- Portugal expected to be placed back on travel ban 'red list' this week as new cases rise
- In numbers – how worrying is Portugal's rise in coronavirus cases?
- Face masks on planes rule unenforceable, tourism industry says
- Which country will be removed from the 'green list' next?
- Can I visit Portugal? The latest advice as country busts UK's quarantine threshold
- How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice
Quarantine has been reimposed for many countries, Chris Sainty, the UK ambassador to Portugal, has reminded British holidaymakers, sparking further speculation that Portugal could be struck from the UK's travel 'green list' after just two weeks.
Portugal recorded 22.5 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days to September 1. The threshold at which the UK Government considers removing a country from its quarantine-free travel list is 20 per 100,000, with a review held each Thursday.
“We worked closely with Portugal to ensure the situation here was fully understood by decision-makers in Britain, but things can change quickly. As cases rise across Europe, quarantine has been reintroduced for many countries, in line with Britain's overriding goal to protect public health,” tweeted Mr Sainty.
“Travellers should consider their plans carefully and factor in the risks of travelling abroad in this fast-moving situation," he added.
Some 75,000 Britons are thought to be on holiday in Portugal or due to travel there in the coming days. EasyJet has sold out of seats on direct flights from the Algarve to the UK ahead of the potential quarantine deadline (4am Saturday), after which arrivals from Portugal will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airway’s parent company IAG, has said that adding Portugal to the ‘red list’ would cause “chaos and hardship for travellers”. Writing in The Times, he added: “The government is using arbitrary statistics to effectively ban 160 countries and in the process destroying the economy. The government needs to introduce a testing regime to restore confidence.”
Scroll down for the latest updates.
What happened today?
The key stories:
- Face masks on planes rule unenforceable, says tourism industry
- Spain sees infection rates start to decline
- CAA asks Government for powers to enforce airline refunds
- Ryanair offers 1 million flights for £5 in flash sale
- Poland bans direct flights from 44 countries
Catch-up with the rest below.
Government's must work together to re-establish air travel, says IATA
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) is urging governments to collaborate and find ways to re-establish air travel while controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
The IATA reported that July 2020 traffic was 79 per cent below 2019 levels and international traffic in July 2020 was 92 per cent below 2019.
“Protecting their citizens must be the top priority of governments. But too many governments are fighting a global pandemic in isolation with a view that closing borders is the only solution," Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive
“It’s time for governments to work together to implement measures that will enable economic and social life to resume, while controlling the spread of the virus.”
Your 'best bet' destinations for a winter sun holiday this year
Despite the UK travel corridor chaos, there are still some sun-kissed destinations likely to be open to Britons this winter, writes Mark Stratton.
Find inspiration among his selection, while bearing in mind that – as things stand –travel restrictions can change at short notice.
Comment: It's dangerous that you can still camp in this Arctic territory where polar bears roam free
Last week, Dutch citizen Johan Kootte was killed after being attacked at 4am while sleeping in his tent at a campsite near Longyearbyen.
Rosemary Behan argues that this is another example of the reasons why camping should not be allowed in this Arctic territory.
There are only between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears left on earth, with between 2,500 and 3,000 in the Barents Sea region, of which Svalbard is centre. Tourism, important in so many ways to sustaining an awareness of these animals and appreciation of their habitat, should not be the cause of any polar bear deaths and, although regulations surrounding their treatment are already tight, events and ever-rising tourist numbers suggest the penalties should be higher.
In a similar incident in 2018, a polar bear was shot dead “in self-defence” by a cruise ship guard during a shore landing in Svalbard’s Sjuøyane Islands. Hapag-Lloyd, which operated the cruise, said one of its guards “was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear which had not been spotted”. Such incidents are not just sad and regrettable. They represent the immense arrogance of human intrusion into sensitive habitats by people who have the money but perhaps not the sensibility, or the sense, to keep their distance.
