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29 Jan 2020

Flights to China cancelled as Foreign Office warns against travel - what are your travel rights?

What you can do if your outbound or return flight has been affected by the measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The government has warned against travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak, prompting British Airways and other airlines to cancel flights to and from the country.

Passengers due to fly to China today, or in the coming days, can expect their flight to be cancelled.

If the cancellations affect you, we'd recommend contacting your airline directly for advice.

The UK Foreign Office currently recommends avoiding travel to China unless it's essential, to limit the risk of catching and spreading the virus.

As an official warning against travel has been made, passengers whose flights have been cancelled should be refunded.

British Airways is one of the airlines which has cancelled outbound and inbound flights to the country, as well as Cathay Pacific and United Airlines.

  • You can keep up to date with our latest advice on the coronavirus outbreak over on our coronavirus advice hub.

Advice for travellers in China

British citizens currently in China and who were due to return to the UK on a cancelled flight should contact the British consulate in China for advice. You can contact the consulate from China on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600.

We wouldn't recommend booking an alternative flight home until you've been advised by your airline or the consulate.

The Foreign Office said it is making plans to bring British travellers back to the UK on Friday 31st January.

How long the flight suspension will be in place is unknown. BA said it will reassess the situation on Friday.

Which? Travel Editor Rory Boland, said: 'British Airways' decision to cancel flights to and from China is understandable following the Foreign Office travel warning.

'Passengers are however reporting that there is a clear lack of information about what this means for those currently in China. For those due to fly home with the airline in the coming days, this is unacceptable and will cause distress.'

Passengers travelling to or from China should regularly check their airline's website and social media channels for the latest updates.

What about future travel bookings to China?

For other travel plans that have been affected, such as hotels and tours, it's best to contact whoever you booked with for advice first.

You should be offered a refund or the chance to rebook because the government has advised not to travel to China at this time.

You might also be covered by your travel insurance - check the terms of your policy to see what you might be able to claim for.

We'll be updating this story as new information comes in.