Repatriation of Consumers Stuck Abroad: Government & Airlines Working in Collaboration
The UK Government are working in collaboration with partners in the airline industry to provide support to members of the public who are abroad, seeking to return to the UK.
The support comes after a pledge by the UK Government of £75 million of funding, which will see Government chartered flights of airlines such as Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Titan Airways, with a number of other airlines expected to come on board.
This includes people who have been left stranded or had travel restricted as a result of airline closures/cancellations and health advice issued by foreign countries.
Priority is being placed on the more vulnerable groups of people and those at high risk of infection.
If a customer is stuck abroad during the coronavirus outbreak what should they do?
- Contact the travel company or airline they are travelling with immediately
- Keep up to date with current information through the Government travel advice pages, which are updated regularly. This is available at:
- Consumers are urged to follow the embassy or high commissioner’s social media accounts for the country they are in. These can be found, listed by country, by visiting:
How much will this cost customers?
Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary pledged on Monday (30/03) in the Cabinet speech that this would be of as little to no cost for UK citizens. More information can be requested by contacting the travel company or airline that original travel was booked with.
What if a consumer already has travel plans booked with an airline or travel company?
- Contact the airline or travel company or other transport and accommodation providers. Consumers may be offered the option to change their plans to a later date, vouchers or credit, or alternatively a refund.
- Contact travel insurance providers. Additional recourse may be available through insurance policies. However, new policies taken out after the outbreak of coronavirus may not cover ‘exceptional circumstances’. Consumers should check with travel insurance providers in the first instance to see what their policy covers.
Consumers who have booked flights (which have been cancelled by the provider) which have cost in excess of £100, may be eligible for a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. The credit card provider can provide more information on this. For purchases under £100 made on a credit card (or alternatively those made by debit card) may be covered by the banks’ ‘chargeback’ scheme.
It should be noted that accommodation booked separately may not be covered by these schemes if the accommodation remains open, and as such, consumers will be bound by the contractual terms and conditions. In these circumstances, there may be the option to reschedule bookings to a later date.
Current travel advice provided by the UK Government says –
- Return to the UK now if you are travelling abroad
- Do not travel abroad unless it is essential until at least the 15th of April.
This is due to international border closures and other restrictions in place. Additionally, countries may impose further restrictions without notice in response to public health advice.
If travel back to the UK is not possible, UK citizens are advised to –
- Follow the advice of local authorities, including measures put in place locally to help minimise the risk of exposure and transmission of coronavirus.
- Find accommodation that is suitable for individual needs.
- Keep up to date with travel advice.
- Keep in contact with family and friends at home.
For more information, which is updated regularly on rights in relation to COVID-19 and the coronavirus, you can visit our dedicated website at: www.coronavirusadvice.scot
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