Passenger on Tui Greece to Glasgow flight tests positive
A passenger who arrived in Glasgow from a Greek island on a Tui Airlines flight has tested positive for coronavirus, reports the BBC.
Tui was informed of the case on 26 August, three days after the passenger had flown with them.
The airline passed contact information of the people seated within two rows of the affected passenger on to contact tracers, and got in touch with those customers too to let them know.
During the Tui flight TOM 1745, the passenger was not displaying symptoms. Onboard rules, including the use of face masks, are in place to restrict the spread of the virus. Tui said this is enforced by the flight crew.
Bhutan to start lifting coronavirus restrictions
Bhutan, the remote Himalayan kingdom, today took the first steps to lift its coronavirus lockdown, saying there was limited community transmission.
The country of 750,000 people between India and China, one of the few nations in the world that have yet to register a virus death, has recorded 225 cases of the virus.
"Experiences in many countries reveal a surge in Covid-19 cases, mostly detected in the second week of post-lockdown [...] Which is why our re-opening strategies should be gradual," Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, said in a television address on Monday.
People will be allowed to leave their homes for non-essential activities like walking from Tuesday to Thursday. Following this, public transport will resume operations. International flights are still suspended.
Brown's Hotel reopens in London today
Rocco Forte is reopening its Brown's Hotel in London today.
The remainder of its hotels are reopening this month, including Hotel Amigo in Brussels, Hotel Savoy in Florence and Hotel de la Ville in Rome.
- Related: The most lavish London hotel suites rolling out the red carpet for a post-lockdown city staycation
Staycation inspiration: The best walks in Northumberland
As September begins, England's least crowded county could make for an ideal weekend staycation or day trip.
Mark Rowe has rounded up the best walks in this pristine stretch of country, from a four-mile stroll to a 13 mile trek.
EU warns Hungary's border closure could breach freedom of movement rules
The European Commission plans to formally object to the closure of Hungary's borders to all foreigners from Tuesday, a measure the country's Government says is required to curb a rise in coronavirus infections.
Christian Wigand, a Commission spokesman, said the EU commissioners in charge of justice and home affairs intended to remind Budapest that EU rules on freedom of movement were clear, and there could be no discrimination between EU citizens at the border.
"There are clear rules on free movement in the European Union and every member state needs to follow," he said.
Hungary has said it will only admit visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia as well as a few other exceptions.
Plane in near miss with man 'in a jetpack'
An airline pilot's communication with air traffic control has sparked a mid-air mystery, reports Travel Mole.
An American Airlines pilot reported a close encounter with a 'guy in a jetpack' high above Los Angeles.
It was right on the flight path of incoming planes at LAX at an altitude of more than 3,000 feet. It was just 300 yards from the plane, according to air traffic control audio.
Aiden will be the first storm to blow in across UK and Ireland this winter
Aiden will be the first storm to blow in across the UK and Ireland this winter, according to the new list of names for this year's strongest weather systems.
Bella, Gavin, Julia, Minnie, Oscar, Ravi, Saidhbhin and Wilson are among the storm names for 2020-21 announced by the Met Office, along with Met Eireann and Dutch national weather forecasting service the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI).
From September 1, the first storm to hit the UK, Ireland and/or the Netherlands will be named Aiden, while the second storm will be Bella.
The announcement comes after a month of extreme weather in the UK, which has included two named storms, a heatwave and the hottest August day recorded in 17 years.
Atlantis, The Palm offers guests Covid-19 tests
Atlantis, The Palm, the well-known Dubai resort, will offer foreign guests a free Covid-19 PCR test if they stay for five nights or more.
Tests will be carried out in resort by staff from an authorised hospital in the United Arab Emirates for all bookings until December 18.
Timothy Kelly, executive vice president and managing director, Atlantis Dubai, said: “We are continuously evolving to meet the needs of our customers during this challenging time. Using our on-site medical centre, the new PCR tests will help to reduce any travel inconveniences and encourage more international guests to visit Dubai’s premier entertainment destination."
