Coronavirus: Advice for Northern Ireland Travellers
Advice for Northern Ireland travellers whose holidays and travel plans may be affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus), including the latest information on airlines, ferries, package holidays, travel insurance, public transport and cancelled travel plans (including refunds).
The information on this page was last updated on 11 August 2020.
Entering or returning to NI
Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel advice for Northern Ireland travellers
If you plan to travel abroad in the weeks and months ahead, keep up-to-date with the latest advice for the country you plan travelling to. For more information visit the NIDirect website here.
If you are holidaying abroad, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on your return to Northern Ireland – depending on which country you have visited.
From 26 July 2020, this includes travellers returning to Northern Ireland from Spain including the Canary and Balearic Islands who must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
From 8 August, this includes travellers returning from Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas who must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Travel to the Common Travel Area
There are currently no restrictions if travelling in the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands).
Unless you have visited or stopped in any other country or territory, not on the exemptions list, in the preceding 14 days, in which case you will have to provide locator details and self-isolate on arrival.
This will help make sure that those who could have come into contact with the virus overseas cannot bypass the self-isolation measures.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises UK nationals on where it's safe to travel abroad.
The FCO updated its advice against ‘all but essential’ travel and exempting destinations that they say no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. Click here for the current list of exemptions. Countries and territories currently exempted. This advice is being kept under constant review.
Please note: FCO advice can also determine whether or not you're able to get a refund or insurance payout if you're due to travel to specific locations.
England, Scotland and Wales
Travel advice and restrictions are being updated regularly and each of the devolved governments in England, Scotland and Wales may issue different guidance so for the months ahead it is important to check their websites for up to date and accurate information.
Check with your travel or accommodation companies immediately
If you're concerned about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on your existing travel plans, then check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers immediately.
Airlines and travel companies are dealing with a huge number of inquiries at the moment and if you do not have to travel in the next few days you are advised to put off contacting them immediately.
This webpage is updated daily but please note that services are changing at short notice and you should check directly with your airline to ensure you have the very latest information.
If your flight has been cancelled your airline should offer you the choice between an alternative flight or a full refund.
Some airlines and travel providers are offering vouchers in place of refunds. If your flight has been cancelled, you are entitled to a refund, so if you would rather the financial payment, please request this from your travel provider.
If you believe you are entitled to receive a refund from your airline but they are refusing, you may wish to open a complaint with the airline. If you are not happy with the airline’s response contact The Consumer Council.
Aer Lingus is operating a reduced schedule to a number of European and North American destinations.
Aer Lingus have waived their change fees on any changes made before 31 December 2020, regardless of when you are due to travel. Please note that a fare difference may apply. More info here.
Aer Lingus has asked that consumers only contact their support teams directly if you're due to fly in the next 72 hours.
From 18 May 2020 all customers flying with Aer Lingus will be requested to use a mask or suitable face covering from the point of boarding the aircraft until they are inside the destination airport. This will be a mandatory requirement from 21 May 2020 until 31 August 2020.
More information is available here.
British Airways is offering passengers the following options:
- If you are due to travel between now and 31 August 2020 and you want to cancel your booking you can claim a voucher to the value of your booking, valid for travel until 30 April 2022.
- Passengers with bookings made from 3 March until 31 August 2020, with journeys to be completed by 30 April 2021, can change the date of their flight. British Airways have waived the change fee but the fare difference will apply.
- Alternatively, if you want to change the destination and dates of bookings made from 3 March until 31 August 2020, with journeys to be completed by 30 April 2021, British Airways will cancel your booking on your behalf and email you a voucher to the value of your booking, valid until 30 April 2022. Vouchers can be used as payment, or part payment, for a future booking. Your new trip booked using a voucher must be fully completed by 30 April 2022 (departure and return). You will receive your voucher by email within seven days of your application.
For further information on your options click here British Airways
If your flight has been cancelled you can rebook or apply for a voucher online. If you do not wish to rebook or claim a voucher contact British Airways by telephone to discuss your refund options.
Contact centre opening hours are 08:00-20:00 Monday to Friday and 09:00-17:00 Saturday and Sunday.
From 15 June 2020, easyJet will resume flights from Belfast International Airport. For up to date information, go here.
From 13 March 2020, customers can change their flight online without paying a flight change fee. However, fare differences may apply and a £5 administration charge will be applied per person, per flight to make changes to flights through easyJet’s Contact Centre. Changes can be made online. If you require special assistance when booking, this fee will be waived. Source: EasyJet
If your flight has been cancelled by the airline you can:
- Request a refund: Complete the online refund form.
- Change your flight: You can transfer for free onto any other easyJet flight within Europe up until September 2021. You won’t be charged a change fee or fare difference.
- Choose a voucher: You can opt for a flight voucher for the full value of your ticket and it will be valid for a whole year. This means you can redeem it for travel right through to at least the end of summer 2021.
COVID-19 help hub
Click here for EasyJet's FAQ page.
The latest information from EasyJet Holidays in relation to COVID-19 are available by clicking here.
If you’re planning a getaway or have one booked, it’s really important that you read the information below about the country you’re arriving into.
Please remember that this information is subject to change and correct at the time of publish. We’d also recommend taking a look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice.
Flights and holidays to Spain
Following the latest government advice regarding travel to mainland Spain from the UK, Jet2 has suspended flights and holidays to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from 28 July up to and including 16 August 2020.
Jet2 has said it will contact customers to discuss rebooking, refund credit notes or full cash refunds.
Customers with inbound flights to the UK between 4 and 16 August will be contacted to discuss their options.
Customers due to travel to mainland Spain from 17 August will be provided an additional update from Jet2 once they receive further information from the government.
Flights and holidays to Portugal and Cyprus
The tour operator has cancelled all flights to Portugal until 17 August 2020.
Flights to Cyprus may also resume from 17 August 2020, but that will depend on the country's authorities.
