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UK and Ireland added to the United States travel ban

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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.

UK and Ireland added to the United States travel ban

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.

Comments (390)

  • Genghis says:

    OT email just now from hotels.com.

    Hotels.com® Rewards – your membership status

    We know our Silver and Gold members’ travel plans may have been affected and this may impact their membership status upon renewal. Therefore, if your renewal date is between 1st Feb – 31st May 2020, we will extend your membership status for a further year. It’s one less thing for you to worry about

  • BJ says:

    OT: Germany introducing border controls now too.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-51897069

  • Boi says:

    Insurance related: I am currently in Canada- need to fly back tomorrow (instead of Thursday) as my daughter is not well. If I can’t get through to Amex or HSBC insurance would it still be ok to book a flight and claim when I arrive in UK?
    (I am assuming curtailing trip coz our 12 year old was sick will be a valid reason? We had left them with my sister)

    • Anna says:

      I hope your daughter’s ok, Boi – what a worry for you. Most policies give some sort of cover in the event illness of close family members, this is a link to HSBC FAQs if it’s any use, sorry if you’ve looked already!
      https://www.hsbc.co.uk/insurance/products/travel/faqs/

      • Anna says:

        About the 3rd question down seems to confirm this. It doesn’t specify but they would probably want a doctor’s confirmation of the illness.

        • Joe says:

          definitely – get a Dr note ASAP (usually needed within 24hrs of noting illness or similar – so time accordingly !

      • BJ says:

        +1, wish your daughter will be well soon.

        • Boi says:

          Thanks all for the well wishes. She was actually admitted in hospital so we have that discharge letter. I tried unsuccessfully to call KLM to change flights but no joy. We have now elected to book a new flight completely.

          • Harry T says:

            @Boi
            I hope she gets well soon and insurance covers your flight costs. I’m sorry I can’t provide any detailed advice on the matter.

          • Lady London says:

            Good luck @Boi, do what you have to

          • Lady London says:

            Hi @Harry T what seats did you get?
            After most posts today and yesterday I am beginning to see the point of just a slightly less weighty problem… 🙂

          • Harry T says:

            @Lady London
            Thanks for asking! Very helpful ticket counter lady gave us some of the best exit row economy seats on the lower deck, thankfully.

  • Linda says:

    Can any one clarify what you will get back, from what Rob has indicated you will only get a voucher valid for a year from original date.

    We booked using companion voucher and Avios as soon as flight released , we were due to travel in a week today to Vegas.
    .we may not be able to use a voucher a full refund would be the best, but cannot see BA doing this as it would run into millions of pounds of refunds, (possibly bankrupting the company).

    Also seat selection paid in business,

    • Rob says:

      Avios tickets are under Avios rules – all cash, Avios and voucher back less £35 each. No vouchers.

    • Anna says:

      If it’s an Avios booking you can cancel up to 24 hours before travel and get all your Avios and cash back – it is being reported that if you do this by phone you now don’t even lose the usual £35 pp cancellation fee. Companion vouchers seem to be being extended but again you have to ask for this to be done by phone. Reports vary as to whether seat selection fees are being refunded but I have definitely had them refunded in the past. Hope you make it to Vegas another time!

      • Gill says:

        I have an avios booking with 241 voucher on Thurs 19 march but option to cancel online has been removed. I can’t get through on the phone. This is the first trip I’ve done in 8 years due to anxiety. My stress levels are through the roof 😞

  • Harry T says:

    Apologies for the OT:
    @BJ
    Thanks for the suggestion of finding a ticket office. The angels at the Melbourne ticket counter put us in row 66 for both legs of our journey. Sadly I was not offered a free upgrade to premium economy on the upper deck but I’m happy with some of the best economy seats on the A380 lower deck. Qantas customer service seems a lot better than BA.

    Thank you to everyone else who offered advice and support. I know my situation was hardly the most important or impactful problem travellers are having right now.

    As an aside, we were offered an opportunity to bid for an upgrade to business class for our Qantas flights from Melbourne to Sydney. Our paltry offer of 175 AUD each was accepted. The Melbourne domestic business class lounge is exceptional. The WiFi is super fast and they have an excellent barista coffee bar. Sadly we will miss the opening of the alcohol bar and the spice bar at midday.

    • Anna says:

      So glad your journey worked out, it shows how valuable it can be to be able to get hold of a human to speak to (as I found out last year!). I’ve only flown Qantas once, but considering it was MAN-LHR-BKK-SYD-WLG in Y with a 4 year old (before I discovered HFP), it was almost pain free due to the incredible service.

      • Polly says:

        And esp how valuable the hfp community really is.. helpful to the last.

      • Harry T says:

        @Anna
        I don’t have kids but that does sound like a rather fraught journey with a little one! Glad it worked out okay.

    • Lyn says:

      That’s really good news. Glad you found someone to help in Melbourne. In my experience Qantas customer service is usually empathetic, helpful and practical. Especially in Melbourne. And also when you really, really need help.

      The new (or rather renovated) Qantas business lounge in Melbourne is supposed to be a real improvement, with a lot more natural light, since I last tried it. The barista coffee though is a signature feature of all Qantas lounges, even the more basic Qantas Club, and a very welcome one at that.

      I don’t think your business upgrade up to Sydney would give you access to the International Business lounge in Sydney, but it can’t hurt to ask if you are still in the lounge in Melbourne, or on board the flight or when you get to the International terminal in Sydney, or you could try all three.

      • Harry T says:

        @Lyn
        I was very impressed with the Melbourne business lounge. Very light and comfortable. Separate entrance to the Qantas Club too. Not sure we will get into Sydney international lounge, alas. Good thought though!

  • Harry T says:

    Semi relevant OT:
    Australia is enforcing a 14 day period of self isolation for any international travellers arriving now. This will be punished severely if not followed. There is talk in the national press of 50,000 AUD fines and possible imprisonment. Arriving international travellers are likely to be asked to sign a form at immigration agreeing to the 14 days of self isolation.

    • Polly says:

      Harsh, but probably necessary.
      Have a good flight back, your patients need you! Some adventure, eh? You never know you might get upgraded at the gate.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Polly. Not looking forward to the next few months working in the NHS! An upgrade would be nice but I don’t think I’ll ever be that lucky.

  • Lady London says:

    Hey @ BJ !!
    90 days music offer is back on Amazon uk home page.
    IIRC you mentioned you were waiting for the 90 to come back?

  • Suzi Roberts says:

    My flight has been cancelled but BA is not offering a full cash refund. On ‘manage my booking’ the request refund button takes you to a voucher request form. Any advice? Thank you