In light of the latest Covid-19 travel bans, travel companies like the Flight Centre Travel Group have been working around the clock, meeting with key international airline partners and stakeholders in order to resume international air travel as soon as possible.
Here are five frequently asked questions that the travel group has been receiving regarding current international travel, with information and answers that may assist:
If I have a booking for travel in December, what do I do?
Contact your dedicated travel expert or travel manager, who will be able to assist you. Travel teams are assisting customers who have been immediately affected by newly implemented travel restrictions.
Higher call volumes and increased turnaround times may be expected and although the situation is rather frustrating, some patience and kindness could go a long way.
What happens if I want a refund?
According to Flight Centre, whether a refund is permitted or not would be dependent on the policy made available by a supplier. Your travel expert will be able to assist you with the relevant information.
Can I remain in a destination until my holiday is complete?
Some travellers may already be in a destination that has decided to implement the travel restrictions or travel bans from South Africa. Check both the government and supplier requirements which may have an impact on your travels.
Generally, once a destination’s government has made a decision with regards to restrictions or travel bans, the airlines flying in and out of the destination might alter their schedules.
If you are already in a destination which has now imposed a travel ban or travel restrictions, have a look at your options for returning to South Africa.
If you are visiting South Africa and need to return home, it’s vital that you check your current travel options. The best way to do that is to contact a travel expert as they receive regular updates regarding the situation.
It is also important to keep in mind that although suppliers may communicate certain dates around their schedules, the situation is exceptionally fluid and subjective to change at any given time. Within the current climate, we need to recognise that a certain amount of inconvenience can be expected and that travels may be interrupted.
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What happens if my travel is interrupted?
The best way to deal with this situation is to contact a travel expert. They will be able to assist you in re-booking your travels as per the policy communicated by the respective supplier responsible for your travel service.
How long will the travel bans be in place for?
Many suppliers or government websites have communicated a date with regards to how long the travel ban or restriction will be in place for.
This, however, is subject to change. Some may have noted that the travel ban or restriction is in place until further notice and pending a review.
The best thing to do in the current situation, is to stay in touch with your travel supplier, who will keep customers and the community informed via newsletters, websites and social media channels.
Over the weekend, the Maldives closed its borders to seven African nations, including South Africa, with travellers who arrived over the past two days having to spend fourteen days in quarantine.
Ireland, another popular destination with South Africans, has now implemented a new visa requirement for South Africans, with visas only being accepted if they meet specific emergency or priority criteria.
You can find additional information regarding which destinations are still open and which airlines are still flying on Flight Centre’s list, which is continuously being updated.
According to Andrew Stark, Flight Centre Travel Group’s managing director, travellers who are currently stranded overseas are receiving first priority, and then travellers with upcoming travels.
He also urges South Africans to get vaccinated.
“It’s a much firmer and balanced approach; the country can’t afford further lockdowns as we know. Thank goodness domestic travel is still available. Let’s hope things move and Dirco [Department of International Relations and Cooperation] now does a job of unravelling the mess and chaos we saw on Friday and that international travel resumes for all South Africans, specifically for vaccinated South Africans,” he says.