For all other flights affected by COVID-19
Jet2 has stated it will contact all affected customers. There is no need for you to contact the company. If you do call through then expect longer than normal call wait times due to the increased number of callers.
Further advice and FAQs
Available on Jet2's website here.
On 17 July, Ryanair announced it has waived the change fee for flights booked for travel in July, August and September 2020. Flights can be changed to any date before 31 December 2020. The fare difference will apply.
For up to date information on Ryanair flights from NI, go to Ryanair's website.
Cancelled flights and refunds
If your flight was cancelled, Ryanair is issuing vouchers by email to the email address provided in your booking. You can request a cash refund. However, Ryanair is currently stating that requests for refunds will be placed in a queue until the COVID-19 emergency has passed.
On 20 April, Ryanair started telling its customers that they will have to wait until “the COVID-19 emergency has passed” if they want a refund for a cancelled flight.
For further information click here.
On Tuesday 14 July, Ryanair announced it will remove up to 1,000 flights from its UK to the Republic of Ireland routes in August and September due to the country's "defective quarantine restriction on EU visitors". Travellers are advised to check with Ryanair to see if their flight are effected. Source: Mirror.
Eastern Airways recommenced flights on specific routes from Monday 22 June 2020, including flights from Belfast City Airport to Southampton and Teeside.
A new Southampton-Dublin service begins 28 August - this will increase to twice daily in October 2020.
Scheduled services for Teeside-Dublin will recommence 25 September.
If your travel plans have been affected by the temporary suspension of the scheduled flying programme, customers can place their Eastern Airways booking reference on hold for travel to be completed within 1 year of the original travel date subject to original fare class availability and ticket conditions. If this is not suitable, the airline can process a refund back to the card used to make payment and this will take approximately 28 working days when we it has responded to you.
Email: [email protected] with your booking reference as the subject field.
Please note: All customer enquiries are via email only.
Further information is available here.
Due to COVID-19, KLM will start the summer schedule with a significantly reduced network.
Please do not go to the departure airport if your flight is not confirmed to depart.
For the latest information click here.
- If you booked travel before 21 April 2020 with a scheduled departure date before 31 August you can use the self-service options to change their flights (if your travel date is later than 1 December 2020, you have to pay the fare difference) or request a travel voucher. If your flight has been cancelled by KLM you can request a refund in the form of a voucher or cash. If you cancelled the flight yourself, you can only opt for a voucher. To request a refund click here
- If you booked a flight on or after 22 April, you can find out more about your options here.
Scottish airline Loganair has temporarily suspended some domestic routes due to the impact of the coronavirus. It is continuing to operate a number essential routes to remote communities for essential travel.
If you have not received an email, your flight is currently scheduled as planned.
For flights from 29 June 2020 you can amend your booking using the online Manage Booking option. Please be advised that in some cases a fare difference may apply and incur extra cost.
Loganair flights from City of Derry Airport to Glasgow recommenced on 6 July 2020 and the summer Manchester service is currently on hold. (Source: City of Derry Airport)
For the latest information click here.
Loganair's call centre hours have been reduced. Monday to Friday 9am - 3pm and Saturday and Sunday CLOSED.
Social media will not be checked as regularly as normal. It is advised that customers do not use Facebook or Twitter when looking for travel or booking assistance.
For urgent enquiries, please contact: [email protected]. For complaints, please contact: [email protected]
TUI has closed all of their retail stores.
TUI is stating that if your holiday can no longer go ahead as planned, you will receive a refund credit for the full value of your holiday. TUI will also give you a separate booking incentive up to 20% if your original booking was for a package holiday. If do not want to accept a refund credit you can apply for a refund; however, TUI will only process a refund for you once you have received your refund credit. Once you have received you will need to contact TUI by telephone on 0203 451 2868 between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday to request a refund.
For more information, click here.
TUI has cancelled all flights to Portugal until August 17. All holidays to mainland Spain have been cancelled until at least August 17.
Virgin Atlantic (Source: Virgin)
Virgin Atlantic is operating a reduced flight schedule.
If you are due to travel Virgin Atlantic are offering the following options:
- Rebook your travel up to 31 May 2022
- Reroute your travel to, from or via another destination
It won't charge a change fee, but new flights are subject to availability and any difference in the fare. If you rebook to finish travel by 30 November 2020, no difference in fare or change fee will be charged. Flights can only be rebooked up to 331 days in advance, so if you’re looking to fly after that, please wait until flights become available.
Alternatively, if you are unsure of your new travel dates you have the option to leave your ticket open. You must rebook and travel by 31 May 2022. There's no charge to do this but your new flights will be subject to availability and any potential fare difference. For bookings made directly with Virgin Atlantic only.
Virgin Atlantic states that if your flight has been cancelled your ticket will automatically be left open as credit for you to use any time up to 31 May 2022. There's no change fee, and if you choose to travel on the same route up to 30th November 2020, we’ll also waive any differences in the fare. If an alternative flight or rebooking does not suit you contact the airline to discuss your options. For more information click here.
30 July 2020: Virgin has said due to the volume of complaints received, refund requests made in August may take up to 80 days to process. They expect this to reduce to 60 days in September and 30 days in October.
Wizzair (Source: Travel Weekly)
Due to a decrease in demand across the network and various government restrictions on entry, a number of Wizz Air flights are subject to cancellations.
Wizz Air's network will be performing medical screening of passengers, therefore it is possible you may be subjected to such a check upon arrival at your destination airport. More information is available here.
If your flight has been cancelled Wizz Air advises that you will be offered the following options:
- Re-book for another flight operated by Wizz Air on the same or – if necessary – a comparable route, at the earliest opportunity, subject to availability of seats if there is no lockdown of the airport or air travel in the given country or;
- Credit the full value of the payment for the cancelled flight plus 20% of the fare paid for the cancelled flight, including, if applicable, the return sector on the passenger’s WIZZ Account. This credit can be used towards any Wizz Air flight/services in the future or;
- Opt for a cash refund, however please note that this will take longer to complete due to the high number of inquiries we are dealing with. Customers will be informed about the necessary steps for a bank transfer or transfer to credit card in a separate e-mail. In this case, customers will be eligible for 100% of the original fare.
