On Saturday evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed the nation of a new strain of COVID-19 detected in the UK which he says originated in Kent. According to reports, the ”new variant” may be more transmissible than other strains.
As concerns began to grow, nations around the world made the decision to cancel all travel in and out of the UK for varying amounts of time.
It is a move which CEO of the PC Agency Paul Charles says will have major “consequences for the UK”.
The travel expert said the UK was “being cut off” from other countries, which will impact both travel firms and would-be passengers.
Posting to Twitter, he said: “As #UK is being cut off, @ThePCAgency estimates 250,000 travellers affected outbound and inbound up until 1st January; losses of £400million in terms of lost bookings, refunds and crisis costs dealing with the situation. And those are conservative figures.”
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He continued: “The consequences of bans on #UK transport are immense – cargo backlog leading to Pre-Xmas goods/gifts not arriving; thousands of people stuck overseas; aircraft grounded; and just days before possible #Brexit.
“These are challenging times for airlines and operators.”
Many airlines and travel operators have already announced cancelled services.
Eurostar has shared updates on its Twitter regarding travel to France, Belgium and Amsterdam.
Twitter users at Heathrow described the scenes as “chaos”.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said: “The latest restrictions are going to reignite the issue of airlines continuing to operate flights but failing to refund customers who are unable to travel abroad.
“The terms set down by the CMA are clear – it expects customers to be given the option of a refund when they can’t travel because of lockdown laws. While a few airlines continue to do the right thing by customers, despite facing financial difficulty, others continue to break the rules, and should face strong action from the regulator as a result.
“If you are unable to fly and have not been offered a refund, email your airline saying that you expect one and complain to the CMA. Then, if you are forced into a voucher, you may still be able to claim your money back at a later date.”