Virgin joins Tui and Thomas Cook in cancelling holiday bookings

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Tui planeImage source, Getty Images

Virgin Holidays has become the latest travel firm to cancel holidays after new coronavirus lockdown restrictions were imposed.

It said schedules will be cancelled until mid-February, joining similar moves by Tui, Jet2 and Thomas Cook.

The companies said customers would be contacted about their future travel options during what Virgin described as "these extraordinary circumstances".

Thomas Cook said it will call customers to offer refunds or rebooking.

Tui said it was "cancelling all holidays in line with international travel restrictions". It added that said customers due to depart from England, Scotland and Wales would be contacted to discuss options.

The company said that customers due to travel from an English airport before mid-February, or from a Scottish or Welsh airport up to 31 January, would not be able to do so.

Those customers will be contacted "in departure date order to discuss their options", Tui said, which include rebooking "with an incentive", getting a credit note, or a full refund.

"Customers currently overseas can continue to enjoy their holidays as planned and we will update them directly if there are any changes to their holidays," Tui added.

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Image caption,
Tui cancelled a flight to St Lucia on Tuesday

In a statement, Virgin said: "In line with the new national lockdown restrictions we have reviewed the upcoming holiday schedule and will be cancelling all holidays up to and including 14 February 2021.

"To simplify the options and to provide immediate peace of mind for customers whose holidays will no longer be going ahead, we're automatically providing a digital voucher for the value of their trip, redeemable up until 30 September 2021, which they can use to rebook a holiday, departing any time before 31 December 2022."

Virgin added that customers "may also request a refund".

Meanwhile, Jet2 said it was extending "the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 11 February 2021".

A spokesman said: "For customers due to travel from 12th February onwards, we will provide another update closer to the time."

Thomas Cook, which became an online-only travel brand in September after its earlier collapse, said: "Following the announcement of the latest lockdown, we are calling our customers to offer refunds or move their holidays to a later date.".

Chief executive Alan French said: "We've seen over the festive period that customers are looking ahead to the summer and beginning to book in earnest for those important summer weeks in the sun.

"I am sure that after many more weeks spent at home - and with the progress of the vaccine rollout - we will see an even bigger demand for people to escape to the beach this summer."

Last month, a number of countries suspended routes to the UK due to the rapid spread of a new variant of coronavirus.

The blanket travel ban to the EU was then lifted, but with rules varying from country to country. The suspension of flights between the UK and China remains in place.

Last year Tui was investigated by competition authorities after complaints that it had not given prompt refunds.

British Airways Holidays, part of Britain's biggest airline, said it would be offering refunds if customers are no longer allowed travel.

The firm said in a statement: "We are contacting all affected British Airways Holidays customers following the announcement of new national lockdown restrictions.

"Customers due to depart by 12 February 2021 will be offered a refund for their holiday. Our teams continue to monitor the situation and update our policy accordingly."