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When Can We Travel Again? (And Other Coronavirus Holiday Questions, Answered)

Should you put a pin in your plans or take advantage of discount deals?

interior view of the first class compartment of a commercial passenger plane a boing shows, in the foreground, a well dressed couple as they smile and enjoy their meal, while behind them a flight attendant in a bow tie serves another happy couple, 1950s photo by authenticated newsgetty images
Authenticated NewsGetty Images

im电竞官网-Almost every day we're greeted with conflicting reports about travel in the age of corona. As one country tries to entice , another plans to quarantine anyone who dares to even dream of its beaches. Meanwhile the very real threat of COVID-19 rages on, a second potential spike always on the horizon. Amidst all of this confusion, everything's up in the air but... well, you.

So what's the truth? To find out, we asked Jack Sheldon, the travel expert and founder of flight recommender , to provide some much needed holiday advice.

Should we be booking holidays abroad?

im电竞官网-"While many Brits have initially written off this summer, we’ve noticed a lot of our members are willing to take the plunge and book something in recent weeks – especially within Europe.

"The nice weather has probably reminded us that sunnier times are still out there and airlines offering flexible change policies helps make booking something much less risky, as you can always move the flight a month out, or even to next year if something were to happen. There’s always autumn or Christmas season for that bigger holiday to Asia or North America."

What countries currently require quarantine on arrival? And how does that differ to the situation in the UK?

"This is where itchy travellers need to be careful. A quarantine, like our government has proposed, is not the preferred option. Most European countries are instead opening their borders in stages. Brits, unfortunately, are not usually first on the list to be let in either. Our Irish neighbours are one of the countries that will require a 2-week quarantine period, along with France. Most don’t let us enter at all at the moment, or have a date set for us quite late in the summer. Countries you can travel to at the moment include Italy, Bulgaria and Sweden. Spain and others plan to fully open from July.

im电竞官网-"The situation changes as progress fighting coronavirus continues. The 15 of June is the next milestone for countries' rules changing and we expect to see countries continue to re-evaluate their rules every two weeks."

What happens when you return to the UK?

"The UK government has announced that Brits returning to the UK should self-isolate for 14 days. That said, there’s already rumours going around that they’re going to soften that position and create “air bridge” agreements with low-risk countries so quarantining can be avoided for passengers going either way. We’re optimistic that restrictions will be loosened in time for peak summer travel season from mid-July to August."

What kind of measures are airports and airlines taking to cut down the spread?

"Expect social distancing galore – those security queues are going to get a whole lot snakier. Boarding rules will likely be adjusted to reduce crowded battles for luggage space in the aisle.

im电竞官网-"Onboard, most if not all airlines will be mandating wearing masks for the duration of your flight and contactless only payment when food service is eventually resumed. Some airlines have suggested they’re leaving middle seats empty, which would be a blessing, but we doubt this policy will stick around long once demand returns."

What areas are to be avoided in terms of COVID risk?

im电竞官网-"As I write (16 June), it looks like Brazil is at the highest risk of a long-term outbreak. The United States and Mexico also seem prone to a reemergence of the virus due to their eagerness to get things back to normal. Finally, India is also struggling to contain new cases at the moment and could see larger outbreaks due to their massive and densely packed population.

"There’s going to be some risk wherever you go, so keep a close eye on the country you plan to visit in the lead up and if you do have concerns pick an airline that has a change policy that covers you if you need to postpone or cancel. Many currently do."

new york   mid 1950s  an air hostess serves a snack to passengers on a transocean air lines boeing 377 stratocruiser in the mid 1950s transocean air lines flew between 1946 and 1962 and was a pioneer discount airline photo by michael ochs archivegetty images
Michael Ochs ArchivesGetty Images

When do you envisage it being safe and/or feasible to travel abroad, and should people be buying cut-price tickets now?

im电竞官网-"You should judge this based on how the country you’re visiting is doing, but it’s definitely possible to book a deal now due to most airlines having flexible change policies. Just make sure you’ve understood the terms and conditions carefully, as every policy has some kind of cut-off – many only apply to flights taken by the end of the year.

im电竞官网-"Some airlines – Etihad, Qatar, and Lufthansa – opt for policies that can be quite lucrative, in some cases offering credit that’s higher than what you originally paid if you have to cancel or change your flight."

For those who are buying flights, what precautions should they take (financially, but also in terms of health)?

"Financially, you should book your flights and hotels with a credit card if you can, to make sure you have chargeback protections in case something happens down the line. Health-wise: pack some extra masks for long flights along with (small) bottles of hand sanitiser, and do your best to keep social distancing through the airport."

What happens if an airline collapses before your flight takes place?

im电竞官网-"In many cases, particularly if you book a package holiday, you’ll be covered by ATOL. Speak with the airline or travel agent before you book to check if you’re covered. Usually you’ll get the ATOL certificate emailed to you once you’ve booked.

im电竞官网-"As I mentioned before, it’s sensible to book your flight with a credit card if you can, as you’ll be able to get a refund through the provider in case the flight is cancelled (even in cases when the airline goes under). "

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