The Sun : Jet2 and TUI cancel hundreds of flights to Spain as planes forced to turn around mid-air after coronavirus lockdown

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JET2 and TUI today cancelled hundreds of flights to Spain with planes forced to turn around mid-air in the coronavirus chaos.

At least five Jet2 flights heading to Malaga and Alicante from the UK had to perform a dramatic U-turn this morning.

⚠ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Jet2 has cancelled its flights to Spain with immediate effect
Jet2 has cancelled its flights to Spain with immediate effect
Alamy
Jet2 flights are being turned around as the measures were brought in immediately
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Were you on one of the flights that were turned around? Email us at tips@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502


It came as Spain and its surrounding islands including Ibiza and Tenerife were put on 15-day lockdown.

Bars, restaurants, shops and beaches shut from midnight today with tourists told to stay indoors after coronavirus cases surged by a third to 5,753 overnight – including 133 deaths.

Jet2 – based at nine UK airports and flies to Benidorm, Malaga and Lanzarote – cancelled all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands for at least the next seven days.

Meanwhile, TUI axed all flights and holidays to Spain until Monday, with flights to Malta, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Cyprus also effected.

It comes as…


Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez today faces calls to shut airports and ports in response to the growing case numbers.

He is expected to tell locals they are only allowed to leave home in "emergency conditions" including buying food, going to work and going to hospital from Monday morning.

Police will be given power to carry out searches of people and their vehicles to make sure the rules are applied.

There has been no official confirmation yet of any intended airspace closure and government officials are urging caution.

Lynda Kelly, 62, and her husband Barry Kelly, 67, said they had been ready to go on their Birmingham to Alicante flight this morning – when they were suddenly told the Spanish borders had been closed.

Speaking to the Sun Online, Lynda said: "The flight was probably half full at tops, it wasn't very busy.

DESTINATION UNKNOWN: What's happening with my flight?

Jet2 this morning cancelled all its flights to Spain after the country announced a state of emergency over coronavirus.

So what are the other airlines doing? Will they follow suit?

British Airways

The airline confirmed they were not cancelling flights to Spain over coronavirus fears.

Instead, passengers will be allowed to change their destination, date of travel, or both for free, on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Sunday 31 May.

Any exciting bookings that will depart up to May 31 will also be able to be changed.

easyJet

easyJet has not yet announced any drastic measures around flights to Spain.

However, the airline said their passengers will be allowed to change their flight online without paying a change fee.

They also specified: "Where we've been required to cancel flights, customers will be able to transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a refund"

Ryanair

The Irish airline will significantly scale back its operations on Monday over the coronavirus crisis.

The airline has already cancelled around 20% of its flights for the period until 9th April but more changes are expected.

Similiarly to BA and easyJet, Ryanair has waived its change fee for those who wish to change their travel plans.

TUI

The tourism company today said that following local measures made to fight coronavirus, they had "made the difficult decision to cancel holidays due to travel between 14 and 16 March".

They said: "Although there is currently no advice from the UK Government against travelling to Spain it would not be the holiday experience we would want for our customers."

Holidaymarkers due to travel to Alicante between 14 March and 16 March will now be contacted to be offered alternative holiday options or a full-refund.

Any customers due to travel between 17 March and 23 March will be contacted about their holiday on Monday 16 March.

"Everybody was on the plane by about 7am but the captain came on and said he was waiting for some paperwork to come through.

"Then the captain came on and said awfully sorry but he just heard Spain had closed its borders."

The couple were then forced to head back home – only to discover it had instead been Jet2's decision to not fly, rather than the airspace being closed.

She added: "It's disappointing they couldn't tell the truth.

"I think they didn't tell us so no one would 'kick off' on the plane."

To add insult to injury, Lynda said the retired couple had rebooked their March 24 flights to today – hoping to get to their Spanish home after hearing of the state of emergency. She said: "

We could have been there by now – I just hope Jet2 is good at giving refunds."

HOLIDAYS CANCELLED

A Jet2 spokesperson said: "In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to suspend flights for at least the next seven days to Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect.

"We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers' holidays which is why we have taken this decision.

"We are contacting our customers who are currently in these destinations, and who are due to travel, to advise them of their options, so we urge customers not to call us.

"This is a fast-moving and complex situation and we are reviewing our programme as a matter of urgency, so that we can fly customers back to the UK.

CORONAVIRUS CHAOS

"The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding."

British Airways today confirmed they were not cancelling flights to Spain but were allowing customers to change their  destination, date of travel, or both for free, on all new bookings made from Tuesday 3 March to Sunday 31 May 2020, as well as any existing bookings that depart up to Sunday 31 May 2020.

easyJet has likewise allowed its customers to change their flight time, waiving the change fee.

CHECK YOUR COVER How to cancel your holiday due to coronavirus as travel to parts of mainland Spain banned

Thinking about cancelling your holiday to Spain?

We've rounded up everything you need to know about getting a refund.

As the FCO has only advised against travel to certain parts of Spain, it all depends on which part you're due to travel to.

If your holiday destination is included in the affected list, then your insurance provider should pay out providing you bought your policy before the FCO advice was updated.

