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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)

  • Matt says:

    How long does the ban go on for? Do you know if travel insurance covers us being denied entry? We booked everything separately and supposed to leave in 41 days. It was my first ever upper class flight and it was on the new a350. I’m devastated!

    • meta says:

      41 days is a long time! Sit and wait.

    • Jack says:

      Check your travel insurance very carefully. I’ve got a trip to America in June with Virgin/Delta and I rushed to take out Virgin Money travel insurance last night before they stopped taking new policies as it was the only one covering pretty much every eventuality if things do get cancelled. MSE had a good article on every insurer – beware, a lot of them are changing the policy wording to not cover coronavirus anymore (not sure on the legality of this?)

      • Anna says:

        ? If you took the policy out yesterday surely it won’t cover you for travel you’d already booked?
        Also they can do what they want in terms of what they will cover.

        • Jack says:

          Why wouldn’t it cover me for travel I’ve already booked…? Admittedly I should have bought insurance as soon as I booked but I put it off at the time as 2 months ago, no one knew it would get this serious. My last point was that many insurers had said they WOULD cover claims to do with coronavirus, but have now back tracked and say they WON’T, I’m guessing because they’ve realised that it’s just going to be too expensive to cover everything. Surely there’s a touch of false advertising there is people have bought policies on the basis they would be covered?

          • Andy says:

            You’ve taken out cover after knowing about Coronavirus. It’s like asking would you have booked a holiday today, given the circumstances.

          • Jack says:

            @Andy of course I have but so are most people? Plenty of insurers have stopped offering new policies now because of the fact so many are now taking out policies to cover existing bookings. As long as the policy wording specifically states you are covered (which mine does), I don’t see what the issue is?

          • Shoestring says:

            the issue is that known problems/ risks are nearly never covered by insurance unless you have specific wording/ assurance that it will be covered

            everybody knew about coronavirus so 99.9% certainty your insurance won’t cover cancellation due to the US ban

            however: did you pay on a *credit* card (not charge card)? – if so, Section 75 will probably cover you

          • Andy says:

            You may very well be covered but just saying don’t expect an easy ride. They may look at why you took out the policy only now coronavirus has become so established.

          • Anna says:

            Because then no-one would take out insurance until just before they travel. You are clearly not acquainted with Martin Lewis!

          • Anna says:

            Did you tell them you had already booked your travel?

          • Jack says:

            @Anna as I said, I should have purchased as soon as I booked but initially, I was covered by a different policy and then circumstances have changed, hence why I had to take out a new policy

            @Shoestring I didn’t, I paid on my Gold charge card – so I’d be hoping for Amex to at least help out a bit (which could be unlikely, I know)

          • Jack says:

            @Anna yep, they knew it had already been booked

          • Shoestring says:

            @Jack, you may have got away with it, seems a very/ overly-generous policy but at least you checked it out & good luck to you. By heck, if I were CEO I’d be sacking the Risk team for exposing the company to huge payout/ losses: [If you are due to travel to a country/area listed in the table below and your trip was booked before the date shown below and your policy was purchased before the date shown below:] – and then we get dates that ignore known knowns about Covid-19 and its rapid spread.

            Crazy – anybody sane running Risk should have made coronavirus (& closure of borders/ cancellation of flights) a non-insurable risk a long time ago

          • Anna says:

            You might be in luck then, but I note that it only refers to FCO advice and not travel bans by individual countries. Good on you, though, if you manage to prove Martin Lewis wrong!

          • Shoestring says:

            now go screenshot that page! 🙂

          • Will says:

            You don’t have to take out insurance the minute you book to be covered, you have to take it out before anything goes wrong (so of course best practice is as soon as you book)

            If the terms say your covered if FCO advise against travel, and they were not advising against when you took out the policy then you’re likely fine.

            The hole you might get stuck in is if FCO don’t advise against travel but you are denied entry. In that instance you probably won’t have any terms entitling a claim but the time your took it out at wouldn’t make any difference.

            Having got caught up in the typhoon in Japan last year I found out just how terrible travel insurance can be.
            Between 5 of us we had 7 insurance policies and only 2 covered missed connections due to a typhoon.

          • Jack says:

            @Shoestring @Anna thanks ahah! I spent pretty much all of yesterday afternoon trawling through every insurer’s policy wording and Coronavirus advice (I think I can recite it all from memory now!) and the only 3 covering most things were Aviva, Direct Line and VM (I was actually shocked how much they were covering and I couldn’t believe my luck). Both Aviva & Direct Line stopped offering policies a day or 2 before and I got really lucky as I bought my policy with VM about 2 hours before they stopped offering new ones. In no way is it going to be easy but then I doubt much is over the next 6 months or so…

          • Andy says:

            Brilliant policy Jack. Looks like you’re covered! Great stuff!

  • Laura says:

    Karma for BA. I think they’ll survive given the vast “fuel surcharges” they’ve accumulated over the years. What will this mean for the one world cartel running transatlantic flights?