Additional information is available here.
Airport updates (Northern Ireland)
Please contact the airport directly to ensure you have the latest information.
Belfast City Airport recommends that consumers check directly with their airline or travel agent for questions about their travel plans.
If you have made a car parking booking directly with the airport and your travel plans have changed you can cancel or amend your car park booking online, free of charge, up to four hours before you were due to travel.
Travel advice and information on COVID-19 can be found here.
Customers who need to avail of the Special Assistance Service
George Best Belfast City Airport has advised that new measures and facilities have been put in place for customers who avail of the Special Assistance Service. These guidelines are designed to adhere to the Government guidelines and social distancing rules during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
For further information customers can contact the airport via the telephone number or email address provided.
- Assistance Desk- 028 9093 5247
- [email protected]
Belfast International Airport remains open and appropriately staffed 24/7 throughout the present COVID-19 crisis. Albeit, due to the necessity of social distancing, passenger flights are effectively limited to round-the-clock medical emergency flights.
Further information is available here.
If you have made a car parking booking directly with the airport and your travel plans have changed you can cancel at any time up to 24 hours before the start on the booking period.
Due to the current situation surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, flight schedules will not be operating as normal during this period. Details are below. Source: City of Derry Airport
- London Stansted: Flights have recommenced, see here for more information.
- Manchester: Loganair’s 2020 summer schedule is on hold.
- Glasgow: Loganair has recommenced their flights, for more information visit here.
- Edinburgh: Ryanair has recommenced their flights, for more information visit here.
- Liverpool: Ryanair has resumed flights from 4 July 2020 with flights available two days per week. For more information visit here.
The City of Derry Airport is offering free airport parking to all NHS staff for a year, effective from Tuesday 21st April 2020 until the end of April 2021. For more information click here.
The airport has introduced new health and safety measures, for more information click here.
If the airline cancels my flight
If your flight is cancelled the airline must provide you with the option of a full cash refund payable within seven days or an alternative flight. These are your rights under EU Regulation 261 and apply even if you are stranded in another country.
Consumers are advised to be alert to all contact (emails/text/telephone calls etc) from their airline and to contact the airline if they have not heard anything.
In the current unprecedented circumstances airlines are struggling to fulfil this responsibility. Many airlines are saying that they are unable to process refunds within seven days and that consumers may have to wait a long time to get the refund.
As an alternative to a cash refund many airlines are offering the option of vouchers that can be used to book flights in the future.
Some airlines are also offering vouchers if a passenger wants to cancel an existing booking. For more information on this situation see the section below: ‘If you do not want to or cannot travel but the flight has not been cancelled’.
Should I accept a voucher for my cancelled flight or insist on a refund?
Ultimately, this is a decision for you taking into consideration all of your own personal circumstances. In the current circumstances of the global pandemic there are many factors to consider, some of which are changing as the response to the pandemic changes and the lockdown eases.
The first thing to reiterate is that the law is absolutely clear that you are entitled to a cash refund if your flight is cancelled by the airline.
Currently the length of time airlines are taking to pay a refund varies but there is likely to be a considerable wait. So you should consider how important to you is getting a cash refund and crucially how urgently do you need it?
If you do apply for a cash refund and there is a delay, The Consumer Council can help. Call us on 0800 121 6022 or email at [email protected].
- What are the terms of the vouchers you are being offered? Do they cover your needs in the long run?
- Can the vouchers be redeemed for cash after a certain period? For example with Ryanair if you have not used the voucher after 12 months you can apply for cash refund, although this is not common practice.
- How long are the vouchers valid for?
- Is there any limit on the vouchers use?
- Will you have to pay the difference if the new flight costs more and will you be able to use the difference if it is less?
- Is there a financial incentive to take the voucher? For example Aer Lingus are adding 10% of the value of the booked flights to its vouchers.
- Is there any mention of what will happen if the airline becomes insolvent? If it is not mentioned you will almost certainly not get your money back from the airline as there is no statutory insolvency scheme if you purchase an airline ticket from an airline or travel business and you receive a valid ticket in exchange for payment. For more information on your protection under the ATOL insolvency protection scheme click here. However you may be able to claim on your travel insurance if you have it, or through your credit card or debit card provider.
- If you have travel insurance or are planning on buying some, check it covers for airline insolvency (the term is usually called Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance or End Provider Failure Insurance).
- Will there be government restrictions in place, whether in the UK or at a foreign destination, which may restrict your ability to travel at the new time that you want to book new flights using the voucher?
- Will the airline still be flying to the original destination you had booked when it restarts its flights?
- Will the cost of flights increase, as you will probably have to pay the difference?
- Do you have any real concern that the airline may become insolvent between the time of accepting the voucher and taking the flight, as there is no statutory insolvency scheme if you purchase an airline ticket from an airline or travel business and you receive a valid ticket in exchange for payment. For more information on your protection under the ATOL insolvency protection scheme click here. However, you may be able to use your travel insurance or claim from your credit or debit card provider.
We have produced a drop down list showing the key features of the vouchers currently being offered by the main airlines flying in and out of Northern Ireland. You should refer to your airline to ensure all these details are accurate before you agree to accept a voucher and always read the full terms and conditions.
Information correct as of 11 August 2020.
Voucher offer for passengers booked on flights for travel up to 31 August 2020 and on cancelled flights.
- Offering guests the value of their flights (fare, taxes and charges, ancillary purchases).
- Passengers must agree they are happy to accept the voucher in lieu of a refund.
- The voucher is valid for five years from issue date.
- The value of the voucher will include fare, taxes, charges, seats, bags and administration fee. It will not apply for any third party payments. Third party ancillaries such as car hire are not included.
- The lead guest should apply and only one voucher will be issued per booking.
- The lead guest on the booking will receive the voucher by email.
