EasyJet holidays has launched a Protection Promise for customers as its “adapts to the new reality” of how holidays are booked in a bid to gain customer trust amid changing travel restrictions.

The operator’s new long-term customer policy has been introduced in addition to its short-term commitments to refunds for customers whose bookings were impacted by the pandemic.

It guarantees refunds, protection of deposits and offers free amendments to bookings – all up to 28 days before travel. Flexible payment options are also offered so customers can pay in instalments with the balance due 28 days out, and easyJet holidays has also issued a ‘best price guarantee’.

Short-term, easyJet holidays had already promised to cancel any holidays where there is a known quarantine or self-isolation requirement in the destination and said refunds have been processed in an average of 12 days.

Recent research carried out by the operator in early September found that more than 33 million Brits have had their travel plans disrupted by Covid-19, and that 24% still intend to go on holiday abroad before the end of the year, rising to 37% including the start of next year.

The survey, of more than 2,000 UK adults, found 38% are willing to quarantine for two weeks on their return in order to get away. As many as 57% said planning a holiday gives them an exciting boost to their mood and 21% said not having a holiday or break away has affected their mood.

It also found that more than half (53%) of Brits are only willing to book a holiday abroad if they feel confident their money is protected.

EasyJet holidays’ Taking the Temperature: Consumer holiday trends in 2020 and beyond report found 46% of holidaymakers are concerned about not being able to get a refund if a holiday cannot go ahead, while 38% are worried about losing money if they need to change their travel plans.

Matt Callaghan, customer director at easyJet holidays, said: “Consumer confidence in holidays abroad has taken a huge hit this year and travellers have different priorities now when it comes to booking a trip.

“With the restrictions continuing to change, the industry must step up and adapt to this new reality to rebuild consumer trust. That’s why we’re launching our new Protection Promise, setting a benchmark for customer flexibility in the industry and encouraging travellers to book their holidays with the reassurance that, if things change, they are protected. And this isn’t a short-term move, this is a fundamental change to what customers can expect whenever they book with easyJet holidays.”

The report from easyJet holidays also found Brits have changed what they look for in a holiday compared to before the pandemic. Of those who agreed Covid-19 has made them reconsider their priorities, 40% now look for destinations that have a low rate of infection, while 31% said they now prefer self-catering or self-contained holidays.

A beach holiday in the sun was ranked the most popular choice for Brits in the easyJet holidays poll, followed by a trip to spend quality time with family and friends.