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Suspension of UK flights : What you need to know as a passenger

Below are answers to all the important questions regarding suspension of UK flights, tests required, quarantine and tickets for passengers flying back to India before the December 22 midnight ban.

After the emergence of a new coronavirus strain which seems more dangerous than before, governments globally are taking steps to restrict traveling across countries. All flights from the UK to India and vice-versa have been put under strict securities and will soon be suspended to avoid any spread of the virus. Indians in the UK are looking out for any available flight to fly back to their home country.

What should you immediately do?

The UK flights will be suspended from 23.59 hours, December 22, 2020. So all passengers who have their flights charted for 22nd December need not worry. Passengers must recheck the schedule for their bookings as the airlines—Air India, Vistara, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic that run flights to the UK may have revised their schedules.

What if you were scheduled to travel from December 23? 

Passengers can take a domestic flight back to their destination after reaching India as the domestic aviation sector remains unaffected, as of now.

Can you go to another European with whom India has the air bubble travel arrangement, and fly back to India

Unfortunately, you can’t. The government notification on December 21 strictly prohibits airlines, operating from a non-UK city, from permitting any passenger from Britain to fly to India, after December 22.

What should you keep in mind before flying back to India?

  • Passengers from the UK will have to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival in India.
  • If found positive, the passenger will have to undergo quarantine as per guidelines issued by the government.
  • Note this: All expenses will have to be borne by you.

Will flights from the UK to India carry connecting flight passengers?

No. Thanks to the air bubble arrangement with the UK, no connecting flight (say from Africa or China) can come to India. Origin of destination has to be the UK.

Your flight is canceled. What about rescheduling the ticket?

Both Air India and Vistara allow one-time rescheduling without any of the usual charges. You can reschedule the travel to any date till December 31, 2021.

For any change thereafter, usual charges on cancellation, rescheduling, and fare difference will apply.

What about a refund?

IndiGo, which was operating flights to Kuwait, is refunding tickets.

For the UK flights, the refunding policy is a bit unclear as of now. A Vistara spokesperson said details are still being finalized. Air India also, is yet to finalize its refunding policy.

But travel industry executives say both the airlines may allow refund in 90 days.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic though let passengers claim refunds. British Airways has, however, reiterated that it will process refund only for those tickets directly booked with them. If booked through an OTA, please contact your agent.

Virgin Atlantic allows passengers to reschedule till December 31, 2022 and also accepts refund request for bookings done directly with it.

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