Iconic Italian glacier could vanish within 15 years due to global warming
One of Italy's most celebrated glaciers is likely to disappear within 15 years because of global warming, scientists have warned, reports Nick Squires.
The rate at which the Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites is melting has accelerated in the last three years, according to researchers at Padua University.
During the First World War the glacier, located on Mt Marmolada, formed part of the frontline between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces, with soldiers building trenches, artillery positions and shelters amid the rock and ice.
A decade ago, it was losing five hectares of ice each year, but that has now increased to nine hectares a year, according to the scientists.
Watch: Japanese company successfully tests flying car
A Japanese firm, SkyDrive, has successfully tested a flying car, which can reach speeds of up to 100km per hour.
Uber will require customers to take a face mask 'selfie'
Uber said it will roll out a global selfie feature to verify its customers wear a mask, in line with a similar feature for drivers that was introduced in mid-May.
Uber instituted its “No Mask No Ride” policy on May 18 and extended it indefinitely due to the pandemic, requiring both drivers and riders to wear a face covering at all times during a ride.
Drivers are required to take a picture of themselves wearing a mask each day before starting work, while drivers and riders are able to cancel a trip without penalty if they report the other party is not wearing a mask. Failure to comply can lead to account deactivation.
The customer 'selfie' feature will be rolled out in the United States and Canada by the end of September, and across Latin America and other regions after that, Uber said.
Hong Kong starts mass virus testing scheme
Hong Kong launched a mass coronavirus testing scheme today, but calls for millions to take up the offer have been undermined by deep distrust of the government following China's crushing of the city's democracy movement, AFP reports.
The free voluntary tests are part of an attempt to stamp out a wave of infections that began in late June and saw the densely populated city reimpose economically painful social distancing measures.
But the programme has been hampered by a limited response due to the involvement of mainland Chinese testing firms and doctors - and public fears of the harvesting of data and DNA as Beijing cracks down on calls for democratic reform.
Since registration began on Saturday, 650,000 people have signed up - around nine per cent of the city's 7.5 million population.
Virgin Atlantic to restart more routes
Virgin Atlantic will resume flying to Delhi, Tel Aviv, Atlanta, Mumbai and Lagos from London in September as travel restrictions ease, reports Reuters.
Virgin Atlantic is seeking court approval for a rescue deal on Wednesday after creditors overwhelmingly backed the deal last week.
The airline, which has already restarted flights to New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barbados and Miami, said further routes would be added throughout 2020.
Comment: It's not quite Provence, but these motorway services on the M5 are as close as I'm going to get
Everyone in Britain has a favourite motorway service station, and this one is actually worth taking a detour for, writes Sophia Money-Coutts:
Should you ever find yourself down a conversational cul-de-sac with a British person, ask them what their favourite service station is. It’s a terrific topic that many of us have opinions on but, oddly, you never hear discussed much at cocktail parties.
I’m delighted to say that, a couple of days ago, Holly and I stopped at the world’s best service station: Gloucester Services just off the M5. This is a magnificent and, actually, award-winning place that is designed with a grassy roof to blend into its surroundings and has a farm shop inside.
In numbers – Portugal's rising cases
Holidaymakers are rushing to return from Portugal this week, as fears grow that it could be removed from the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ list because of rising Covid-19 cases.
The speculation comes just two weeks after the country was given a green light by the UK government – meaning that FCO advisories were lifted, travel insurance was valid, and returning travellers no longer had to quarantine.
But Portugal’s number of cases surpassed the government’s air corridor threshold on Monday, indicating that it could soon be out of reach once again.
Easyjet sells out flights from Algarve ahead of potential quarantine deadline
Holidaymakers are scrambling to return from Portugal amid growing speculation the UK Government could reimpose quarantine measures for arrivals from the country.
EasyJet has sold out all its flights from Faro - which serves the Algarve - to airports in Britain on Thursday and Friday. Any fresh quarantine measures would come into effect from 4am Saturday.
