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We are monitoring all Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice regarding countries we send our customers to for their holidays. We are also keeping close to the suppliers and Tour Operators who provide these holidays as there are various approaches being adopted.

We will contact all of our customers to advise you about the impact on your arrangements and to let you know what options are available. Please be patient as we work in date order with bookings travelling in the 10 days ahead being our immediate priority.

We urge our customers to refer to official sources of travel and medical advice. They are the most up to date and accurate ways of finding out information about travel restrictions/guidance and Covid-19-related medical advice. 

PHE – Covid-19 Guidance from GOV.UK
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

World Health Organization (WHO) – COVID-19 Disease Outbreak 

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice 
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice 

NHS Advice
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Advice for Cruise passengers  

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

What to do if you are travelling in the next 10 days 

1. Have you checked the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice website to see if there are travel restrictions? If there are no restrictions your booking will travel as normal. If there are, we will be working in line with ABTA and the FCO and will contact you.
2. Have you checked on the airlines website if your flight is cancelled? If not, your booking will travel as planned until advised otherwise.
3. Is the country you are travelling to affected? (Check the information below) No, then you are unaffected and can enjoy your holiday.
4. Are you travelling in the next 10 days? Even if you are affected, we will contact you as a priority.
5. Rest assured Co-op Travel is an ABTA member and ATOL protected, if your holiday is affected we will contact you in due course. Where refunds are to be issued we will get these from the Tour Operators as soon as possible to pass on. For Co-op Holidays packages refunds will be made in approximately 14-21 days from the date of cancellation.

General advice for travellers- Updated 1 April 2020

Travel update

On 17 March the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential overseas travel for British nationals, initially for a 30-day period.  

On 23 March the FCO advised all British travellers to return to the UK.


General travel advice for travellers

The FCO currently advises against all non-essential overseas travel for British nationals. British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place.

For the latest updates please visit the FCO website here.

Those currently in destination are advised by the Government to return to the UK now and should contact their travel company. They should also be aware that many destination authorities have introduced enhanced health measures including self-isolation procedures, and it is very important that travellers follow the public health advice relating to their local destination. Travellers should comply with these processes and take relevant preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure. Travellers should also keep up to date on local advice.

For full information relating to the Coronavirus outbreak please visit the Government websitePublic Health England and the TravelHealthPro website.
 

Advice to customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings

On 17 March the Government advised against all non-essential travel overseas, initially for a period of 30 days, which has effectively brought travel overseas to a complete standstill and led to hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers not being able to take their holiday. 

This situation is completely unprecedented, and the Government is urgently reviewing options to introduce temporary changes to regulations that will create a longer window for repaying refunds without affecting the protection provided by an ABTA or ATOL protected holiday.

Many customers have already postponed or rebooked their holiday or have received either refund credit notes or cash refunds from their tour operator or travel agent. A very important thing to note is that your holiday booking or refund credit note is financially protected in the event your travel business fails. Please see our guide on your options below. 

We completely understand that customers may feel frustrated by the process of receiving a refund but we would ask for your patience and understanding at this incredibly challenging time.  

Many tour operators and travel agents are doing all they can to help their customers but they have not yet received refunds from airlines and international hotels and without these they are simply not able to provide customer refunds, particularly on such a large scale in such a short space of time.

ABTA has also asked the government to establish an emergency fund for customers, where travel companies can’t recoup customers money from their suppliers, which would help alleviate the situation further, we will update customers when there is news on this.

We’d like to thank customers for their understanding, by following the steps below it will help to ensure that when this crisis is over UK holidaymakers will be able to book and enjoy their holidays in the same way as they have done for many years.  

We would recommend the following steps:

  1. If your trip has been cancelled because of the change in FCO advice, talk in the first instance to your travel provider to discuss options. 
     
  2. If possible, postpone your holiday or travel arrangements, don’t cancel – this will mean you have a holiday to look forward to in the future, and it will help your travel provider maintain its cash flow through the short-term challenges. 
     
  3. If you are not able to postpone, your travel provider may offer you a Refund Credit Note instead of an immediate cash refund. This Refund Credit Note can be used to book another holiday at a later date and, in the meantime, it is protected by ABTA/ ATOL if your original booking had that protection, so you would be reimbursed if the travel company failed financially.
     
  4. Further details on this option are below

    •  This protection will last until 31 July 2020 at the latest at which point, if you have not used the Refund Credit Note to book another holiday, you will be entitled to a cash refund.

    •  The value of the Refund Credit Note must be equal in value to the monies you have actually paid for the protected travel arrangements. 

    •  The Refund Credit Note must not include any other amount offered as a rebooking incentive or other offer. 

    •  Any such offers must be documented separately and are not covered by any scheme of financial protection.

