Tour operators cancel flights to Mexico Mexico holidays cancelled as swine flu kills 152

28 April 2009

Tour operators Thomson, First Choice and Virgin Holidays have cancelled all flights to Mexico following the outbreak of swine flu, which has so far killed 152 people.

Thomson and First Choice, both owned by TUI, have also taken the decision to fly home to the UK customers who are currently on holiday in Mexico.

Health and safety

In a statement TUI said: ‘Whilst we do appreciate that this news may be a great disappointment to customers, we hope they will also understand that their health and safety is of paramount importance to Thomson and First Choice.’

Free amendment or refund

Customers have the option to make a free amendment to their booking or to cancel their holiday and receive a full refund without incurring cancellation costs. Alternatively, customers can go to their insurer to claim money back on any cancellation.

Virgin will discontinue travel to Mexico until May 5 while Thomson and First Choice will make a decision later today on whether to continue flights to the country after 29 April.

BA still flying

British Airways has not cancelled any of its flights to Cancun but has said that customers due to fly to Mexico in the next seven days can cancel their flight, re-book it for a later date or change their destination at no extra cost.

Raised threat alert 

The decision to cancel flights came after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Mexico. The move followed the World Health Organisation (WHO) decision to raise its threat alert after evidence of increased person-to-person transmission of the swine flu virus.

According to Which? Holiday holidaymakers who have their holidays cancelled can claim compensation for any money lost. Those affected should contact their tour operator, airline and travel insurance provider to identify who is liable to pay out compensation.

However, if holidaymakers travel to Mexico and fall ill it is unlikely that their insurance policy will cover them for any treatment or repatriation costs.

Rochelle Turner from Which? Holiday said: ‘For those customers who have not booked a package holiday one problem could be that the cancellation insurance offered in many policies is quite limited. We would advise that people should try and ensure they have coverage to match the value of their holidays.’

For more information on what to do if you are booked on a package holiday to Mexico log onto the Abta website and read their Q&A section.

For more information on how to get the best travel insurance read the Which? Travel Insurance report.

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