For many of the 16 million people that have been plunged into Tier 4, travelling has been cancelled.
Millions living in the affected areas in London and South East of England cannot mix households with a “stay-at-home” Tier 4 order in place.
These moves have been made in response to a new strain of coronavirus that is thought to be 70 per cent more infectious.
But what if you had already booked your tickets?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Can I travel if I live in Tier 4?
The Government website reads: “If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must stay at home. You must not leave your home to travel unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.
“If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.
You may not travel internationally if you live in one of the areas that have been put under Tier 4 restrictions.
However, there are some exceptions, such as for work, education, medical treatment, caring responsibilities and urgent compassionate reasons, for example visiting someone who is terminally ill.
I don’t live in Tier 4, can I still travel?
For those elsewhere in England, the Prime Minister has asked residents to consider if their travel is really “essential”, and that travel for leisure is not advised.
If you live outside Tier 4 but have a flight booked from an airport that is within Tier 4, you can still travel, subject to airline cancellations and any restrictions at your destination.
The government said: “If you live outside a Tier 4 area you may still transit into or through a Tier 4 area to travel abroad if you need to, but you should carefully consider whether you need to do so.”
Of London’s main airports, this only applies to Heathrow and Luton, as Stansted and Gatwick are in Tier 2.
What if I have a holiday booked?
Of course many people across the region will have organised trips abroad.
So what are your rights if you now cannot go on that much-needed holiday?
Well, different companies have taken different approaches. Here’s what we know so far.
Tui cancelled all flights departing from Luton airport from 20 to 30 December.
A company spokesperson said: “We will be in direct contact with these customers to offer them a full refund or the option to amend their booking.”
They have also confirmed that those who live in Tier 4 and are supposed to go away in the next two weeks can cancel and receive a full refund.
Jet2 are to allow Tier 4 residents to postpone their trips if booked as a package holiday.
If you have booked your flights separately and they are cancelled you will be entitled to a full refund. If they are not cancelled you may be able to postpone or get a credit note.
EasyJet is offering refunds for customers in Tier 4 up to December 30.
They said: “Impacted customers in Tier 4 areas have the option of transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or receiving a refund.”
Passengers on British Airways are allowed to cancel and are being offered a voucher instead.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) believes that anyone who cannot travel because of government regulations should be able to get a refund, but this is not always the case in reality.
What about train tickets?
Consumers who have already booked train tickets for a now cancelled trip should check with operators ahead of time to seek a refund.
Operators have mostly been offering refunds throughout the pandemic where rules have meant people are unable to travel, but refunds policies for the latest changes are yet to be set out. Which? consumer rights expert Adam French said: “These new restrictions will cause massive travel disruption and chaos, leaving many peoples’ plans in tatters.
“If you’ve forked out on money for a train ticket and have to stay put you should be able to cancel the trip and get your money back.
“Rail operators should be as accommodating as possible by allowing passengers the flexibility to use tickets or issuing them refunds if they can’t travel at another time.”
However, some train operators may argue that normal rules seem to still apply, which means if you have an advance ticket you can change it, but you cannot get a refund.
(Article source: Inews)