Coronavirus has brought much of our normal lives to a halt. We're working from home, leaving the house only once a day for exercise or food shopping, and quarantining for 14 days if we experience any symptoms.
With that come the bans on international travel. After Disneyland announced their parks were closing and Glastonbury confirmed it was cancelled, the UK government imposed a 30 day ban on all but essential travel, around the country and beyond.
Now, EasyJet have announced they are grounding all flights, and cannot give a date for when they will restart. Due to the "unprecedented travel restrictions" imposed by governments globally due to the virus pandemic, the budget travel airline said flights will be cancelled from here on in.
Though they have been running rescue flights to retrieve Britons stranded abroad (and "will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested"), any further flights will be cancelled. When they will start again remains unclear.
What if I had a flight booked with EasyJet?
If you had a flight booked with EasyJet and it's since been cancelled, you're entitled to a full refund to your original method of payment within seven days under EU air passengers' rights rules.
The airline has currently removed the usual option where passengers could request their money back online, and are instead encouraging passengers to take vouchers to rebook flights for a later date instead.
In order to get your money back, you'll have to do it over the phone. EasyJet explained:
"Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre.
"We are experiencing higher than average wait times so we would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown."
Unsurprisingly, they're experiencing high levels of calls. The Independent recommend trying 0161 774 9879 – which is the number for overseas calls - if you can't get through, and pressing 1 for English.
When will EasyJet start up again?
As with many coronavirus related things, this remains unclear. The airline have said: "At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view."
The airline says it has agreed with the Unite union to furlough all its UK-based cabin crew during April and May, which suggests EasyJet flights will begin again in June at the earliest.
When will the UK travel ban be lifted?
Again, this is currently unclear. The current Foreign Office warning against non-essential travel abroad continues until 16 April 2020 but is likely to be extended. On March 17, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "With immediate effect, I have taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally, for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review."
What if I have an EasyJet flight after May?
If your flight are booked for June and beyond, you currently have to assume they are going ahead and therefore, you cannot yet claim a refund. Your best bet is to wait until closer to the time to see what the picture is like then - international travel may no longer be banned, or EasyJet will have announced further grounded flights.
Can I claim compensation for my cancelled EasyJet flight?
Under normal circumstances, you would likely be due compensation for a cancelled flight under the European air passengers’ rights rules (payments for short-notice cancellations of up to €600 (£535) per person). However, airlines don't have to pay if the cancellation is clearly beyond its control, and coronavirus has been deemed beyond their control.
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The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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