Eurotunnel closed to Britons with EU homes

Following new COVID restrictions imposed by the French government, Eurotunnel has warned British citizens that live in the EU that they cannot travel by car through France to get to their homes.

The Eurotunnel ban on travel for EU-domiciled Brits was confirmed by the tunnel’s operator, Getlink, in an urgent warning on its website and Twitter page that first appeared on Wednesday evening. Appearing to confirm a change in travel rules by the French government, the statement read, ‘Following a French Government decision, on 28/12/2021, unless they hold French residency, British citizens are now considered 3rd country citizens and can no longer transit France by road to reach their country of residence in the EU.’

According to the previous French travel guidance that was introduced on December 18, which stated that travel from the UK was would only be allowed for ‘compelling reasons’, ‘nationals of the European Union or equivalent’, as well as their partners and children, ‘who have their main residence in France or who join, in transit through France, their main residence in a country of the European Union’, are considered to have a compelling reason for travelling from the UK through France.

The French government is yet to make an official announcement about the latest change to the rules. But the Eurotunnel statement said the ban did not apply to British people living in France, or people from the UK that also hold an EU passport through dual nationality.

Pandemic continues to cause thousands of flight cancellations

Airlines across the globe are having to cancel thousands of scheduled flights as the Covid pandemic continues to cause travel chaos at one of the industry’s busiest times of the year.

Monday and Tuesday of this week saw a combined total of 5,600 flights cancelled globally, with a further 19,000 flights delayed, CNN has reported, quoting figures from tracking website FlightAware.

Globally, airlines cancelled more than 6,000 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, many of the cancellations due to airline staff and crew calling in sick.

In the United States, more than 1,200 flights were cancelled and more than 5,000 were delayed on Sunday alone due to staff absences.

Delta said it was working to get all stranded travellers home as quickly as possible, saying in a statement, ‘We apologise to our customers for the delay in their holiday travel plans. Delta people are working hard to get them to where they need to be as quickly and as safely as possible on the next available flight.’

Though not to the same extent, European airlines are also experiencing cancellations. German airline Lufthansa has announced that it will cancel 10 percent of its winter flight schedule due to problems inflicted by the burgeoning effects of the pandemic. Its CEO Carsten Spohr spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last week saying that that due to ‘a sharp drop in bookings’ the airline will have to cancel 33,000 flights from mid-January to February 2022, or 10 percent of the group’s winter flight schedule.

Eurostar adds more high-speed services to Europe

Eurostar, the high-speed rail link between the UK and mainland Europe, announced on Thursday August 19 that it is adding more trains between the UK and the continent in response to growing demand following the removal of quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers from France to the UK and the easing of restrictions for travel to Belgium and the Netherlands.

During August, Eurostar has seen double the amount of bookings, and has added 39 trains for travel between the UK and the continent this month alone. The busiest days for travel are between August 27 and 30, with Paris the most popular destination from the UK.

Since the easing of travel restrictions by the UK government in August, the high-speed rail operator has seen the gradual return of the weekend break, with a 105 percent rise in August and September weekend trips between London and Paris, compared to the same period last year and 83 percent of bookings attributed to leisure travel or visiting friends and family.

From September 6 until November 1, eight daily return services will operate, with five in each direction on the London to Paris route and three in each direction between London and Brussels, with one each way extended to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The expanded timetable is claimed to offer improved flexibility to both business and leisure travellers with fares from GBP39 each way.

The company says that travellers can book with confidence knowing that all tickets are flexible with no exchange fee up to 7 days before departure, offering peace of mind should travel restrictions or plans change. Eurostar adds that it has introduced new measures to keep passengers safe, with trains deep cleaned before every journey, and cleaning teams on board to regularly disinfect high contact areas. All travellers must wear a mask on board and in stations, this continues to apply after check-in at London St Pancras.

Eurostar claims to offer the most environmentally friendly choice for travel to Europe, with each journey using up to 93 percent less CO2 than the equivalent flight.

