Britons have been given a glimmer of hope as a plan which could allow holidays abroad to resume has been backed by the government’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
The possibility of an ‘Air Bridge’ between the UK and other countries where the coronavirus outbreak is well under control could be implemented to allow tourism to restart.
Although there have been reports that the government is still undecided about the idea, it’s one step that could offer a lifeline to those of us who are still hoping to get some kind of summer getaway abroad.
But what is an ‘Air Bridge’, and what does this mean for our summer holidays abroad? We have answered your questions…
What is an ‘Air Bridge’?
An ‘Air Bridge’ is a proposed scheme that would allow UK travellers to travel between popular European countries that have a low or manageable coronavirus infection rates.
Countries in Europe are currently making visitors isolate for 14-days upon their arrival and the UK plans to introduce a similar strategy as well. However, this ‘Air Bridge’ or ‘travel corridor’ could waive the 14-day isolation period and allow tourists to travel freely and without any restrictions.
Which countries would the UK ‘Bridge’ with?
As it stands, there is no formal agreement in place, but rumours of partnering with Greece and Portugal have made the headlines this week. Both Greece and Portugal have low infection rates so they could be a safe destination for Brits to visit.
There were also talks that the UK, France, and Ireland could come to a reciprocal arrangement, whereby nationals from the three countries could travel freely and without having to isolate upon arrival. However, this agreement has also not yet been implemented or confirmed by the government.
The USA has also suggested plans to join ‘Bridges’ with the UK. However, as the USA has a high infection rate, this bridge may take a little longer to build.
What does the ‘Air Bridge’ mean for British holidaymakers?
I’m sure we can all agree that the idea of an ‘Air Bridge’ gives us hope that life may slowly be returning to normal – and that we still might be able to go on our summer holiday after all!
However, customers who decide to take advantage of this opportunity may have to weigh up the risk of a second coronavirus wave resulting in the cancellation or curtailment of their trip, if there is any withdrawal of the ‘Air Bridges’ agreement at short notice.
For example, say you booked a cheap deal to Greece after the agreement was put in place, and then Greece had an increase in the number of infections and had to go back into lockdown, it is unlikely that you will be covered by your travel insurance to cancel your trip. This is because most travel insurance providers now exclude claims related to the coronavirus. So, people will need to think carefully about their financial protection and whether they’re prepared to take a chance. We would also recommend contacting your travel insurance provider if you do have any concerns or questions around this.
Of course, customers do have the option to book a trip through a tour operator as package holidays tend to have more financial protection – although it’s worth checking with your travel agent exactly what protection this may be and what would happen in the above scenario.
We would also recommend that customers consider booking through companies that have been treating customers well over the last few months, as many people have faced a lot of difficulties when trying to get their money back from certain tour operators.