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(COVID-19) update – 17- May-2021
Following the recent government announcement, we are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls. We apologise if you are having trouble getting through to us, please be patient and rest assured that we will get back to you as soon as possible.
The uncertainties presented by the pandemic means that it has never been more important to use a travel company that you can rely on and have total confidence in. Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays are committed to providing a personal service, offering you maximum flexibility and the reassurance that your money is protected. Rest assured that you will never lose your money should your travel be restricted. Our ATOL protection and ABTA bonding ensure your money is 100% safe, so you can book with total confidence.
On 7 May 21 the Transport Secretary confirmed that international travel can resume from 17 May 21. A copy of the press notice is copied below and can be viewed here. Red, Amber and Green List guidance is now live on GOV.UK. The government will also be publishing a green watchlist in the future, to provide an indication when a country is identified as a candidate for a changing country.
Currently, Greece has been placed on the Amber list. We expect the next review date will be on 28 May 21, unless the government publish an indication of change of status to the Green List sooner or later than this date. Greece has also embarked on a vaccine immunization program which should result in over the majority of the population having been vaccinated by the end of May of 2021. In fact, many islands have already been fully vaccinated and all those working in the tourist sector including restaurant staff have been prioritized to receive a vaccination regardless of age. This is expected to result in a significant drop in the number of cases and we are hopeful that Greece will be put on the Green List by the next review date.
We will therefore be contacting all affected customers due to depart on or before the
10 June 21 in departure date order. Please be patient with us and we will be in touch.
Whilst we remain pragmatic, we are also increasingly confident that Greece will be placed on the Green List by the next review date and that travel will resume by then and that travel will be considerably brighter.
For holidays departing after 10 June 21 regardless of when booked, will continue to operate as normal unless Greece remains in the Amber list on the next review date.
Contacting Our Customers due to depart on or before the 10 June 21.
We will contact all affected customers about their options. Customers not wishing to travel will be given the following options-:
* Change the same holiday for the same dates in 2022 at no additional cost. (Provided the holiday was booked after 1- Jan -2020) By re booking the same holiday for next year You will have no additional deposit and you will secure the same price as you were due to pay this year (subject to availability).
If the holiday was booked before 01- Jan 2020 there will be a price adjustment, but this will be based on 2021 rates and include a further 5 % early booking discount & loyalty discount where applicable.
* If you chose to continue travelling but on a different date or destination, Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays will do everything possible to help provide you with all the new options. However, if the total of your new holiday is more, then you will have to pay the difference, which will need to be paid when the balance becomes due. If the cost of the new holiday is less than the amount you have paid then we will refund the difference.
* If you cannot decide at this moment in time but still intend to travel with us, Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays are offering a Refund Credit Note equivalent to the money you have paid us, which is fully protected under ATOL bonding and in line with guidance issued by ABTA, guaranteeing that your money is 100% safe. The Refund Credit Note can be used for any of our holidays travelling before the 31 Oct 22, and we will allow you up to the 31 March 2022 to confirm your new travel arrangements.
If you decide not to rebook a holiday with you will still be eligible for a cash refund at the expiry date of the Refund Credit Note. It also retains the financial protection you had with your original booking.
* Requesting a cash refund for the value of the money paid to date. We would urge you firstly to consider a Refund Credit, which is fully financially protected, is refunded if unused and aids our cash flow in these difficult times for the company. Refunds are being currently taking up to 2 weeks to process.
If you cannot decide regarding the alternatives, we will re contact you 14 days prior to your
original departure to find the most suitable resolution.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
We understand that you may have questions about your upcoming holiday with us:
A. The situation regarding foreign travel at present is constantly changing. As such until the next government review date we cannot change or refund any holidays departing beyond 10 June 21.
We hope to know more in the coming weeks regarding the future of holidays to Greece and are requesting more information on the testing requirements. For this reason, we have revised our balance due dates ( see below )to allow more time to see how the situation will develop. As soon as we receive official advice, we will revise our policy accordingly.
Please note If there is no FCDO advice in place and the flight is still operating most airlines will not allow cancellations or changes, in which case the full cost of the flight will be forfeited if you decide to cancel. If you do decide you still want to cancel, please note that even though the deposit paid is usually less than the actual flight cost we will limit the cancellation charge to the deposit paid, except for where we have purchased additional ad hoc flights* specifically for your booking and you will have had to pay a higher deposit than £150 pp.
Q.I am due to travel after the 10 June 21, & my balance is now due what shall I do?
Our booking conditions have therefore been extended accordingly for these holidays unless there is a specific ticketing deadline which falls before due before the balance due date. In this case we will contact you before hand to see how you intend to proceed.
However, we are aware that FCDO advice may be extended and if this is the case, we will continue to review and amend our conditions accordingly.
Q. I am booked to travel, and my balance is not yet due, but I have changed my mind & now want to cancel my booking?
A. Provided we can still fulfil all the elements of your holiday, our standard booking conditions and cancellation terms will apply. If at this point the holiday is operating and you chose not to travel, you will need to cancel your holiday in writing. Depending on when you cancel you will forgo your deposit & incur cancellation charges.
If you have specific reasons for not wishing to travel when there are no FCO restrictions in place, we ask you to contact your travel insurers for information about cover.
Q. When Can I Change or cancel my holiday?
A. At least 14 days before your scheduled departure date in the event of a travel restriction affecting your holiday is in place, our expert team will contact you personally to discuss your options. We will always do our best to help you switch destinations or dates and ensure you enjoy the holiday you deserve. Alternatively, we can often provide a credit note for future use. If none of the alternatives are acceptable a refund will also be available.