- In order to redeem a voucher the person whose name is on the voucher must be a member of the party being booked. Vouchers are transferable and this can be done via the Change Name function in Manage my Voucher on aerlingusvouchers.com.
- Vouchers can only be redeemed against bookings in the currency of issue.
- Any credit remaining following redemption of the voucher may be used within the original validity period towards future flight purchases.
- Vouchers are not refundable.
- Vouchers will not be redeemed or exchanged for cash.
Full voucher terms and conditions available here.
Voucher offer for cancelled flights or passengers who want to cancel their flight and have the following bookings:
- Bookings made prior to 3 Mar 2020 for travel between 14 March 2020 and 31 July 2020
- Bookings made between 3 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 for travel until 31 December 2020
- Travel vouchers are now valid until 30 April 2022 (includes previously issued vouchers).
- Your new trip booked with your voucher must be fully completed by 30 April 2022 (departure and return).
- To receive a voucher you need to complete a voucher application form. Do not cancel your original booking as BA will not be able to issue a voucher for a flight that has been cancelled by a customer.
- You will receive your voucher by email within seven days of your application.
- Flight only bookings can be exchanged for a voucher up to the close of check-in. Changes to date on flight + hotel and flight + car packages must be made up to 48 hours before departure.
- If you have already taken advantage of the no change fee policy you can still receive a voucher if the new travel date is before 31 July 2020.
- If you flight has already departed you are not eligible for a voucher.
- If you have taken a voucher it cannot be converted to a cash refund in the event that your original flight subsequently does not operate.
- Vouchers will be issued in the same currency as your original payment.
- The voucher allows you to make a future booking in the name of the person on the original ticket. If you had multiple bookings each person will receive their own voucher to use. The voucher is non-transferable.
- If you book a flight that’s cheaper than the value of the voucher BA will issue another voucher covering the fare difference. You will need to pay any difference if the new fare is more expensive.
- A seating credit will be included in the value of your voucher. This credit has to be used towards a seating purchase when you make a new booking. Baggage purchases will be refunded and will not be credited with a voucher.
- The voucher can be used on any British Airways marketed route with a BA flight number with the exception of bookings on Sun-Air. The voucher can be used on any British Airways marketed route with a BA flight number or be put towards a new British Airways Holiday.
- Flights booked using vouchers will be subject to the new bookings regular Terms and Conditions.
- A voucher may only be redeemed towards a new British Airways Holidays booking made once you have received the voucher. Vouchers are not eligible to be used in payment or part-payment towards an existing holiday booking.
- Credit from cancelled BA Holidays package bookings will not be ATOL protected until redeemed for a new package holiday reservation.
Further information on vouchers can be found here.
If your flight has been cancelled, you can opt to choose a voucher.
- The flight voucher will be for the full value of your ticket and, for a limited time, passengers can also choose between:
- £50 easyJet Holidays voucher - £50 to use off your next booking with easyJet Holidays. (T&Cs apply)
- £5 easyJet Flight voucher - £5 extra per passenger per flight. So for a family of 4 on a return trip that means an extra £40 to spend on your next flight booked with easyJet.
- £5 Inflight Bistro voucher - £5 per passenger per flight to spend on food & drink on-board your next easyJet flight.
- “Hands Free”...for FREE - One free “Hands Free” experience per passenger per flight for future easyJet flight bookings with easyJet. (One for outbound flight and one for the return)
- Your voucher will be valid for 12 months from date of issue.
- You do not need to travel before the expiry date, you can book onto any flights that are on sale at the time you redeem your voucher.
- The voucher will be emailed to the easyJet account holder that made the original booking. Please be aware it may take several days to be issued.
- The voucher can only be used on easyJet.com using the same easyJet account as the original booking. Not available on the mobile app. The voucher code must be entered on the payment page prior to completion of the booking.
- Vouchers are non-transferable and non-refundable.
- Only one voucher can be used per booking.
- If the new booking is greater than the voucher value, the difference must be paid by card. If the new booking is lower than the voucher value, the remaining value is stored and can be used on future bookings within the validity date.
- The new booking must be for easyJet flights only (including any seats and bags booked at the same time). The voucher cannot be used where other ancillaries are added such as cars or travel insurance. Vouchers cannot be redeemed via the call centre or at the airport.
- Some booking types might not be eligible for a voucher and therefore a refund may be issued instead. If you made your booking via a tour operator, travel agent or OTA please contact them directly to get your voucher or refund.
- If your booking type is not eligible for a voucher and is processed as a refund instead, you will not be eligible for an extra from easyJet.
Further information on vouchers can be found here.
Jet2 is recommencing its flying programme on 1 July. If you were due to travel before 1 July 2020, you have the option to choose a refund credit note.
- You need to cancel your flights before midnight on 14 June 2020 and you’ll be given a refund credit note. You can do this online in the ‘Manage my booking’ section of the Jet2 website.
- You need to rearrange your flights within six months of receiving it. If you don’t redeem your refund credit note by this date, you’ll be given a full cash refund, contact Jet2’s Customer Services Team to discuss your options.
- The credit note is only applicable to new bookings.
- If the price of your new booking is less than your refund credit note, the remaining balance will stay on your refund credit note and you can use it on another Jet2 booking. If the price of your new booking is more than your refund credit note, you can pay the difference by another payment method.
- Any previous cancellation charges, admin fees or any charges for insurance which you may have purchased will not be included in the value of the Refund Credit Note.
- Normal terms and conditions apply to all bookings once confirmed.
- Normal amendment fees will apply for any date or name changes, once a new booking has been confirmed.
- Only redeemable on flight only bookings made directly with Jet2.com and not any bookings made with Jet2holidays.
- Please note, if you receive reimbursement for your flight via other means, the Refund Credit Note (or any flight booked using this Refund Credit Note) will be voided without further notice.
- This Refund Credit Note is intended for the lead passenger. Jet2 reserves the right to cancel the Refund Credit Note or a booking made with a Refund Credit Note if this has been used by someone other than the intended recipient or without their permission.
