Brexit And Your Bookings
Will you be affected?
There has been a lot of talk lately about Brexit and the effects that a “no deal” exit from the EU could have on flight and holiday bookings, including the grounding of flights between the UK and EU, and 17 other countries.
We’d like to start by quoting an IAG (BA’s parent company) spokesman, who was recently featured in The Sun: “We’re confident that a comprehensive air transport agreement between the EU and the UK will be reached,” he said.
"It’s in the UK and Europe's interest to have a fully liberalised aviation agreement."
We’re hopeful that some sort of agreement will be reached on all aspects – including air transport.
Having said that, here’s is a quick summary of what all the fuss is about…
What happens if there’s no agreement?
- UK and EU currently have airspace agreements which give airlines the legal right to fly to, from and through one another’s skies. In airspace agreements with many other countries, including the USA, UK airlines are part of those countries’ agreements with the EU.
- If there’s no air transport agreement, UK airlines technically will not be allowed to fly anywhere affected by the lack of agreement, and those countries’ airlines wouldn’t be able to fly to the UK.
- Flights would be cancelled and many bookings lost. (Most airlines haven’t sold tickets for April 2019 and beyond yet, but this will begin soon.)
- ATOL and the Civil Aviation Authority are part of the EU, so no agreement would mean losing out on the extremely valuable protection and support that they provide.
The Sun reassured readers, saying: “Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insisted there was no chance of failing to strike a deal on air travel even if we don't have a free-trade agreement.” However, businesses clearly have concerns.
Thomas Cook changed its terms and conditions in October to prepare for post-Brexit cancellations if no agreement is reached.
If flights are grounded from April 2019 for this reason, it would refund airfares but people would not be able to claim at all for any other costs, such as unused hotel bookings or delays caused by ‘airspace closures’.
The Times reported on 18 October that many UK airlines were preparing to place notices on their websites warning customers that flights after March 2019 could not be guaranteed, and that compensation would not be paid if planes are grounded.
Some smaller EU airlines are said to be looking into opening subsidiary offices in the UK in order to operate as UK airlines and get around the problem, and there were rumours a while ago that some UK airlines would be opening EU bases, so even in a worst-case scenario there are a few solutions on the boil.
Will this affect your travel insurance?
If your trip starts and ends before March 2019, it won’t be affected by Brexit at all – whether there’s a deal or no deal.
For travel after Brexit, we simply don’t know. At this stage, everything post-Brexit will depend on agreements reached on aviation, and on other issues such as health care. We won’t know more until the agreements are finalised, but we will share relevant information as and when we receive it.
For now, may we suggest putting those passports and open airspace options to good use, and taking a nice pre-Brexit break in Europe? With the appropriate travel insurance, of course.
We’ll also have fingers crossed for an agreement that keeps future travel options open!
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