Airlines have cancelled flights to Italy and other parts of Europe since officials announced an increased risk from COVID-19.
Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways have reduced their services to Italy since the major outbreak there has resulted in some towns being put on lockdown.
Hundreds of flights to other destinations including France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have also been cut as increasing numbers of passengers decide not to travel.
Affected passengers are entitled to rebook alternative flights free of charge, or cancel altogether and get a refund.
- You can keep up to date with our latest advice on the coronavirus outbreak over on our coronavirus advice hub.
- Coronavirus outbreak: advice for travellers
Holidaymakers avoiding travel
The cancellations are a result of airlines reporting a drop in demand and a significant number of passenger no-shows.
EU health officials upped the virus risk warning from moderate to high as the number of reported cases in Italy and other European countries has been rapidly increasing.
Many holidaymakers and ‘non-essential’ travellers are now abandoning their travel plans.
BA has also reduced its number of flights to New York in response to fewer bookings. Its flights to China are still suspended.
What flights have been cancelled?
- British Airways has cancelled flights between the UK and parts of Europe and the US. Flights to Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland, as well as New York have been affected.
- EasyJet has said it will be grounding some flights, mainly to and from Italy, from 13 March to 31 March.
- Ryanair has cancelled around 25% of flights, mainly to and from Italy, from 17 March to 8 April.
- Virgin Atlantic: the airline has suspended flights between London Heathrow and Shanghai with cancellations until the 19 April.
- Wizz Air: has cancelled all flights from London Luton to Bari between 11 March and 2 April 2 and has made changes to some of its other routes to Italy.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, so check with your airline before travelling.
What to do if your flight is cancelled due to COVID-19
All of the airlines have said affected customers will be contacted directly. Alternative travel can be arranged, or flights will be refunded.
Although you’ll be entitled to your money back for the cost of the flight, many passengers with cancelled flights may not be eligible for cancellation compensation.
As long as an airline gives 14 days’ notice of any flight cancellations, it isn’t obliged to pay out.
Most of the cancellations recently announced have been within the 14 days required notice.
What if you decide not to travel?
If your flight isn’t cancelled, but you’re worried about the risks of travelling and want to cancel, ask your airline if it will allow you to rebook.
Although airlines don’t have to refund or rebook you in this case, we’ve heard some are allowing passengers to postpone travel in light of the situation, so it’s worth checking.
If you have travel insurance that covers this kind of event, you might be able to claim back the entire cost of your trip.
More questions? Take a look at our Q&A on your travel and consumer rights during the coronavirus outbreak.