Wizz Air adds more routes from Doncaster Sheffield airport
Wizz Air UK has announced the expansion of its recently launched base at Doncaster Sheffield airport with the addition of six new routes to Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Lisbon and Eindhoven (the Netherlands).
The new services start on October 22 with flights from £17.99 one way.
This follows the announcement of Wizz Air UK’s based operation at Doncaster Sheffield.
New routes from Doncaster Sheffield
- Doncaster Sheffield – Lanzarote: running Tuesday and Thursday, from October 22
- Doncaster Sheffield - Fuerteventura: running Monday andFriday, from October 23
- Doncaster Sheffield - Gran Canaria: running Monday and Friday, from October 23
- Doncaster Sheffield – Tenerife: running Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from October 22
- Doncaster Sheffield - Lisbon: running Monday and Friday, from October 23
- Doncaster Sheffield - Eindhoven: running Wednesday and Sunday, from October 25
The 16 countries you can visit right now, without quarantine
The Government has given the green light to overseas holidays, but the list of options keeps changing. As of August 24, the FCO no longer advises against trips to 67 destinations, while 66 places can now be visited by Britons without the need to self-isolate on their return.
Confusingly, however, some nations appear on one list, but not the other. In all, there are now 16 places (15 in Europe and one beyond) that appear on both lists, and have minimal restrictions on UK arrivals. Here they are, along with the rules for every other country on the UK exemption lists.
- Faroe Islands (Visitors required to take Covid-19 test at airport on arrival)
- Iceland (Open to tourists, but arrivals can choose to either self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival or take two Covid-19 tests, one on arrival and another 5-6 days later. Children born in 2005 or later are exempt)
- Portugal (Those visiting the Azores and Madeira must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, carried out no more than 72 hours before you arrive, or take a test on arrival and await the results within 12 hours at their accommodation)
- San Marino
- Vatican City
- Cuba (Tourists can enter Cuba on international charter flights arriving directly into Cayo Coco, Cayo Cruz or Cayo Guillermo (served by Jardines del Rey airport); Cayo Santa Maria (flying into Santa Clara airport); or Cayo Largo del Sur only)
Comment: This pandemic has disapproved stereotypes about the 'stubborn' French
Is Covid killing off the French way of life? Some initial evidence is persuasive, writes Anthony Peregrine.
A most recent example: bars and restaurants in Marseille and the surrounding region have been, since late last week, obliged to shut at 11pm. The aim is to curb a rise of Covid-19 cases steeper than elsewhere in France. Merrymakers will, it is argued, stop drinking and quietly leave for home – rather than stay in the bar until the early hours, ripping off masks and reducing social distances to millimetres.
It’s a long shot. The Marseillais have no record of doing what they’re told. That said, the move should leave the legitimate city centre marginally quieter. It could also limit the effectiveness of Marseille’s traditional drive-by shootings.
In other words, it might well be a blow to essential Frenchness – the right to eat, drink and shoot whenever they damned well want. Such blows are apparently accumulating. Hours of eating and drinking have been curtailed elsewhere. The activities are, anyway, made less convivial by wait-staff wearing masks, as if the stuff on the plates were toxic. This is not a good look in the hospitality trade.
Portugal's infection rate tops other 'red list' countries
Once a country's seven-day infection rate rise above 20 per 100,000 residents it reaches the UK Government's threshold for quarantine.
Portugal's seven-day rate is above that of Austria and the Netherlands, both of which are on the travel 'red list'. Travel expert Paul Charles has an update on the latest figures.
Tues update: no countries in the Amber zone for the second day running. Two extremes, above or well below 20. #Portugal remains in the red for second day; most greens relatively stable under 15/100,000. #coronavirus #quarantine @ThePCAgency pic.twitter.com/nh6LNVVizZ— Paul Charles (@PPaulCharles) September 1, 2020
Death of the change fee: US airlines axe charges
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines have all announced a permanent end to flight change fees.