Under the following circumstances, you are entitled to change or cancel your holiday:
* The UK FCDO advise against all non-essential travel to your destination.
* Borders to your destination are closed.
* You are required to quarantine on arrival at your destination.
* The destination country is either on the Amber or Red List You are required to quarantine for 10 days on your return to the UK.
In the event of a travel restriction affecting your holiday, our expert team will contact you personally to discuss your options. We will always do our best to help you switch destinations or dates and ensure you enjoy the holiday you deserve. Alternatively, we can often provide a credit note for future use.
If none of the alternatives are acceptable a refund will also be available.
Q. What happens if the airline has cancelled the flight that is on my original booking confirmation?
A. If the airline has cancelled the original flight that is on your booking, it is our responsibility to source an alternative flight option for you, where possible. This could mean a change in the airline operating the route. The cost of the alternative flight will not be passed to you. If we are able to source an alternative carrier on the same flight date departing from the same or a nearby airport and the flight departure time is less than 12 hours from your original booking, this is not regarded as a significant change. In these circumstances, your booking is still valid.
Additionally, if the destination airport has been changed and the transfer time to your holiday destination is not more than 2 hours longer than your original booking’s transfer time this is not regarded as a significant change. For example, if Paxos is your destination and Preveza airport is substituted for Corfu airport, or if Pelion is your destination and Volos airport is substituted for Skiathos airport, this is not regarded as significant change. In this event, we will of course be responsible for arranging your onward transfers and ensure that these operate as smoothly as possible.
A significant change occurs when.
• We cannot source a replacement flight.
• A change of outward departure time or overall length of arrangements by more than 12 hours.
• A change of UK departure airport except between: 1) The London airports: Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted and London City; 2) The South Coast airport: Southampton, Bournemouth and Exeter; 3) The South Western airports: Cardiff and Bristol; 4) The Midlands airports: Birmingham, East Midlands and Doncaster Sheffield; 5) The Northern airports: Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds Bradford; 6) The North Eastern airports: Newcastle and Teesside; 7) The Scottish airports: Edinburgh and Glasgow.
If there has been a significant change, we will contact all affected customers about their options, including how to amend bookings to a later date or an alternative destination. We will be in touch as soon as we can. Please do bear with us and thank you in advance for your loyalty, understanding and patience.
If there has been a significant change your rights are as follows -:
• Accept the alteration.
• Choose to take an alternative holiday with us (if it is more expensive you must pay the difference, but if it is cheaper, we will make an appropriate refund), or
• (in the case of a major alteration – see below) Cancel the holiday and receive a full refund of the monies paid.
• A change of outward departure time or overall length of arrangements by more than 12 hours.
Q. Can I still travel whilst Greece is Amber?
A. While travel from England, Scotland and Wales is permitted to the 12 countries on the Green list, we are hopeful that Greece will be added to the Green list by the next review date.
In the meantime, the UK Government is currently advising people not to make non-essential trips to locations on its Amber list, which covers popular destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. However, the guidance is expected to be ignored by some holidaymakers.
EasyJet, British Airways and TUI have both said that they will operate holidays to countries classified as amber, provided Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) does not advise against “all but essential” travel.
On this basis we have been contacted by several customers who are prepared and willing to travel against Government advice.
Where customers are fully aware of the UK Government advice, the quarantine and testing requirements on their return to the UK and still wish to travel. Provided we can find a suitable flight that meet your requirements we will therefore make arrangements to facilitate your holiday.
Please see: Current Requirements for Travellers & What We Are Doing To Keep You Safe.
Q. Is Greece a Safe Destination to go on holiday?
A. Greece has also embarked on a vaccine immunization program which should result in over the majority of the population having been vaccinated by the end of May of 2021. In fact, many islands have already been fully vaccinated and all those working in the tourist sector including restaurant staff have been prioritized to receive a vaccination regardless of age. This is expected to result in a significant drop in the number of cases and we are confident that Greece will be put on the Green List by the next review date.
In addition, Greece was one of the only European countries to have successfully operated holidays for the whole season during the summer of 2020. The experience gained from welcoming millions of visitors during 2020 was invaluable. Greece’s enhanced safety measures, now tried, tested, have proven to offer the highest levels of protection and reassurance. This experience has inevitably placed Greece in a very favourable position for being the best choice for your 2021 holiday.
For more details regarding what to expect and how we are keeping you safe please click Here.
Q. What Do I need to be insured against COVID-19?
A. It is essential you have the correct travel insurance to cover you both for any Covid-19 related issues as well as providing you with cover for any other medical conditions.
Q. Are EHIC cards still valid?
A. UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. Once your EHIC has expired, you will be able to replace it with a GHIC. You can get a provisional replacement certificate (PRC) if you need treatment abroad and do not have a card. Most people can apply for a GHIC online, but some people need to apply by post. Beware of unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them. An EHIC or GHIC is free of charge. Your card will normally arrive within 10 days. You can apply here-: https://www.ghic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do
Q. Is my UK driving licence valid post Brexit for Greece?
A. Yes. From 1 January, most UK drivers will still be able to use their normal driving licence to drive in EU countries. There are some exceptions and what is called an International Driving Permit (IDP) may be needed. An IDP can be bought at Post Offices for £5.50. The exceptions are people who only have a paper licence, not a photocard one, as well as those with licences issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man.
The above information is correct as at 17- May21. We reserve the right to change our policies in light of new information or travel restrictions.