Following the announcement that South Africa has been added to the UK travel red list once again, due to the recently discovered Covid-19 variant – B.1.1.529 – the Flight Centre Travel Group has pulled all its Black Friday deals.
The group has cancelled all Black Friday deals to focus on assisting customers who are affected by the UK government’s announcement that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe will move back onto the country’s red list from midday on today.
The UK announced on Thursday that there would be a temporary ban on all direct commercial and private flights from these countries until 4am on Sunday, 28 November, while they reassesses B1.1.529.
“Our number one priority is to assist our customers at this time,” says Andrew Stark, Flight Centre’s group MD.
“To wake up to this news and be in this position again is simply devastating. We envisage there will be a domino effect with other countries following suit as we have seen before. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for our country to achieve an 80% plus vaccination rate so that we can proactively put an end to these situations unfolding.”
ALSO READ: Govt on high alert as B.1.1.529 variant becomes dominant in SA
Stark says they are aware that many of their customers were looking forward to Black Friday shopping, but believe that the responsible thing to do, given the current uncertainties, is to cancel the Black Friday sale so that their experts can focus all their energy on customers who have been affected by the discouraging news.
Flight Centre Travel Group has confirmed, though, that all Black Friday specials that have already been booked, will still honoured.
“We are in constant contact with our suppliers and will communicate on our channels as news unfolds,” Stark said.
From 4am on Sunday, travellers from South Africa will need to book a quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests before they arrive in England.