Such charges are added when a passenger wants to make changes to a non-refundable fare - the elimination of these fees marks another change to the way airlines are doing business following the pandemic.
United Airlines announced the end of the fees on August 30, with the changes applying to "all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the US, effective immediately".
Delta and American Airlines followed suit on August 31, announcing that they would be axing change fees, which can be as much as $200 (£148).
Cruise books cruise ship for Mission Impossible filming
Hollywood action man Tom Cruise is understood to have splurged £500,000 on hiring a cruise ship to ensure filming of his new Mission Impossible film can continue.
The seventh edition of the franchise, due out in late 2021, had to stop filming in Venice, Italy, earlier this year when the Covid-19 pandemic began to take hold.
The ship belongs to Norway-based operator Hurtigruten, though it's not clear exactly which of their vessels will be turned into a floating isolated village for cast and crew.
According to Norway Today, MS Vesterålen and MS Fridtjof Nansen have been lent to the production company until the end of August. Hurtigurten resumed ocean sailing in June – the first line in the world to do so – but last month was rocked as an outbreak of Covid-19 affected more than 60 passengers and crew. It subsequently suspended all expedition cruises until further notice.
Venice film festival prepares for opening
The 77th edition of the Venice film festival opens tomorrow, albeit in a somewhat different form to usual years.
Covid-19 restrictions will see the public banned from the red carpet, few film stars in attendance and face masks will be required indoors. The festival runs from September 2-12.
Nepal lifts virus ban for Bahrain royal climbing expedition
Nepal is making an exception to its coronavirus ban on foreign arrivals, with a mountaineering team including a Bahrain prince set to tackle two major peaks, reports AFP.
The country shut its borders in March, including grounding international flights just ahead of the busy spring season, devastating the local tourism sector.
The 18-member party were given special permission to enter Nepal to climb the 26,781ft Mount Manaslu and the 20,075ft Lobuche.
Nepal reopened its mountains - including Everest - in late July for the autumn climbing season, in anticipation that international flights would resume in August. However, a jump in virus infections in recent weeks saw the government delay opening up such flights.
Spain PM concerned at Madrid spike in virus infections
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said that his Government is concerned about a spike in coronavirus infections in the capital Madrid, which accounted for almost half of all deaths reported in the last seven days.
Infections in Spain have surged since the lockdown measures were fully removed at the end of June, especially in Madrid, with the rise in infections often linked to the return of nightlife and social gatherings.
"We are worried about the state of public health and the evolution of the virus in Madrid," Sanchez said in an interview today with news radio Ser.
The socialist premier added that "some" regional governments, which he did not identify, needed to boost their ability to track Covid-19 cases and improve their "strategic capacities" in the fight against the virus.
French see more face mask rules
Face masks are compulsory throughout Lyon and Villeurbanne from today.
Meanwhile, face coverings will be worn in schools across France as children return to school. Teachers and pupils between 11 and 18 will be required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.
Greece extends travel restrictions and flight bans
The Greek Civil Aviation Authority extended the current flight restrictions between Greece and a number of countries until September 15.
The restrictions include flights ban from certain countries or a mandatory negative Covid-19 test for travellers. The following restrictions have been extended:
- Ban on flights to and from Greece and Turkey and to and from Greece Spain's Catalonia airports
- All flights to-and-from Greece and Albania and North Macedonia will continue to land only at Athens International Airport
- All passengers flying to Greece on connecting flights via Bulgaria, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Malta, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Albania and North Macedonia will only be allowed entry upon presenting valid proof of a Covid-19 negative test taken up to 72 hours prior to flying
- No entry of non-EU citizens, except those from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunis, Uruguay, and the U.A.E
- Passengers flying via Israel can only enter Greece with a Covid-19 negative test; maximum of 1,200 travelers from Israel per week and only at the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklio, Corfu and Kos
- The mandatory filling out of the Passenger Location Form (PLF) is extended also until September 15
Watch: Passenger on Tui flight from Zante says she 'did not feel safe'
Tui has launched a "full investigation" into claims that passengers on board were not wearing masks correctly and seemed to "disregard the rules" on a Zante to Cardiff flight.