- To redeem your Refund Credit Note please enter your code in the “credit note” box on the payment page when booking your flight at https://www.jet2.com, or contact its Travel Advisors.
Further information on vouchers can be found here.
Details for cancelled flights:
- If your flight was cancelled, you will receive your voucher from Ryanair by email to the email address provided in your Booking. The email will include voucher details, an 18 digit voucher code, the monetary amount, and expiration date.
- Travel Vouchers are valid for 12 months after the issue date and they can be redeemed within that time on Ryanair’s website. The validity of the Travel Vouchers cannot be extended.
- Each group booking will receive one voucher on behalf of all customers (including infants). The voucher will be in the customer's name who made the original booking.
- You can travel after the expiry date as long as the flight is booked before the expiry date.
- Travel vouchers can be redeemed for cash at the end of their 12 months’ validity period.
- Travel Vouchers can only be redeemed in the currency of issue.
- Travel Vouchers can only be redeemed by the recipient of the voucher. You can use the voucher to pay for multiple travel companions.
- If the total flight price exceeds the value of the Travel Voucher(s) used to pay for the booking, any price difference can be paid with by credit/debit card or with PayPal.
- If you don't use all of your voucher balance at one time, you can use your voucher code for future transactions. Once the voucher expires, any remaining balance will be refunded in cash.
- Travel Vouchers can be used as payment for flights, seats, priority, checked bags, fast track, baby equipment, music equipment, sports equipment, travel insurance and associated taxes, fees and charges (not car hire, transfers or hotel bookings). Passenger name changes are not permitted if a booking has been paid for using a Travel Voucher.
- Travel Vouchers are non-transferable.
Further information on vouchers can be found here.
Fixed sum compensation
In normal circumstances, prior to the Covid 19 crisis, you would be entitled to compensation on top of a refund if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before the flight was due to go. However, this was never payable when the cancellation is due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’. The CAA is the UK Aviation Regulator that enforces the EU Regulations on passenger rights. The view of the CAA is that Covid-19 is an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and therefore the fixed sum compensation is not payable.
If you do not want to or cannot travel, but the flight has not been cancelled
You are not automatically entitled to a refund from your airline if you do not want to or cannot travel, but the flight has not been cancelled by the airline. This is the case even with the current UK FCO advice against all non-essential international travel, the current Northern Ireland Government restrictions on non–essential movement, and ongoing travel restrictions in other countries.
However, many airlines have made arrangements to waive the usual fees if you want to rebook at a later date or they may be offering vouchers for use at a later date as an alternative.
You should consider very carefully whether to accept an alternative booking or a voucher. You should consider the same issues around vouchers as described above in the ‘If the airline cancels my flight’ section and refer to the main Northern Ireland airline vouchers table at the bottom of that section. However there is also a very important difference between your rights when the airline cancels the flight and when you cancel the flight or simply do not travel.
The key difference is that if you do not accept a voucher or rebook and the flight goes ahead you will not be entitled to a refund and the airline can claim to have discharged its obligation to you and do not need to offer you a voucher after the event. Therefore you may not get either a flight or a refund from the airline.
Furthermore, your travel insurance may not cover you for this. The Association of British Insurers says that travel insurance does not cover a ‘disinclination’ to travel. However, if UK government travel restrictions are still in place at the time of the flight your travel insurance is more likely to pay. You should the terms of your travel insurance carefully. For more information see the ‘Travel insurance’ section.
It is also not certain that you will be able to claim the money back from your credit card company (Section 75 of the Consumer Credit) or debit card provider under the Chargeback scheme.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued guidance on the 30 April 2020, to help consumers understand their rights and to help businesses treat their customers fairly. This states that a consumer can expect a refund where a consumer cancels, or is prevented from receiving any services, because Government public health measures mean they are not allowed to use the services. The CMA has confirmed that this would apply in the case of flights.
You can use the CMA guidance to try to persuade the airline to refund you, or to persuade your credit or debit card provider to cover the cost of your flight.
However, the CMA states this is its view on the law, but that only the courts can decide what the law is and that the CMA’s views are not a substitute for independent legal advice. More information is available here.
If you choose not to travel and the ticket is non-refundable, you can claim back the Air Passenger Duty (APD) that was part of the cost of the ticket you purchased. APD is essentially a government tax on flights departing from the UK. Unfortunately, airlines often charge an administration fee to do so, and as the majority of flights from Northern Ireland attract the short haul lower rate of APD (£13 for one way flight), this may be more than the amount of the APD you will get back.
However, in the case of long haul flights from the UK, the rate of APD is much higher (£78), and therefore it is worthwhile claiming it back. However, there is no long haul APD charge for flights from Northern Ireland). You should contact your airline to do this.
Complaints about flights
The Consumer Council can help you with complaints about flights to and from Northern Ireland airports. If you are not happy with an airline’s response contact us here.
For complaints about flights from other UK airports you can escalate your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body if your airline has signed up to one. If your airline does not belong to an ADR body you can refer your complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority. To find out if your airline belongs to an ADR or for further information click here.
For flights from the Republic of Ireland you can escalate a complaint to the Commission for Aviation Regulation if you are not satisfied with an airline’s response or you have not received a response within six weeks of making a complaint. Complaints can be escalated at www.flightrights.ie
If your flight started in another EU country you need to contact the enforcement body for that country. For the contact details of national enforcement bodies click here.
Air Passenger Guidance for travel during the coronavirus outbreak
The Department for Transport has published passenger guidance for travelling by air when travel restrictions have been lifted. The guidance covers all aspects of the travel experience, from checking the public health requirements before booking a flight, to navigating the airport safely and boarding the flight or leaving the airport.
The full guidance is available here.
On 17 March 2020, the FCO advised against 'all but essential' travel to any country for an initial 30-day period.
