The United States Government has just announced that the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland will be added to the United States travel ban.
Non-US passport holders / non-US residents will not be allowed to enter the United States if they have been in the UK or Ireland within the last 14 days.
The ban will kick in at 4am GMT on Tuesday (midnight Monday US EST).
If you wish to travel to the United States, you need to get yourself onto a plane during Sunday or Monday to land before midnight Monday EST.
US citizens and their immediate family members, as well as Green Card holders and holders of certain types of visa, are not impacted by this ban.
However, they will only be allowed to fly to 13 specific airports where they will be screened on entry and, if necessary, sent to a quarantine centre near the airport.
The ban will run until 11th April alongside the Schengen Zone ban.
That said, given the current estimates for coronavirus infections, it seems very unlikely that the ban will be lifted until after the peak of infections in May or June.
This is, clearly, a disaster for British Airways and especially Virgin Atlantic. It is very easy to see Virgin Atlantic grounding its entire fleet now. It is also possible that we could now see cuts of nearer 75% than the expected 50% to the British Airways network (by passenger volume) next week.
It is not certain that ALL British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights to the US will be cut. There will be US citizens to return home and cargo will still need to be shipped. The vast majority of services will be dropped, with a virtual 100% certainty of cancellations where the destination is not one of the 13 quarantine airports.
What will happen to my British Airways flight to the USA?
BA has deleted the webpage which showed travel agent guidance in real time. The BA Travel Trade website is now the best place for accurate information.
REFUNDS ARE NOT ALLOWED. You can, however, ask for a 1-year BA travel voucher under the ‘Book With Confidence’ refund policy which we outlined here.
For anyone with a ticket for travel up to 11th April, you can rebook onto a flight between 12th April and 1st August.
There are no change fees but you must pay any fare difference. You are allowed to change your destination airport if you wish.
However …. don’t take this policy too seriously. If your flight is cancelled, which is likely to happen for the vast majority of people, you are legally entitled to a full cash refund. You need to hang on for a few days until British Airways decides which flights will be cut.