Almost 200 passengers and crew were told to self-isolate after coronavirus cases were confirmed.
There are now 16 Covid-19 infections linked to flight TOM6215, Public Health Wales (PHW) has announced.
Tourism to Spain down 75 per cent year-on-year
The number of foreign tourists visiting Spain fell by 75 per cent in July from a year earlier, data showed today, as the coronavirus outbreak shaved tens of billions of euros off the nation’s usual income from the sector.
Spain, usually the world’s second-most visited country after France with some 80 million visitors a year, welcomed just 2.5 million foreigners in July, Spain’s National Statistics Institute said.
Foreign holidaymakers spent €14.29 bn (£12.74bn) in Spain in the year to July, a gaping 73 per cent below the €52.36bn (£46.7bn) they had spent by that point last year.
Plunging custom for hotels, bars and other services enjoyed by tourists has contributed to ravaging an economy of which it usually makes up around 12 per cent, as virus cases climbed past 460,000.
Spanish hotels hit hard by Covid and travel restrictions
Telegraph Travel writer and Spain expert Annie Bennett points to the difficulties hotels are facing on the Costa del Sol. The UK reimposed quarantine on arrivals from Spain in late July.
Poland bans direct flights from 44 countries
Poland is banning direct flights from 44 countries, including Spain, Israel and Romania in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the county's Government announced today.
The United States, Malta, Montenegro, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and India are also on the list of countries, but local media reported that Russia and China had been removed from it.
This update follows measures to reintroduce restrictions in the worst affected parts of Poland as the country tries to combat the spread of the virus without enforcing a complete lockdown.
Polish nationals are allowed to fly to and from any country so long as they choose indirect flights through countries that are not on the list, such as Germany.
Cases in Russia pass one million
The total number of coronavirus cases in Russia passed one million today after 4,729 new infections were reported.
That brought the country’s total tally to 1,000,048. Russia’s coronavirus crisis centre said 123 new deaths had been confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Hungary to allow visitors from some countries
Hungary will permit tourists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, if they provide results of a fresh negative coronavirus test, the country said on Monday.
Hungary said last week that it would close its borders to foreigners from Tuesday amid a rise in coronavirus cases. Hungarian citizens arriving back in their country can leave a 14-day quarantine only if they provide two negative Covid tests.
However, after talks with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Monday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban agreed to let Czech visitors who have already booked holidays in Hungary for September enter the country.
The easing was subsequently extended to Poland and Slovakia, Hungary's Foreign ministry said in a statement. Visitors coming to Hungary have to produce a negative Covid test not older than five days.
Ryanair offers one million flights from just £5 in flash sale
Ryanair is offering fares from as little as £5, in a 48-hour seat sale today and tomorrow. The bargain giveaway is available across 1 million seats, with destinations including Barcelona, Milan and Bordeaux.
You'll have to travel light, as the £5 fares include hand baggage only. To avail of a 10kg cabin bag allowance, you must upgrade to a 'Regular' fare – which of course comes at a premium (around £22 extra, each way). For example, flying from Stansted to Thessaloniki, Greece, on September 8 costs just £5 one-way for hand baggage only; or £27.85 with hold luggage.
Departure airports include London Stansted, Gatwick, Luton and Southend, as well as regional Ryanair hubs across the UK – such as Birmingham, Belfast and Bristol. Ryanir currently services 240 destinations.
Just 365 fines issued to public transport users breaking face mask rules
It has been compulsory to wear face masks on public transport in England since June 15. However, fewer than 400 fines have been issued for breaking this rule, according to transport secretary Grant Shapps.