On 4 July 2020, the FCO updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. More information on the countries that are exempt can be found here: FCO Update
If you are booked to travel anywhere during this time, your flights may be cancelled and your airline may refund you. If this does not happen, the FCO's advice is often the trigger for insurance cancellation cover, so you will be able to make a claim if you have that.
Further Government imposed restrictions on travel, social distancing, quarantine etc may also trigger insurance cancellation cover within the UK or abroad and your travel insurance policy may also cover non-refundable cancellation costs in specific circumstances.
However, travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where there is no specific Government restrictions or if the FCO advice against all but essential is removed.
Many travel insurance providers have changed the terms of cover because of the COVID-19 pandemic and to be sure what is covered you should check with your individual insurance provider.
Further information is available on the Association of British Insurers' website.
Which? has also produced useful information on the latest position with travel insurance that is available here.
If my cruise, package holiday or holiday accommodation is cancelled
The Deptartment of Transport announced on 20 July that refund credit notes issued between 10 March and 30 September 2020 for package holidays cancelled, owing to COVID-19 will be protected by the ATOL scheme, even if the company they have booked with later collapses.
This will ensure the refund credit notes are protected if customers choose them over refunds and this move will mean customers are able to support the travel sector’s recovery from the pandemic by accepting a refund credit note.”
For those ATOL-protected holidaymakers whose trips have already been cancelled, this reform will give them the freedom to choose between a refund or a fully-protected refund credit note for use at a later date.”
Package Travel Regulations
Your rights are protected under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs). More information can be found here.
Under the PTRs, if any element of your package holiday or cruise package is cancelled or significantly changed, then you have the right to request a full refund of any payments made towards your holiday. Your travel company may offer you vouchers to be redeemed against a future booking, however you are entitled to request a full cash refund if you do not wish to accept vouchers.
More detailed information from ABTA on the current position with customers seeking refunds and with forward bookings is available on its website here.
If your trip has been cancelled because of the change in FCO advice:
- Talk in the first instance to your travel provider to discuss options.
If possible, postpone your holiday or travel arrangements, don’t cancel:
- This will mean you have a holiday to look forward to in the future, and it will help your travel provider maintain its cash flow through the short-term challenges.
If you are not able to postpone:
- Your travel provider may offer you a Refund Credit Note instead of an immediate cash refund. This Refund Credit Note can be used to book another holiday at a later date and, in the meantime, it is protected by ABTA/ ATOL if your original booking had that protection, so you would be reimbursed if the travel company failed financially.
Further details on Refund Credit Notes are below:
- This protection will last until 31 July 2020 at the latest at which point, if you have not used the Refund Credit Note to book another holiday, you will be entitled to a cash refund.
- The value of the Refund Credit Note must be equal in value to the monies you have actually paid for the protected travel arrangements.
- The Refund Credit Note must not include any other amount offered as a rebooking incentive or other offer.
- Any such offers must be documented separately and are not covered by any scheme of financial protection.
- The Refund Credit Note must expressly identify the original booking reference and attach a copy of the cancelled Booking Confirmation / Cancellation Invoice and, where appropriate, ATOL Certificate.
If your travel provider has said they will offer a cash refund:
- Please be patient with them as they process this as they are likely to be dealing with an exceptionally high volume of enquiries.
If you have a travel booking for later in the year:
- Please be patient. The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until mid-April. You may incur cancellation charges or lose your deposit if you make a hasty decision.
If I want to cancel my cruise, package holiday or holiday accommodation
Whether you can recover your money and how depends on whether your trip is a package holiday or you booked separately flights and accommodation that combine to make up your holiday.
On the 18 March 2020 the European Commission issued the following advice
In the case of a package holiday, the EU Directive on Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements (the Package Travel Regulations), the traveller can cancel the trip without penalty if there are “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the package, or which significantly affect the carriage of passengers to the destination” (Article 12(2) of the Package Travel Directive).
It goes onto say that ‘Unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances’ means a situation beyond the control of the party who invokes such a situation and the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Significant risks to human health, such as the outbreak of a serious disease like the COVID-19 at the travel destination or its immediate vicinity usually qualify as such unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.
The assessment whether those circumstances significantly affect the performance of the package must be made on a case-by-case basis. An official travel warning of national authorities is an important indicator that the package travel contract can be cancelled due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances impacting the performance of the trip. This also applies where public authorities prohibit certain travels or ban the movement of persons in a manner that excludes, de facto, the package travel contract to be performed.
If you have booked a city trip in form of a package to a city to which access is restricted or where public life is subject to significant limitations (e.g. closure of tourist attractions or museums), this should give you the right to cancel your trip.
If you or an accompanying family member have a medical condition for which exposure to the COVID-19 is particularly dangerous, you should have the right to cancel your package travel contract if the risk of contamination with COVID-19 at the travel destination or its immediate vicinity is declared high by the competent authorities when such increased risk significantly affects the performance of the package for the traveller(s). Such case may also be covered by your travel insurance.
Hence, it would have to be assessed whether travellers can reasonably be expected to travel to the destination(s) in light of the risk to their health and life. A subjective feeling of fear would not be sufficient.
If you are not covered by the Package Travel Regulations
You are not automatically entitled to a refund from your travel operator if you want to cancel your booking even with the current FCO advice against all non-essential international travel and the government restrictions on movement within the UK.
You need to check the cancellation Terms and Conditions of your booking as some consumers will have opted for free cancellation or partial refund.
You may be reliant on your travel operator’s goodwill if you want to arrange an alternative holiday or rebook at a later date, but many travel operators have made arrangements to waive the usual fees if you want to rebook at a later date or they may be offering vouchers for use at a later date. You should contact the travel operator and see what they can do for you.
In Northern Ireland the body that enforces the Package Travel Regulations is the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service. If you wish to make a complaint about holidays you should contact them at Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or email: [email protected]
If you have booked car hire
Hertz has waived one-way rental fees, cancellation fees and change fees for pre-paid reservations in travel restricted areas. Additionally, all prepaid reservations booked prior to March 13 can now be extended toward reservations used within 24 months with no fees. Click here for more details. For reservations made with Gold Plus Rewards points prior to March 13, they will waive change or cancellation point loss.