    •  The Refund Credit Note must expressly identify the original booking reference and attach a copy of the cancelled Booking Confirmation / Cancellation Invoice and, where appropriate, ATOL Certificate. 
     
  5. If your travel provider has said they will offer a cash refund, please be patient with them as they process this: they are likely to be dealing with an exceptionally high volume of enquiries.
     
  6. If you have a travel booking for later in the year, please be patient. The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until mid-April.  You may incur cancellation charges or lose your deposit if you make a hasty decision.

Nobody knows for sure how long the current coronavirus pandemic will last, but we know that we will come out of the other side and we need to ensure that when we do, holidaymakers are still able to book and take their holidays and that there is a healthy and competitive travel industry to support them.  


Coronavirus Q&A

Q: What do I do if I have a holiday booked to depart after the current 30-day no-travel period (up to 16 April)?

A: If you have a travel booking for later in the year, please be patient.  The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until 16 April.  
If it turns out that FCO advice against travel affects your holiday, your travel company will contact you to discuss the options, at that time. 
If there is no Government advice against travel to your destination, you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there's no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.
 
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as there isn’t normally cover for disinclination to travel but you can check the terms of your policy.

The safety of travellers is a priority for travel companies, and their decisions will follow British Government advice.

If you cancel now, or don’t pay your balance when it is due, normal terms and conditions will apply and you will lose your deposit or have to pay cancellation charges. 

Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. The Foreign Office also has a specific page with more information on coronavirus.  
Q: I’m abroad already, should I return home immediately?

A: All British tourists and short-stay travellers (this does not include permanent residents overseas) currently abroad should return to the UK as soon as possible where and while commercial flight options are still available. 
 
This update reflects the pace at which international travel is becoming more difficult with the closure of borders, airlines suspending flights, airports closing, exit bans and further restrictions being introduced daily. Further closures to air routes may come in the next 48 hours, possibly without notice.
 
See further advice here.
 

Q: What happens if I have to travel whilst the non-essential advice is in place?

A: British people who decide that they still need to travel abroad should be fully aware of the increased risks of doing so. That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place. Anyone still considering travel needs to be realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure, and to make decisions in light of the unprecedented conditions we face.

Anyone planning to travel should check the validity of their travel insurance.

British nationals who need to travel are advised to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes entry requirements and a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. 

As a precautionary measure enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. 

Many countries have also introduced entry restrictions for people travelling from certain countries, travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice and sign up to email alerts for the country they are travelling to, as these are subject to change at short notice.
 

Q:  What are my options for postponing a trip?

A: As a result of the extraordinary situation and customer concerns over coronavirus, many travel companies and airlines are doing all they can to offer more flexible booking policies at this time, such as giving customers the option to change their travel date should they wish to postpone their holiday. In certain circumstances this may not be possible. Customers should speak to their travel provider to discuss what their options may be.
 

Q: If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the coronavirus outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?

A: You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator. 
 

Q: My holiday is after the current 30-day no-travel period (up to 16 April) but I have a pre-existing medical condition and do not want to travel – can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday? 

A: As with the above advice, you’re free to make the choice not to travel, but if the FCO are not advising against travel to your destination then there is no obligation on your travel company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply. 

If your GP has advised that you do not travel, and provided you with official documentation to confirm this, then you will need to check the terms of your travel insurance policy to see if you can claim any cancellation charge back. 


Q: My travel company says it is giving me a refund but that I’ll have to wait. Is there a time limit on this?

A: Currently, there is no hard and fast rule. If your travel company is able to provide a cash refund, please be patient. They are dealing with a huge number of customers, and with offices closed and staff working from home, it’s a real challenge. ABTA will keep an eye on the situation and encourage ABTA Members to do all they can, but it’s not unreasonable at the moment to expect the process to take upwards of a month.

 
Q: I have a package holiday booked within the UK, not overseas. Is my holiday affected?

A: Even though UK holidays don’t come under the FCO’s advice against travel, they are very unlikely to be able to go ahead as planned. Accommodation may be unavailable, activities and bars and restaurants are closed. Therefore, we advise that you follow our general advice above, under “Advice to customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings”.

 
Q: I have a booking coming up for accommodation only in the UK. What is the position for me?

A: If your accommodation is closed or can’t be provided, follow the advice above under “Advice to customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings”. If it is still available and you decide not to go, look at the terms and conditions to see if you are entitled to any refund or released from any obligation to pay. 


Q: What should I do if I have a trip booked to a sports event and the event has been postponed or cancelled?

A: This depends on how you booked your holiday and what the terms and conditions say. If the event has been postponed, you should speak to your travel company about rearranging your trip once the new date has been confirmed. 

FAQ's - Advice for existing bookings

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I’m due to depart within the next week or 2 – what’s my best option, can I cancel?