Brittany Ferries sails from Plymouth to Spain after eight-month layoff

After an eight-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Ferries has finally sailed to Spain from Millbay Docks in Plymouth.

The first ferry left Millbay at 4:45pm on Sunday, June 6, with 807 passengers, 180 crew members and 421 vehicles making the voyage, before arriving in Santander at around 2pm on Monday afternoon.

The trip was undertaken by the company’s flagship ferry boat, the Pont-Aven, with spirits said to have been high among passengers and crew.

A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: ‘It’s an exciting day here on the port. The sun is shining and it’s full of happy customers who are excited to be going on their holidays. There’s a real sense of normality in the air, as well as a sense of summer which has been much needed.’

At full capacity, the Pont-Aven can accommodate 2,400 passengers, 650 cars and has a total of 650 cabins, but in order to meet health requirements, the number of passengers allowed on board has been significantly reduced. Self-service restaurants have replaced A La Carte services and the main bars on all ships will not be open due to a change in the French government’s guidance.

While the sailing was seen as a step towards normality, passengers must still adhere to a number of Covid guidelines, including the wearing of masks, social distancing and utilising sanitising stations on deck. The ferry boat’s shops cinemas, playrooms and video games rooms have now opened with limited capacity, and with some on-board entertainment also now available.

Ryanair launches new routes this summer as Europe opens up

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July, as part of Ryanair’s UK Summer 2021 Schedule.

Additionally, Ryanair has announced a new route from Teesside to Faro operating twice a week from June 16. This new route expands Ryanair’s offer from Teesside following the airline’s return to the region this Summer with routes to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and to Corfu from July.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from GBP19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday, May 20 only on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said: ‘As vaccination rollout programmes continue in the coming months and with the summer season just around the corner, we are delighted to announce this new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July as part of our UK summer’21 schedule.

Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, customers can now book flights for a well-deserved break knowing that if they need to postpone or change their travel dates, they can do so up to two times with a zero-change fee until the end of October 2021.’

Commenting on the Teeside route, McGuinness, added: ‘We are very pleased to announce a new route from Teesside to Faro on the back of the UK’s green list announcement. Teesside customers will now have the choice of four popular destinations this summer, with flights to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and Corfu from July.

Teesside Airport continues to deliver efficient operations and competitive airport charges, allowing for long-term traffic growth and new routes.’

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: ‘This is fantastic news, and yet another vote of confidence in our airport. Of course, it has only been made possible because of the tremendous take-up of Ryanair’s flights to Alicante and Palma by local people.

We’ve been working hard over the past few months to transform our terminal, get it fit for the 21st century and make it easier and smoother than ever to pass through. We can’t wait to welcome people back through our doors for these great summer breaks – and our growing slate of other domestic and international flights.’

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays announce extension of Summer 2022 season to Menorca

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK tour operator, has said that it has added more flights and holidays for customers looking for a holiday in Menorca in April 2022, advancing the Summer 2022 season.

The company has announced destinations across the Mediterranean, including Menorca and the Balearic Islands, to meet demand from British holidaymakers by adding April services to the island from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted Airport. Menorca is known for its natural beauty, secret beaches, and historic architecture outside of the main summer holiday season.

The new flights added are: Birmingham – additional services every Friday from April 8 to 22. Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted – additional services every Saturday from April 9 to 23.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘We are seeing great demand from customers wanting to enjoy Menorca both in the peak summer season and outside of that period too. As ever, we respond very quickly to demand, and these additional flights gives our customers the opportunity to enjoy Menorca in April and over the Easter holidays. Working with our partners in Menorca, we look forward to filling our hotels with happy holidaymakers as soon as we can get flying again.’