Cancelling travel plans in the UK
Which? has provided information if you wish to cancel rail, coach or ferry journeys within the UK, which you can access by clicking here.
Translink bus and rail services in Northern Ireland
Cross Border Bus Services
Translink is advising passengers to book their cross border journeys to Dublin City and Dublin Airport in advance. This will help ensure that capacity will meet the demands while allowing for the current social distancing restrictions of 2 metres. Bookings can be made via Translink Contact Centre or online Translink’s Journey Planner and website.
Face coverings on public transport
In line with Government guidance, wearing a face covering is mandatory on public transport from Friday 10th July. The new rule will apply to all passengers in public areas, however, exemptions will apply for those who are not able to wear a face covering for specific medical reasons and children under the age of 13. Further information is available on nidirect at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus-safer-travel-guidance and www.nidirect.gov.uk/face-coverings.
Disruption to timetables
From Monday 30 March 2020, in line with reduced service timetables, the Translink Contact Centre opening hours have been revised & will open 08:00 - 17:00 Mon - Sun. Customers are encouraged to contact Translink via social media.
Changes to paying for tickets
From Monday 30 March 2020, Translink is taking further steps to protect customers and staff through the reduction of cash handling when buying tickets on board all bus and train services.
Passengers must tender the correct fare if using cash to buy their ticket from the driver on the bus or conductor on the train. There will be no facility to provide change to the passenger. However, passengers buying tickets at bus and train stations will still be able to receive change.
Refunds for tickets
Translink’s normal refund policy applies for most bus and rail tickets but specific arrangements are in place for refunds during the Covid-19 emergency for mLink, aLink, Cross Border and Enterprise services and NIR weekly and monthly tickets. For further information see Translink’s website.
Free travel for NHS workers
Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has announced free travel for NHS workers on public transport services in Northern Ireland from Friday 27 March, while the fight against COVID-19 continues. If you already have a ticket you may be able to apply for a refund. For further information see Translink’s website.
Accessible Travel NI
Imtac runs a website called Accessible Travel NI, which lists information about accessible travel and transport in Northern Ireland. During the current COVID-19 crisis, the site also provides updates about changes to transport and travel.
Click here to visit the website.
Community transport in Northern Ireland
Disability Action Transport Services will resume passenger transport activities from 1 July 2020. It is delighted to get the transport service up and running for essential journeys. Significant restrictions to Dial-a-Lift services are still in place.
From 1 April 2020, some Community Transport providers are offering new Collection & Deliver and Transport services to both members and non-members during this time. For more information, click here.
Further information is available here.
Coach Travel to and from Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland-based bus firm Hannon Coach is running a reduced service on its Belfast to Glasgow route. Visit the Hannon Coach website for more information.
Eamonn Rooney Coach Hire
The Newry to Belfast services will resume on 20 July 2020. Further timetable details are available here.
The Dublin service is still under review with the possibility of resuming later in August.
Aircoach and Expressway services to Dublin
Aircoach and Expressway have suspended their service to Dublin Airport and Dublin city.
Translink, in conjunction with Bus Eireann, are the running the only cross border service to these destinations. It is important that customers book their travel in advance to secure a seat. Bookings can be made via Translink Contact Centre or online Translink’s Journey Planner and website.
Please check directly with your ferry operator to ensure you have the latest information.
P&O ferries are operating an ‘optimized schedule’ with some changes to sailings. Bookings can be changed without an amendment fee and if the government restrict travel to one of its destinations it will issue a credit for future travel or refund.
Currently, there may be some disruption to sailings between Dublin and Liverpool, passengers should contact P&O ferries for the most up to date information.
Please note, in line with government advice, it is now a requirement that all passengers wear a facial covering when travelling on public transport, including ferries. You will also need to complete a Passenger Health Locator form when travelling to the UK. Please ensure that you read the government’s latest advice before you travel.
More information can be found here.
Stena Line ferries are reporting that freight and passenger sailings are still operational but capacity has been reduced. Its Belfast to Liverpool has reduced from six daily crossings to four and the Belfast to Cairnryan route is down from 12 daily crossings to ten.
From Monday 15 June, all Stena Line passengers will be required to wear face masks or face coverings whilst in their ports and onboard the vessels when travelling on its Irish Sea and North Sea routes. A number of additional safety requirements are in place including additional hand sanitising stations, changes to food service, closure of kids play areas, closure of saunas, encouraging of card payments, and more. For the full of safety measures on-board, embarking/disembarking and at terminals, click here.
If you have booked a ticket and are uncertain if you want to travel now, until 31 July 2020 (inclusive) Stena Line are offering the option to change your ticket to an open ticket. Your original ticket will be cancelled, but the ticket value will remain unchanged and can be extended to a new departure date in 2020 or 2021. The new trip must be booked no later than 30 November 2020.
More information can be found here.
Fees for rebooking tickets
Stena Line is waiving any fees for rebooking tickets for all destinations so that you can amend your travel as its suits you, if your circumstances change.
This applies to all routes and is valid for existing bookings up to 31 July 2020. Changing the date or time of your booking may result in different pricing, but there is no fee for making changes
From midnight Monday 23 March 2020 only essential travel will be permitted to and from Rathlin Island. Essential travel from Ballycastle will be deemed as one of the following:
- Island Nurse
- Emergency service to attend an island emergency
- Emergency repairs to water, electricity or gas
Essential travel from Rathlin would be medical evacuations and essential hospital appointments which must be confirmed by a medical professional.
RIFL will continue to facilitate deliveries to or from the Island to ensure the lifeline is maintained. It will manage the deliveries internally to ensure nothing is missed.
The ferry terminal will be closed completely to the public and phones will be manned daily from 11am to 1pm by calling the usual RIFL number 02820769299 or email [email protected].
The service has recommenced. For up to date sailing information see here
The service has recommenced. Latest updates on the sailing status are available here.
