Culture Sec demands Ryanair help desperate Brits get refunds & reschedule holidays as firm REFUSES to cancel flights

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RYANAIR should buck up and help desperate Brits get refunds and reschedule their holidays after the firm refused to cancel flights, the Culture Secretary has said.

Oliver Dowden called on the flight firm to step up and be “flexible” after the Government advised against all but essential travel to Spain.

Ryanair are continuing with flights even with the change in travel advice

Thousands of flights have been cancelled by major travel companies, but Ryanair has said theirs will continue to go ahead – leaving thousands having to quarantine when they get home or face losing their money.

Some people may be able to get refunds for the flights if they booked their travel insurance before the coronavirus outbreak – but newer policies won’t cover it.

Today Mr Dowden called on the airline to see sense.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I really think that airlines like Ryanair and indeed any other other travel operators should show a degree of flexibility and understanding to their customers and look at how they rebook passenger for a later date, offer credit notes, refunds as necessary.

“People should not be penalised for doing the right thing.

“Doing the right thing is not travelling to Spain right now unless its essential to do so.”

The Government slapped travellers returning from Spain with a two week quarantine at the weekend, causing uproar among tourists.

And it advised against all but essential travel to Spain – and later the Spanish islands – forcing thousands to cancel their long-planned holidays this summer.


It comes as:

  • Mr Johnson fears a second wave will hit the UK in just two weeks
  • The UK secured access to 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine
  • Heathrow boss says holidaymakers must have airport tests to cut quarantine
  • Defiant Brits jet off to Spain despite 14-day quarantine and warnings
  • Almost half a million Brits will lose the entire cost of their holidays

It was reported yesterday that the Government could reduce the 14 day quarantine down to ten in future.

And ministers are considering asking everyone who has returned from Spain to get a test – even if they don’t have symptoms.

Heathrow’s boss has called for a new double testing plan – one at the airport and one after a week at home – to try and slash the quarantine down.

Mr Dowden said all options were on the cards but there was “no viable alternative to the 14-day quarantine”, at the moment.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If we could avoid imposing quarantine in a way that it was safe to do so, of course, we would do that – that is why we keep it under review.”

He added: “We are not at the point where there is a viable alternative to the 14-day quarantine.

“There is a real risk here – the virus is spreading around the world, it’s rising rapidly around the world.

“We need to ensure that the measures we’ve taken in the UK – which have been very difficult – to keep this virus under control, do not go to waste because we allow cases to come in from elsewhere.”

He warned that other countries could be slapped with travel quarantines at short notice – just like Spain.

People “need to be aware of the risk that quarantine could be imposed” he stressed.

“But as long as people are aware of that risk they should continue to book holidays, but just bear in mind that this may happen, and sadly it has happened in Spain,” the Culture Secretary added.

It was reported this morning Belgium and Luxembourg could be the next.

Brits are still able to travel to Luxembourg despite the country having the highest rate of coronavirus cases in Europe, almost 15 times higher per capita than Britain.

Eleven countries where “air bridges” exist with the UK have had a recent spike in cases, including Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia.

Mr Johnson fears a second coronavirus wave could hit the UK within just two weeks.

 

The Prime Minister is said to be “extremely concerned” by new outbreaks “bubbling up”, both at home and abroad.

A senior Government source told the Daily Mail: “People have got to realise we’re in the middle of a pandemic.”

It comes hours after Mr Johnson warned there are signs of a second wave sweeping Europe.