Last week Jet2holidays announced strong demand for Summer 2022 holidays in response to the assurance that its ATOL protected package holidays offer. Bookings data from Jet2holidays shows that more people have already booked in some summer sun for the year ahead when compared to the same time in previous years. In addition to booking ahead, the data also reveals that the company is registering an increase in bookings for package holidays from July, which continues through the rest of the school holidays and Summer 2021.

According to the company, the demand for great value package holidays in Summer 2021 and Summer 2022 applies to Menorca. With more 2-5 star hotels on sale than ever on the island, the company also offers the freedom of a villa with all the benefits of a package holiday through Jet2Villas. This, combined with miles of coastline and resorts such as Cala Galdana, Son Bou, Cala’n Bosch and Punta Prima are becoming increasingly popular with customers, it said.

Jet2 launches two Italian destinations from Birmingham Airport for Summer 22

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK-based leisure airline and package holiday company, has announced the launch of flights and holidays to Sicily and Sardinia from Birmingham Airport for Summer 22, giving customers across the region more choice of holiday options in Italy.

Jet2 will operate weekly Wednesday services to Sicily from May 4 through to October 26 from Birmingham Airport. Flights will operate to Catania Airport, opening up a range popular resorts on the east coast of the island.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and is a popular destination with UK holidaymakers, offering everything from beach holidays to city breaks. Jet2holidays is launching package holidays to Sicily with a wide choice of beach resorts on sale including Taormina, Taormina Mare, Giardini Naxos, Syracuse, Cefalu and Campofelice Di Roccella. In addition, packages are also on sale through Jet2CityBreaks to the historic city of Catania.

Jet2 is also offering flights and holidays to Sardinia from Birmingham Airport with weekly Sunday services operating into Olbia Airport from May 29 to October 30. This opens up the east coast of Sardinia and a range of resorts that host some of the best beaches in Europe.

Further, families and groups can also choose the privacy of a villa holiday by booking through Jet2Villas. Resorts on sale in Sardinia include Porto Cervo, Baia Sardinia, Budoni, San Teodoro, Cannigione, San Pantaleo, Orosei and Pittulongu, as well as city breaks to Olbia.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are continuing to see a great deal of demand for Summer 22 from Birmingham Airport, so we are adding Sicily and Sardinia to our programme to give customers and independent travel agents even more choice. These two stunning Italian islands offer local holidaymakers everything from culture and history to sun and glamour, and we are going on sale with a fantastic choice of flights, resorts and hotels. This means we now have seven Italian destinations on sale for Summer 22 from Birmingham Airport, and we know that these magical destinations, coupled with our award-winning flights and real package holidays, will be hugely popular with customers and independent travel agents alike.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘It is great news that Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have added Sicily and Sardinia to their extensive holiday destinations list direct from Birmingham Airport. These two beautiful Italian islands are currently unserved from Birmingham Airport so this is the ideal time to plan that Summer 2022 getaway, that we know is very desperately needed. Booking with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays gives customers the ease and convenience of booking flights, hotels and transfers in all one place but with the reassurance that their holiday is ATOL protected.’

easyJet announces new summer routes from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh

easyJet has announced two new domestic routes from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh, offering customers in the Dorset region more domestic connections this summer to book a UK summer break.

The new flights will operate up to twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays to Belfast from May 26, and on Thursdays and Sundays to Edinburgh, with flights scheduled to take off from May 27, 2021 and continue throughout the summer. Flights are now on sale at easyJet.com with fares available from £22.99.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We’re delighted to offer two new domestic services from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh for the first time and are pleased to provide our customers in the region more choice for those looking for a long-awaited summer break. We remain committed to offering great value fares and more choice when for customer flying with us.

‘Our Protection Promise means that customers can book with confidence knowing that if they are unable to travel or their plans change so can their flights or holiday, and while the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on long-awaited holiday to remember.’