    • Jack says:

      Think that’s a little bit harsh – BA are hardly the only airline to be charging fuel surcharges…

      • marcw says:

        I believe he refers to fuel surcharges on award tickets.

        • Jcp says:

          Either way, it’s not the fault of the staff who’ll lose their jobs

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yet these are the same people feeling smug when they cancel with 24hrs notice for £35. How much money is BA making on what could very much Now be an empty seat

          Flexibility comes at a cost.

          • Anna says:

            Not feeling smug, but people book award flights at least in part because they know they can do this. This might not be the case for much longer though.

  • Patrycja says:

    I have an Easter trip booked and want to check if I’ll be impacted. EDIN to Santiago, Chile on 3rd of April, that is still fine. Next day off to Lima, Peru business class with LATAM. Then LATAM economy from Lima to LA on 17th of April. SAN Diego to EDIN on 21st of April.

    Do we know when the ban is finishing? I would rather continue with the trip if I can

    • Anna says:

      I think it’s 30 days at the moment but the problem is it could be extended at any time. Also it’s been reported that Trump is considering travel restrictions to California which has been badly hit, if it’s that San Diego you’re returning from.

      • meta says:

        As a side note, you’ve done really well to preserve your trip to the Caymans!

        • Anna says:

          So far meta, so far! I think they will follow the US example soon, they have no particular love for the British.

      • Patrycja says:

        So it finished the day before we are due to fly…it’s going to be a waiting game.

      • Lyn says:

        And San Diego, unfortunately, is not on the restricted list of 13 US gateway airports.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      Did you even read the article? “It is not clear how long the ban will run. ” – in bold.

      • Patrycja says:

        Thanks for an unhelpful comment. This article is being updated over time. ‘it’s not clear…’ paragraph has only been added.

        • Jack says:

          +1 for this. I was going to ask if anyone had any ideas as its not been reported but as you said, that “it is not clear…” paragraph was only added just now

    • ChrisBCN says:

      There is the situation as it stands today, and the situation as it will be at the time. We can only predict what the situation will be at the time, but I’m thinking there is a 95% chance you are not going anywhere. I’m sorry! But best to know now so you can make plans.

    • Heathrow Flyer says:

      Let me just check my crystal ball…

  • Russ 😷 says:

    On the up side the 737Max revival is probably over.

    • Doug M says:

      Maybe this buys time to fix things. Of course demand will have collapsed.

  • Jody says:

    Awesome, not!

    Currently stuck in Santiago, our travel agents are trying to sort flights for us. Been trying all day with no luck.

    Hardly any direct flights, the majority seem to transit through USA or Madrid!

  • Tfinch says:

    I was due to fly LHR to JFK with Virgin on Tuesday lunchtime. I know there’s no concrete answer but I’ve not much experience with cancelling flights/getting refunds. Will I most likely be able to get a refund through Virgin as they currently mention a refund for anyone currently unable to travel to the US or will I need to go down the insurance route?

    • AJA says:

      Try speaking to Virgin first. Also look at your booking online, it will be cancelled shortly, if not already.

    • ColinC says:

      Me too, vs137. 12:30 … booked via Expedia ( with an internal delta on same booking a few days later) guess that’s add to the fun !

      Can’t really take a rebooking later in the year , so need Virgin/ Expedia or NWide insurance to cover me

      • AJA says:

        Colin You’re going to need to speak to Expedia as that is who you booked with and will be the one rebooking or refunding you. Be persistent with them as they can take a bit of pushing but I think you’ll be ok.

      • JJ says:

        Colin, I was looking at my N/wide cover today as I have to pay a small upgrade fee and it was time to pay. After 55 mins I finally got through but it gave me plenty of time to read the policy and it was clear that they will not pay out if we are “denied entry”.
        I’m due to travel in a weeks time and had a flight time change notification from VS at 1433 just before the US announcement. My flight has been canx and I’m now on a much later flight. That has obviously now been superceded by the US Govt. I think unless VS refund the money its more likely that it will be the credit card that pays up rather than N/wide. Not interested in a rebooking as we had very nice cheap UC seats and the price difference will probably be horrendous. Will see what VS say tomorrow…

  • RichT says:

    Does that mean that US citizen will still be able to fly to the UK then return or just US citizens that are already in the UK allowed to travel?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes I believe so because currently there’s no ban on either them leaving the USA or on them entering the UK

      • Shoestring says:

        yep countries like Aus and US let their own citizens carry on as normal (if they like)

        whereas I think Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic are actually closing borders in & out including for their own citizens – which sort of makes more sense if there’s an epidemic going on

  • Nate1309 says:

    Can we assume that family out there will be flown back if in the USA at present. My in laws are in Florida and not due to fly home for another week on Virgin. MIL is UK citizen but FIL is Italian (lived in UK for 50 years). Would you suggest they try and fly home before Monday?

    • Neil Spellings says:

      The ban is entering the US, not leaving it. The UK haven’t announce a ban from travel from the US yet.

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