From 20 July 2020, the Isle of Man Government will permit Isle of Man residents to travel off-Island and return, providing that they strictly follow travel and self-isolation rules. The Isle of Man’s borders will remain closed to non-Island residents until further notice.
Amendments and cancellations of bookings for travel affected by Government imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions may be made in accordance with Steam Packet Company's Book with Confidence Commitment. Learn more here.
Information on amendment fees and refunds
- No amendment fees:To give you greater flexibility, amendment fees will be waived if you choose to amend your travel dates until later in the year due to COVID-19 Government imposed travel restrictions.
- Full refund if booking is cancelled: If your booking needs to be cancelled due to COVID-19 Government imposed travel restrictions Steam Packet Company will refund your booking within 30 days.
More information is available here.
Changes to timetables
The Strangford Ferry service will resume from Monday 10 August 2020. Further information is available here.
Please check directly with the taxi companies to ensure you have the latest information.
Fonacab has advised that it is running a normal service although customers may see a slight difference in pick up times as they do not have as many drivers working as usual.
Customers may notice the driver taking a few more precautions as to cleanliness but other than that their journey will proceed as normal. They have issued drivers with information on what they need to do.
Fonacab also provided guidance for customers on what they need to do to have a safe taxi cab journey, which you can view here.
The black taxi service has restarted and all taxis have been fitted with sanitation stations and Perspex screens. Taxis will now take a maximum of four passengers instead of the usual six.
Value Cabs is running a reduced taxi service but is still operating 24/7. Value Cabs is operating with a reduced number of drivers, therefore pick up times may be increased.
Value Cabs have implemented a few changes for operating 24/7 throughout COVID-19:
- Only two passengers are allowed per journey. Both have to be seated in the rear of the vehicle
- Touch points on vehicles are cleaned between journeys
- Protective screens have been fitted to 70% of its working fleet
- Vehicles specifically fitted with a screen can be requested
Further information is available here.
Travel organisation contact details
Click on the relevant travel company below to view a contact phone number and website.
Customer service: 0344 493 0787
Customer service: 0300 303 2800
Customer service: 0330 365 5000
Customer service: +44 (0)28 92 650700
Customer service: 0330 1007 838
Customer service: +44 (0) 1304 44 88 88
- General Reservations & Enquiries 03447 707 070
- Ferrycheck 08705 755 755
- Freight - Commercial Vehicles over 6.0m 08450 704 000 / 08708 503 535
Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar. You must stay in your main home.
Caravan parks are closed due to government restrictions. Because of this, you will not be able to fully use the services you are paying for in your contract, and the terms of your written agreement with the park owner cannot be fully fulfilled.
Site owners are unable to fully provide normal services through no fault of their own, so you should try to negotiate with the site owner a reasonable pitch fee payment settlement for the affected period of time.
If you are experiencing current financial issues you may also ask about the following:
- are there any payment options to help you?
- can you switch to a monthly payment?
- could you pay half now, half later?
If you have already paid pitch fees for the season, you may be able to claim a refund or partial refund for the time the caravan park is closed.
Because the park is closed due to government restrictions, you would have to argue that the park was in breach of the contractual agreement by failing to perform its obligations. However, it also needs to be considered that your part of the contract requires the payment of pitch fees and by not paying you could potentially be in breach of contract.
As the park is closed due to extraordinary circumstances, the fault does not lie with either you or the park owner. Therefore, if you decide to ask the park owner for a refund of pitch fees it is unclear whether you would be successful.
You should consider that in the current circumstances the site owner is still, at the very least, providing safe storage of your caravan.
If, as well as seeking a refund of pitch fees, you were to give notice to the park owner to terminate your agreement, this would mean that you would lose your entitlement to keep your caravan on the park. Steps could then be taken by the park owner to remove your caravan from the site.
For more information on selling your caravan and removal from the park, click here to see guidance from NI Direct's website.
Caravan park owners can close sites and you must leave the park and can’t use your holiday caravan.
However, where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim homes where their main home is not available, they may continue to do so.
Therefore, if you are occupying a holiday caravan and believe that you have a genuine reason, that falls within the UK Government exemptions, as to why you are unable to return to your main residence, you should contact the park owner by phone or in writing at once and explain your situation.
Residential parks are allowed to stay open.
If a holiday caravan park is your current main home then you can stay on site, as it will stay partially open for residents only.
Where a caravan park is housing people who would have nowhere to live, or is providing accommodation to key workers or vulnerable groups, they should stay open to those groups only and not remove them from their homes.
The park should stay closed to those who are not key workers or vulnerable groups.
If you are occupying a holiday caravan and believe that you have a genuine reason, that falls within the government exemptions, as to why you are unable to return to your main home, you should contact the park owner by phone or in writing at once and explain your situation.
If you are a key worker and want to stay in your holiday caravan for your family’s safety, you can do this.
You should contact the park owner by phone or in writing at once and explain your situation.
Unless you’re a key worker, or consider yourself to be in a vulnerable group, you must stay at home.
Exercising is important for everyone to maintain good physical and mental health however it will now be restricted to one form of outdoor exercise per day. This may be in the form of a walk, run or cycle and must be carried out alone or with members of your immediate household.
When exercising outside it is important to remember these key things:
- Stay local – Don’t go too far or anywhere unfamiliar.
- Participate in low risk, familiar activities.
- If you see other people out exercising, remember to keep social distancing and leave a 2m space between you.
- Most car parks will now be closed so aim to visit on foot or by bike.
- Play parks and outdoor gyms will no longer be open.
Plan your days to include one form of exercising outside, it can be something to look forward to and the fresh air will be beneficial. Exercise can be so helpful for boosting your mood and getting your body moving, if only for 15 minutes.
If you are unsure of walks or trails available to you in your local area, there are plenty of options available on WalkNI.com. Please be aware that many walks will have their access points cut off and may not be easy to get to. Use your brain and try to keep as close to home as possible.