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: ‘The addition of Edinburgh and Belfast with easyJet rounds off an exciting week for Bournemouth Airport and the Dorset region, following the launch of our 2021-22 summer/winter schedule which now includes 32 destinations in 14 countries. We’re delighted to extend our flying programme with easyJet, with domestic routes in high demand for staycations and business links, all with the ease and convenience of flying from your local airport.’

easyJet and easyJet holidays have introduced flexible customer policies under a ‘Protection Promise’. This includes a Refund Guarantee for flights or holidays if they are cancelled plus a full refund for holidays if a customer changes their plan up to 28 days before. With the Travel Ban Protection customers can also receive a refund for non-cancelled flights if plans are impacted by travel bans in a regional or national lockdown; the Freedom To Change flights without a fee up to 14 days before departure, and change a holiday up to 28 days before departure. If quarantine measures come in to place last minute, the Quarantine Assurance also means impacted flights can be changed without a change fee. All holidays are covered under easyJet holidays’ Covid commitments if holidays cannot happen or are impacted by restrictions.

Jet2.com bookings to Turkey double as tourism reopens

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK-based leisure airline and holiday company, has said that it has registered an increase in customers booking flights and holidays as countries open up for travel after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has reported a 1,000 percent increase in bookings immediately following the UK Prime Minister’s announcement of an exit roadmap from lockdown, and customer demand is continuing. Since the exit plan, a number of countries across Europe and the Mediterranean, including Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal, have announced that UK holidaymakers will be able to travel to these countries in summer.

According to Jet2, bookings to Turkey doubled after the Turkish Tourism Minister said that holidaymakers from the UK will be welcome this summer. In response to this demand, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has put over 100 additional flights on sale to Turkey.

Extra capacity has been added to Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman with additional flights operating from late-June to late-October, with a focus on the late-Summer season.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘Turkey has continued to be a popular choice, and the welcome news that UK holidaymakers can enjoy the Turkish sunshine this summer has translated into an immediate rush of bookings. We already have fantastic choice on sale to Turkey from across our network of UK bases, and these additional flights and holidays come in direct response to the demand that we have been seeing. Once again, customers are telling us that they want to get away, and once again we are quick to respond to that – giving customers and independent travel agents even more choice when it comes to getting away on a real package holiday.’

‘We know our customers want to get away and we know that our destinations are keen to welcome them. The UK government has shown that there is a clear ambition to reopen international travel in the coming months and we look forward to more detail in due course. This week marks one year since international travel was first shut down because of the pandemic, and there are sunnier skies ahead. As soon as travel reopens, we will be ready to take our customers on their well-deserved holidays.’

Princess Cruises to cancel vacations on roundtrip Southampton sailings

Princess Cruises, an international premium cruise line and tour company, has said that it will withhold its UK-based cruise vacations, sailing roundtrip from Southampton, through September 25, 2021 on Sky Princess, Regal Princess and Island Princess.

The move comes as the cruise company reviews its operations following the recent UK Government announcement on the roadmap to ease lockdown and related international travel restrictions, the company said. For UK guests, Princess Cruises will launch a series of new short cruises departing in late- summer on Regal Princess and Sky Princess from Southampton that will go on sale later this month.

‘We share in our guests’ disappointment over these cancelled voyages, and we appreciate the continued understanding and cooperation from our loyal guests and travel advisors,’ said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. ‘As we prepare our ships for a return to service, we remain in close contact with the UK Government to monitor the latest travel guidance for international guests.’

The company said that for customers booked on a cancelled voyage, Princess will offer to move guests to the equivalent cruise in 2022. The rebooking process will have the added benefit of protecting the guests’ 2021 fare on their 2022 voyage. Alternatively, customers can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 percent of the cruise fare paid (minimum $25 ) or a full refund to the original form of payment.

For guests currently booked on a cancelled voyage where there is no suitable cruise available in 2022, guests will automatically receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 percent of the cruise fare paid (minimum $25). Alternatively, guests can request a full refund to the original form of payment.

Customers are required to send the through an online form by April 15, 2021 or guests will automatically receive the FCC option. FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022, Princess said.

The latest information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises, it added.