EasyJet to refund holidays booked until last week of March

Budget travel provider EasyJet has begun cancelling holidays up until the last week in March amid the tightening of lockdowns around the world and international travel restrictions, the firm has said.

The operator said on Friday that it was in the process of contacting customers who have holidays booked up to and including March 24 to let them know they will not be able to travel.

It said this was due to ongoing restrictions as well as the ever-changing rules on international travel.

The announcement comes on the same day as a ban on travel to the UK from all of South America as well as Portugal came into force.

The restrictions, which began at 4am on Friday, were imposed in response to a Brazilian variant of Covid-19 associated in a rapid increase in cases in areas where there have already been large outbreaks of the disease.

Travellers heading for England will also have to produce evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken not more than three days before departure from 4am on January 18.

Similar measures for people travelling to Scotland came into force on Friday.

Elsewhere, France banned travellers from the UK except in very limited circumstances on December 20.

EasyJet said customers could choose to change their holiday online, or opt to receive credit to their online account that would be valid for the next 12 months.

Customers can also opt for a full refund, which is usually processed in about 12 days, the company said.

Those booked from March 25 and beyond can change or defer their holiday online up to 28 days before they are due to travel without incurring any fees.

Matt Callaghan, EasyJet holidays customer director, said: “We know this news will be disappointing.

“But we want to give our customers as much flexibility and choice as possible so they can decide what is best for them.”

He added: “We know there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine.

“We can’t wait to take people on well-deserved holidays just as soon as it’s possible for us to do so.”

The company had already cancelled breaks up to the end of February following lockdown announcements made on January 4.