Unless you're exempt remember to wear a face covering 😷 when using transport, including taxis + car-sharing.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) September 1, 2020
Latest enforcement stats around 90% compliance, 115,423 stopped + reminded, 5,277 stopped from boarding, 4,182 ejected or directed to leave a service, 365 fines issued.
Malaysia extends tourist ban
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Friday that the country’s travel restrictions will be extended to December 31.
In a national televised address, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said the recent worrying emergence of new clusters in several states and number of cases also led him to extend the recovery movement control order (MCO).
“Although we have handled the crisis well... in the interest of everyone, the government has decided that the recovery MCO will be extended to December 31, 2020,” he said.
Entry to Malaysia is prohibited for most foreign nationals. Those granted entry are required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of imported cases.
CAA asks Government for powers to enforce airline refunds
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is pressing the Government for greater powers to deal with airlines that do not refund passengers swiftly, reports The Times.
Refunds should be paid within seven days under European law, but many passengers find themselves waiting much longer. At the peak of travel restrictions, airline customers were due more than £7 billion in refunds.
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of CAA, is urging the Government to give the CAA the power to fine airlines, “a move that would be likely to prompt carriers to treat customers”.
Spain sees infection rates start to decline
Spain was struck from the UK's quarantine-free list in late July following a spike in infection rates. The country had continued to see cases climb in the first three weeks of August, peaking at 99.1 cases per 100,000 residents in the seven days to August 24.
However, in the seven days to August 31 this had dropped to 72.4 per 100,00. The graph below gives an overview.
Budget airline AirAsia to start charging customers for checking in
AirAsia will begin charging customers to check in at airport counters, partly to encourage them to reduce physical contact with staff.
Passengers who do not check in via the airline’s website, mobile app or airport kiosk will be charged £3.60 (20 Malaysian ringgit) for domestic flights and 30 Malaysian ringgit for international flights, though some exceptions will apply.
“In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, these self-check-in facilities have become very crucial in minimising physical contact between our guests and staff,” AirAsia Group chief operations officer Javed Malik said in a statement.
Wizz Air expects capacity at around 60 per cent
Low-cost airline Wizz Air expects capacity for the second-quarter at roughly 60 per cent in light of renewed travel restrictions in Europe due to a resurgence in coronavirus cases.
“Further capacity reductions remain a possibility and as a result, Wizz Air may park parts of its fleet throughout the winter season to protect its cash balance,” the company said.
Portugal's rising infection rates
Portugal is at risk of being added to the UK's travel 'red list' when the Government reviews its travel corridors this Thursday. This would mean that, from 4am Saturday, those arriving in the UK from Portugal would have to self-isolate for 14 days.
The restrictions would come into force just two weeks after Portugal's travel corridor was opened (August 22). Infection rates have risen sharply in the country, from 14.7 per 100,000 in the seven days to August 24 to 21.3 in the seven days to August 31.
Two million Britons visit Portugal each year, with the UK providing Portugal's largest number of overseas tourists.
Face masks on planes rule unenforceable, says tourism industry
Cabin crew are unable to force passengers into wearing face masks, members of the tourism industry have warned following an outbreak on a Tui flight where travellers were "disregarding the rules".
Travel chiefs have cautioned that there is likely to be an uptick in the number of coronavirus outbreaks on planes after 16 cases were linked to the flight from Zante to Cardiff.
Steve Freudmann, chairman of the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT), said a change in the rules is now necessary as current measures mean there is “very little” cabin crew can do to get passengers to wear face masks.
"The general consensus in the travel industry is that it's very unfair on tour operators and airlines in asking them to become enforcers,” he said.
What happened yesterday?
- Argentina is 'teetering on the edge of the global top ten for coronavirus cases'
- Auckland has emerged from its lockdown, with face-coverings mandatory throughout the city
- Jersey could be your perfect late-summer getaway...
- Greece is clamping down on island restrictions, since UK passengers tested positive after flying from Zante to Cardiff