Due to FCO advice against all but essential travel all flights and sailings have been suspended until 16th April 2020 so unfortunately your holiday will not be going ahead. We are in the process of contacting all affected customers to discuss options provided by the Tour Operator.

I’m due to depart within the next week or 2 – can I change the date of my holiday?

Due to FCO advice against all but essential travel all flights and sailings have been suspended until 16th April 2020 so unfortunately your holiday will not be going ahead. If you are travelling during this time then please email customersupport@cooptravel.coop with your booking details and what date you wish to amend to and we will be more than happy to assist you.

My balance is due, but I don’t travel yet, what are my options?

If your balance of your holiday is now due then this will need to be paid. In line with the FCO latest advice your holiday is due to go ahead as planned. If you did want to amend or cancel your holiday, normal terms and conditions will apply. If anything did change before your travel date then we would be in touch with you to advise and discuss your options. You will be able to make payment by calling the number for Branch you booked with and your call will be diverted to one of our Virtual Advisors who will be more than happy to assist you.

Do I still pay my balance as usual, or can I wait? What if I pay my balance and am then unable to travel due to the Coronavirus?

In line with the FCO latest advice your holiday is due to go ahead as planned so you will need to pay your balance on the agreed date at booking stage. If you did want to amend or cancel your holiday, normal terms and conditions will apply. If anything did change before you travelled, we would be in touch with you to advise and discuss your options.

I have a holiday booked for later in the year, when will I get an update on my holiday and if its cancelled? When will I know?

Currently the FCO have only advised all but essential travel to imminent departures with suspended flights and sailing up until 16th April 2020. This is been reviewed daily and if the FCO extend these dates and it affects your booking we will get in touch with you to advise and discuss your options.

I’m due to travel in May, but as a vulnerable person will be in 12 week isolation, what are the cancellation options?

Cancellation and amendment charges vary with each Tour Operator. If you email customersupport@cooptravel.coop with your booking details we will contact you and discuss your options.

How long will it take for me to get a refund?

Refunds have become delayed from Tour Operators, partly due to the sheer volume. Refunds would usually be provided by the organiser of the holiday (The Tour Operator) within 14 days and once we receive that we would pass it to you. Because of the extraordinary circumstances, there is a call for action to relax the refund timeframe for organisers. Refunds may be issued instead by way of a Refund Credit Note so that it may be redeemed later in the year for another booking.

I’ve been waiting for a refund for over a week?

Refunds have become delayed from Tour Operators, partly due to the sheer volume. Refunds would usually be provided by the organiser of the holiday (The Tour Operator) within 14 days and once we receive that we would pass it to you. Because of the extraordinary circumstances, there is a call for action to relax the refund timeframe for organisers. Refunds may be issued instead by way of a Refund Credit Note so that it may be redeemed later in the year for another booking.

If I pay my balance now for a holiday travelling later in the year and then have to cancel will it be a credit note or refund?

It is difficult to be sure, the rules are for a refund with 14 days however the extraordinary circumstances recently (and for the first time ever) have seen the regulation generally relaxed and the option now exists to issue a Refund Credit Note in the interim. The Refund Credit Note is however fully protected for a period of time so in the event of a financial failure the money remains safe.

Refunds

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Refunds 

The impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the travel industry and the suppliers who provide services to create a package holiday has been extensive.

There have been necessary changes to how Co-operative Travel issue refunds to customers for their cancelled holiday arrangements. During this time refunds are taking longer than usual and we thank you for your patience.

If you have booked a package including an element of transport, such as a flight, train, cruise, ferry, it is important that you know that your money is safe and you are financially protected from the financial failure of any of the suppliers, or indeed ourselves as your Travel Agent, or Organiser.

If your booking is cancelled because the FCO advise against travel, you are entitled to a refund, but you may need to be patient with the unfolding refund process. It will be dependant upon the tour operator on your booking.

When we are a travel agent (You’ve booked your holiday through Co-op Travel and we sell you a holiday that is fulfilled by another supplier or tour operator. i.e. Jet2 Holidays, TUI)

We operate mainly as a travel agent, where we sell other companies’ holidays in the capacity of an agent. This means we can offer to you the consumer a wide range of travel arrangements rather than being limited to just offering one company in the main. When we collect money from you, it is paid over to the travel organiser. If the arrangements are cancelled and a refund is applicable, we must receive the money back from the supplier in order to hand it back to you.

Your refund and the Package Travel Regulations (PTR)

The complication with the scale of the current refund position is that the travel organisers are also waiting for the funds back from airlines, hotels, transfers and tour providers. If the amount of refunds that are due were all paid over, within the 14 days as set out in the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), there wouldn’t have been enough time for the funds to have moved around from company to company.

