Passengers are experiencing frustration after being told their flights to Italy will not be refunded after more than 300 cases of coronavirus have been detected in the country.
Over the past few days, 11 people have died in the country causing concerns for holidaymakers who plan to travel to the country shortly. Despite an increase in cases, British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have said they will not be refunding flights for those who no longer wish to travel as services are ‘operating as normal.’
easyJet released a statement on their website regarding coronavirus in Italy saying:
“We are aware that the Italian authorities are taking some additional measures in response to cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
There is currently no change to advice for airlines, so our flights are operating as normal and standard terms and conditions on tickets continue to apply.”
On Tuesday 25th February 2020 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its advice to all but essential travel to:
“10 small towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo)”
Italian authorities have placed the 11 towns in Lombardy and Veneto in quarantine to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Meanwhile, British tourists returning from affected areas have been told to self-isolate; those travelling back from the north of Pisa have been advised to stay at home for 14 days should they develop the flu-like symptoms associated with the virus.
Pupils who arrived back in the UK following skiing trips in Italy have prompted the shut-down of four schools in England and Northern Ireland. Both staff and students were advised to stay home upon returning from said trips.
The FCO are advising those returning to the UK from Northern Italy to ‘consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions to take.’
For those due to travel to Italy over the coming days, it’s worth noting that travel insurance policies will not offer cover for ‘disinclination to travel.’ Airlines are not obligated to refund passengers for ‘extraordinary events’, however, if the FCO updates its advice to all but essential travel to the entire country, passengers will be entitled to a refund or to be re-booked/re-routed onto another flight.