EU ban on all non-essential travel and more recent changes
The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to:
Europe: Albania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Madeira and Porto Santo (Portugal), Romania, Serbia
Asia: Myanmar, China, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, North Korea, Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan (South Korea), Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam
North America: US
Central America and the Caribbean: Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname
Africa: South Africa, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Malawi, Morocco, Sierra Leone
The FCO is advising against all travel on cruise ships for passengers aged 70 years and over or those with high-risk conditions. Some destinations are placing bans on cruise ships docking or passengers disembarking, including Australia, Chile, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro and Portugal.
Remember the best sources of information are the FCO website here for travel warnings and the official IATA page for entry restrictions. Don’t forget to try your travel insurer for a refund in these circumstances if you want your cash back rather than a refund.
My advice is – unless you are travelling to be with your family and are prepared to be stuck for several months or go into quarantine do not start travel now unless it’s domestic. Counties and closing down and flights cut with alarming speed. If you get stranded most insurance policies only cover up to a month away although hopefully in the circumstances they would extend them. I would definitely not consider flying anywhere with an FCO advice issued against it as it invalidates most insurance policies.
BA lounges closing at T5
I have been surprised to see BA keeping all its lounges at T5 open with so few passengers. When I was there today, the Galleries First was almost deserted. I have now been informed that Galleries Club North and T5B lounges will close from tomorrow 17 March. The main lounge complex with the First, Club and Concorde lounges will remain open.
Heathrow Terminals 3 and 4 to close?
Over the last 24 hours, I have heard from two completely different sources working at Heathrow that they are due to close terminals 3 and 4 shortly. This will leave all flights to operate from T2 and 5. It will take some time to reconfigure the systems and advise people but I would not be surprised to see it happening within the next week. How it will be arranged remains to be seen. Logically you would put all oneworld in T5 – AA, Cathay, Finnair, Qatar could move to T5 alongside BA and Iberia. This would leave the remaining Star Alliance and Skyteam in T2. Obviously lounge arrangements would have to change, but it wouldn’t take much if airlines cooperate.
I expect to see an announcement in the next week or so.
British Airways US flight cuts
British Airways are not making formal announcements except internally abut specific route cuts. We do know they are making a 75% cut across their route network fro April and May 2020. Once the flight plans are adjusted we should get a better picture.
Willie Walsh has said he expects there to be low demand until well into the summer.
Only US citizens and permanent residents are allowed to travel from the UK to the US. This option is only available on routes to a “designated” airport where they will have health screening (which is not going well – 7 hour waits in a crowded room sounds like a breeding ground for coronavirus)
The designated airports are:
· Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta (ATL)
· Boston Logan (BOS)
· Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
· Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
· Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)
· Daniel K Inouye International Airport, Honolulu (HNL)
· Los Angeles (LAX)
· Miami (MIA)
· New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
· Newark Liberty (EWR)
· San Francisco International (SFO)
· Seattle Tacoma (SEA)
According to London Air Travel, the non approved gateway flights have been cancelled from 18 March:
London Gatwick: Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa
London Heathrow: Austin, Baltimore, Charleston, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Jose
If you are affected by the route cuts or want to know more about cancelling or changing your booking, have a read of this article.