Tour operators have moved to contact thousands of holidaymakers following Boris Johnson’s sudden announcement that measures such as PCR tests are being reintroduced for all arrivals into the UK.
EasyJet holidays is getting in touch with thousands of its customers with bookings through to mid-December, outlining options and offering support given the potential impact and uncertainty this may have on immediate travel plans.
Due to government action being taken due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, people due to travel up to December 17 have until midnight on Tuesday (November 30) to cancel their holiday online for credit so they can make an immediate rebooking.
This is in line with a three-week review the government has announced.
The company pledged to keep a “close eye” on the situation and future departures.
All easyJet holidays customers can make changes to their holiday up to 28 days before departure under the firm’s ‘protection promise’ within its booking conditions.
Free amendments for travel agent bookings are being offered.
“Any customers with an easyJet holidays booking with a travel agent should contact their agent to discuss their options,” the operator added.
Customer and operations director Matt Callaghan said: “We know this news might have affected some of our customers with imminent travel plans so, as ever, we want to be on their side and give even more flexibility at this time.
“That’s why we’re allowing cancellation for easyJet holidays credit or a free amend for travel agent bookings for anyone due to travel between now and mid-December, allowing them to rebook when the time is right for them.
“We’re contacting our customers and trade agents with details of how to do this.
“Customers can, of course, keep their holiday booking, this is just about giving further reassurance to anyone who wants to make a change to their plans. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the situation.”
A Jet2holidays spokesperson said: “We note the updated testing measures for customers arriving back to the UK, and we would like to politely remind our customers of these changes so that they are aware and understand what steps to take.
“Our flight and holiday programmes are continuing to operate as normal and our award-winning teams will be working as hard as ever to make sure our customers enjoy their well-deserved holidays.”
Tui said in an update on Sunday: “Following the UK government announcement, we are aware of the changes to post travel testing requirements.
“All travellers returning to the UK will now need to take a PCR day two test and self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.
“This change will come into effect at 4am on Tuesday 30 November 2021. Any customers who do not wish to travel and are due to travel up to and including 19 December can amend their holiday free of charge.
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to offer refund credit notes to our customers.”
Lisa Henning, managing director of The Inspire Group, said: “The news around the new Omicron variant this weekend has had a huge impact on consumer confidence. The increase in customers wanting help and reassurance has increased dramatically, and we have had hundreds of calls over the weekend, not just from those travelling imminently but also from clients with future travel plans.
“Of course we support any action that keeps us and our families safe, but it is hugely disappointing news at this time, as we were beginning to see a strong level of demand and signs of a strong peaks.
“As an industry we now need to work hard to calm the market until the review in three weeks.”