Here is the British Airways refund policy on the US / Schengen Zone travel ban – and how the ban will work

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Luckily for us, as Rhys is in Australia on his £185 Qantas deal this week, we were able to get some outline coverage of the US / EU travel ban into our 6am email.  It’s now time to take a closer look.

What is the British Airways policy for anyone holding tickets to the United States?

You should note that this policy has already been revised once during the time it took to write this article, so you should be wary about relying on this guidance.  However, the 11.45am update here says:

If you have a British Airways ticket, for travel on BA or a codeshare operated by a partner, to the United States for travel by 11th April, you can:

change it for another date between 12th April and 1st August (no change fee but the fare difference will be due) or

accept a British Airways travel voucher (the small print of this voucher is not yet known)

As of 11.45am, you CAN ask for a change of origin and destination

We will add in the Virgin Atlantic response when we have it.

US travel ban from EU / Schengen countries

What has Donald Trump announced about travel to the US?

Here is the policy in summary:

If you have visited any of the 26 Schengen Zone countries in the last 14 days, you are banned from entering the United States

The only exceptions are for US citizens and their immediate family members, Green Card holders and holders of certain specific types of visa.  However, these passengers will also face new restrictions.

These restrictions will be imposed from tomorrow, Friday 13th March, and will initially last for 30 days

As the UK is not in Schengen, UK residents may continue to travel to the US unless they have visited a Schengen Zone country in the past 14 days

For absolute clarity …. don’t think that the US authorities will not know that you have visited a Schengen country in the past 14 days.  Ever since 9/11, the amount of data collected on your flying patterns is substantial and freely shared.

The ban is based on which countries you have visited.  It makes no difference, at all, which country issued your passport (unless it is the US!).

US travel ban from EU / Schengen countries

What are the 26 Schengen Zone countries?

Here are the 26 countries in Schengen.  Unless you meet the US citizenship or residency requirements, you cannot enter the US if you have been in any of these countries in the 14 days before you fly:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czechia / Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Ireland, for clarity, is not in the Schengen Zone.

Here is the official statement:

 Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

US travel ban from EU / Schengen countries

Will aircraft continue flying between the US and Schengen Zone?

Almost certainly yes.

Even inside the Schengen Zone, it is technically ‘business as usual’ for US citizens and residents.  That said, there will obviously be a large drop in willingness to travel.

It is also important to note that flights for US citizens and residents will only be allowed to return to “approved airports” that can screen passengers on arrival and direct suspected cases to a designated quarantine centre.

It is clear that all US flights will need to be suspended to airports which are not on the “approved” list – but at the moment, there is no such list.

At a guess, because US residents are more likely to fly US carriers and vice versa, I would expect the European carriers to be harder hit and more likely to cancel flights.  Finnair has already suspended all flights to the US.

US travel ban from EU / Schengen countries

How will the ban impact British Airways and Virgin Atlantic?

We are now into speculation territory of course.

BA may be harder hit.  British Airways has a huge amount of transfer traffic into Europe, whilst Virgin Atlantic does not due to its lack of a short-haul network.  These transfer passengers will now fall away, unless they are US citizens or residents.

I would expect further announcements during Thursday from both airlines.

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  1. I get the usual “we cannot change this online” I’d I try to change my upcoming booking. Possibly as it contains BA and AA flights.

  2. Alexis Johnson says:

    Do you know if you need to call to do the changes/voucher? I have a flight to LA on 27 March and online I just see the normal taxes only refund when I try and cancel.

  3. Hingeless says:

    What about all the Cargo that BA have, surely they will still need to fly that around?

    I hope Rhys is enjoying Australia, it’s a lovely sunny day here today in Sydney 🙂

  4. Changes to BA flights “The fare difference will be due”. Do you get the difference back if the ‘new’ fare is cheaper though? (is that the comment re a voucher?). Not in my experience with BA at least in normal times. Contrast that to American Airlines who, even in ‘normal’ circumstances say they refund the difference (vs the fare implication point only working in the airline’s favour) albeit in a voucher form.

  5. Siobhan Nagar says:

    Is this BA change policy also applicable to flights from UK to US?

  6. Barry cutters says:

    Does anyone know the rules for flight refunds if you are self isolating due to new rules from boris yesterday . My brothers wife is self isolating from today and due to fly to kul on Monday , onwards to Perth . 2 bookings ba – and Malaysian for 2nd hop .
    Didn’t book with ba direct annoying my or would have been able to cancel I’m sure.

    The both have regular insurance , platinum Amex insurance and silver status

    • Surely this will just be a standard claim on travel insurance as unfit to travel?

      BA not announced any special measures for people self isolating, as they wouldn’t for any other illnesses.

      The fare rules will determine if any refunds are due if you cancel, or if you can change dates etc? I doubt it was booked in the new ‘booking with confidence’ period?

  7. AA tweet update

    Continue operating flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), New York City (JFK), and Miami (MIA) to Barcelona (BCN), Madrid (MAD) and Paris (CDG) for up to seven days
    Suspending flights from Charlotte (CLT) and Philadelphia (PHL) to Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), MAD, Munich (MUC) and Zurich (ZRH) on Friday, March 13, as CLT and PHL are not government-approved gateways
    Suspending service from Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina (RDU) to London (LHR)
    Reducing service from JFK, DFW and Chicago (ORD) to LHR
    Delaying the start of some seasonal routes to early May

  8. Hi

    Just wondering if the statement below is for people travelling to US from Europe or would it also cover those travelling to US from LHR? I’m due to travel to LAX on 23rd March and wondering if I could be given a travel voucher.

    If you have a British Airways ticket, for travel on BA or a codeshare operated by a partner, to the United States for travel by 11th April/accept a British Airways travel voucher (the small print of this voucher is not yet known)

    • Copied from BA’s Covid-19 page.

      ‘United States

      We continue to fly to and from the USA from the UK.

      Following US Government restrictions on travel to the USA from mainland European countries (Schengen countries), if you’re booked to travel between mainland Europe and the USA up to 11 April 2020, you have the option to rebook to another British Airways flight for later travel for any date up until 1 August 2020 or receive a voucher for future travel.’

      So flights from UK not covered currently, article needs updating IMO.

  9. BlueHorizonuk says:

    CDC-Approved Airports

    Atlanta (ATL)
    Boston (BOS)
    Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
    Detroit (DTW)
    Newark (EWR)
    Honolulu (HNL)
    Miami (MIA)
    New York-JFK (JFK)
    Los Angeles (LAX)
    Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
    Seattle (SEA)
    San Francisco (SFO)
    Washington-Dulles (IAD)

  10. Delta reducing their transatlantic flights (excluding 4 UK&I routes) to just three per day:

    Atlanta to Amsterdam
    Atlanta to Paris-Charles De Gaulle
    Detroit to Amsterdam

    The atlantic airspace is going to look rather empty next week

  11. Maxine Chivers says:

    URGENT Please help me

    I booked Ryan Air London to Barcelona and Norwegian Air Barcelona to Miami. Leaving 4th April and home on 19th April.

    Even worse these three flights were booked with Avios Points: Miami to Antigua, Antigua to Tobago and Port of Spain to Miami.

    Then we are taking a train from Miami to New York and then flying New York to London on Norwegian Air.

    • Cancel the Avios flights to get your points and taxes back.

      Ryanair and Norwegian will only refund you if the flights are cancelled, which admittedly seems likely.

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