Ultimately someone would fail in the chain and there would likely be a domino effect leaving customers without refunds and having to make a claim against the protection schemes that are in place.

What Co-op Travel are doing

We are keeping in touch with all of the travel organisers we work with to make sure refunds are received as quickly as possible although there has been a call to government to permit that refunds should be made in the form of a Refund Credit Note, effectively delaying the refund to allow the companies involved to work through the administrative tasks to get funds back to the customer.

The Refund Credit Note would be redeemable against a future booking and there may be a option to exchange for cash at a later point (on or before July 31st 2020 is being considered but not yet confirmed).

It is important to note that the value would remain protected against the original booking to keep consumer financial protection in place, so your investment remains protected.

Due to the changes to businesses around the world from reduced staffing levels, offices being unavailable and the additional loss of new sales whilst consumers are coming to terms with the changes on their own circumstances, there is inevitable disruption and we would ask for your understanding of these facts.

When we are the Organiser

Sometimes when we sell travel arrangements to our customers, we become the organiser as dictated by the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), and so the responsibilities and obligations fall to us.

We will do our very best ensure that refunds are provided but we rely on our third party travel partners to make that possible. This may mean you are provided with one or a combination of Refund Credit Notes. The expectation is that they may be redeemed for a cash refund later in the year if you are unable to use the Refund Credit Note in the meantime (suggested 31st July 2020 but to be confirmed).

The information from many of the travel suppliers involved in the holidays we sell is changing from day to day, which in turn means it is difficult for us to be able to give clear and absolute guidance to our customers and would thank you for your patience as the refund process evolves.

Page updated: 31/03/2021 15:44

Flybe Limited - advice for customers - Updated 5 March 2020

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Flybe entered Administration on Wednesday, 5 March 2020, all flights have been grounded and the UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect.

If you are due to fly with Flybe, please do not travel to the airport unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Please note that Flybe is not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.

The options available to customers who are due to travel with the airline will depend on what, and how you have booked.

If you booked a package holiday:
 
We will be in contact with you to discuss your options as our priority. If your flights are part of a package then you are better protected, it is the package organiser’s responsibility to make alternative arrangements free of charge, or if no suitable alternative is available, you will be offered a replacement holiday or a full refund for the price of the package holiday. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip.
 
If you booked a flight with the airline directly:
 
If you booked your flights directly with the airline you will need to make alternative arrangements. If you paid for your flights with a credit or debit card, you should contact your card company to find out about recovering your money. You should also contact your travel insurance provider to see if your policy covers this circumstance.
 
If you booked a flight through Co-operative Travel:
 
If your flight ticket was issued by Co-operative Travel, you should check your travel insurance to see if you’re covered, and also check with the branch you booked with as to whether the travel insurance that includes Scheduled Airline Failure cover.

If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on a Flybe flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.

Blue Island

Following the closure of Flybe, Blue Island services are operating as normal. Customers with Blue Island bookings are advised to check-in as normal.

Customers are also advised to monitor the Civil Aviation Authority website for further information.
If you require any further information or assistance, please contact the Administrators by phone on 0207 951 7801 or by email at flybeadministration@uk.ey.com.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) & Thomas Cook refunds

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Frequently asked questions

I have been waiting far longer than the 60 days for my money. What do I do?

We want to assure you that the CAA are working hard to process all valid claims as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. We apologise to those Co-operative Travel customers that have not yet seen their claims settled. Insufficient data from Thomas Cook booking systems, including incomplete or inaccurate customer information, along with more complex cases and some fraudulent activity has all contributed to the continuing delays.

If you have not received any correspondence from the CAA since you made your claim please ensure you check your email inbox and spam folders regularly for any correspondence.

It is possible that the claims agency dealing with your case may ask for more information to assist your claim. Please respond to any request for information as soon as you can to help progress your claim.

Email: ATOLClaims.ThomasCook@caa.co.uk

Call:0300 303 2800

You will need to include your booking reference number so the CAA can locate your claim.

What is my booking reference number and where can I find it?

The booking reference number is the one you were given when you booked your holiday. It usually begins with a 14, 15 or 16 and can be found on the bottom left of your ATOL certificate.
 

For more questions and answers, please visit the CAA website

Brexit Travel Advice - Updated 23 January 2020

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Brexit: advice for travellers

Europe is the number one overseas destination for UK travellers – with over 58 million trips abroad each year. 

Naturally, holidaymakers and business travellers have questions about what Brexit means for travelling to EU countries. As the UK and EU have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will depart the EU on 31 January 2020. The UK will then enter a transition period (also known as the ‘implementation period’), during which everything will remain the same and you can continue to travel as you do now until at least the end of December 2020.

For more information about ABTA guidance click here (regularly updated​) or see our Brexit advice page

 

Chat now or talk to one of our travel experts

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