You should speak to your insurance provider in the first instance to check how far ahead it's covering for flights.

If your holiday is not for several months' time, you may need to wait until nearer your departure date in case the FCO advice has changed.

For travellers with a holiday planned to an area that isn't included in the FCO list, you're less likely to get a refund.

However, many airlines are offering the chance to rebook your flight for another date and have waived the change fee.

Hotels are slightly more complicated as they usually set their own cancellation policies.

Travellers are being recommended to get in contact with their accommodation, or the company they booked it through, to discuss their booking.

You may also be due a refund for any of the usual reasons typically covered by insurance, such as an unexpected illness or accident or a death in the family before travelling.

Passengers wearing masks line up as they wait to check in at Barcelona airport
AP:Associated Press
A man is ordered off the beach in Spain
Solarpix
A woman walks in front of an arrival and departures board in Barcelona airport
AP:Associated Press
Man walks with his shopping bags through an almost empty Preciados street in Madrid
Reuters
A man in a face mask walks along a path near the Fuengirola Beaches amid the shut down
Solarpix
Beaches are being closed along the two most famous strips of coastline – the Costa Blanca which covers resorts like Benidorm and the Costa del Sol
Solarpix

The deadly bug is spreading like wildfire through Europe, with Spain rapidly emerging as a major hotspot and Brits warned against all but essential travel to certain areas.

Tourists have been warned to stay indoors as the virus continues to spread.

Eerie photos show deserted beaches and shopping centres across Spain after the lockdown.

But British holidaymakers also came in for criticism over the way they have reacted to the crisis.

Benidorm-based doctor Maria Diaz Gomez posted footage of tourists downing lager in packed bars in the resort's Little England area ahead of last night's midnight lockdown banning them from opening for two weeks.

TUI HOLIDAYS HIT BY CORONAVIRUS

Jamaica

Jamaican authorities have put the country on lockdown, not allowing anyone from the UK to travel there from March 14 for 14 days.

TUI workers are now proactively contacting all customers due to travel to Jamaica between 14th March and 28th March, including all cruise bookings to offer alternative holiday options or offer a full-refund.

Spain

Holidays booked to travel between 14 and 16 March have been cancelled.

Custoers due to travel to Alicante between March 14 and 16 will now be offered alternatives or a refund. Any customers due to travel between 17 March and 23 March will be contacted about their holiday on Monday 16 March.

 

Cyprus

All holidays leaving for Cyprus until March 24 have been cancelled.

TUI customers who were expected to travel over the next two days  will receive a full refund.

Others travelling between March 16 and 24 will be offered a suitable alternative holiday, receiving £50 per adult and £25 per child discount.

 

Malta and Tunisia

All holidays to these areas departing up to March 22 have been cancelled.

TUI customers who were expected to travel over the next two days  will receive a full refund.

Others travelling between March 16 and 24 will be offered a suitable alternative holiday, receiving £50 per adult and £25 per child discount.

 

Italy

Customers who were expecting to travel to Italy between now and April 3 will be contacted about changes or a refund.

 

Florida

As Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney Resort have been closed between March 15 and 31.

Any customers due to travel to Florida in those dates who wish to discuss their options should call the customer contact centre.

To discuss your booking to Florida, please call TUI on 0800 009 3836 or 0203 636 1997: 9am – 7pm (Monday to Friday), 9am – 6pm (Saturday) and 10am-5pm (Sunday).

 

Sri Lanka

Passengers travelling to Sri Lanka will no longer be allowed to apply for a visa on arrival into the country.

You can buy a visa here: http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/

Thailand

Local authorities in Thailand have implemented restrictions meaning all customers due to travel on a TUI holiday to Thailand, whether with TUI Airways or a third party airline, will be required to download an AOT Airports app onto their mobile phones and complete the required information such as full name, passport ID, mobile phone number and address.

This information will be stored for 14 days and used if state agencies are required to make contact with individuals either during their holiday or afterwards.


Vietnam

People travelling to Vietnam will now need to apply for a visa.

See link Government advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam/entry-requirements

For TUI Ireland customers: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/vietnam/

She said: "We are on call in Benidorm. Live. Thousand of foreigners ignoring measures to contain the pandemic. How slowly the clock advances towards midnight."

She added: "In a society of 'Me' and 'Now', it's all we can expect."

Beaches are being closed along the two most famous strips of coastline – the Costa Blanca which covers resorts like Benidorm and the Costa del Sol.

The Balearic Government is ordering the closure of all discos, clubs, pubs, nightclubs, gyms and sports facilities in Majorca and Ibiza in a bid to stop the spread.

And Catalonian authorities announced tonight the entire region, including Brit favourite Barcelona would be placed on lockdown.

Closures for bars and restaurants in resorts like Benidorm and other holiday hotspots along the Costa Blanca, came into effect at midnight last night.

Overnight, it was revealed a newborn baby had tested positive for coronavirus in London, making the child the world's youngest victim.

The mum was tested at North Middlesex Hospital but her positive result was known only after the birth.

In the last 24 hours the UK has seen an enormous 35 per cent increase in cases of the deadly virus.



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