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Travel Updates

To help direct your query as efficiently as possible, please refer to the key information below;


Understanding The New Normal For Travelling


Note to customers

As the ability to travel overseas to enjoy holidays finally becomes possible again, there are some important points that we feel we should bring to your attention. The following information is provided as a general guide as in not specific to your booking more general observations and points to consider. Specific information relating to the travel and accommodation that may be provided in your arrangements may be available and a good starting point is the websites for those suppliers, that may be airlines, cruise lines or hotel websites.

The world is opening but is quite different.

Whilst we are all excited that the ‘new normal’ is ahead of us, it is important to point out that your experience of travelling will likely be quite different to the last time you went overseas. From airports to transfer coaches, taxis locally and the facilities you enjoy in your hotel, there will be many changes, some slight and to be expected some more noticeable. You may be required to carry face masks and wear them at different times, for customers who have pre booked specific seats on a plane for example, you may find that the airline is adopting an approach to take some seats out of service to manage social distancing. In the hotels you may find the meal arrangements include stipulations to pre book to manage the number of people gathered together.

Whilst all of these alterations will have some impact on your experience, this may be the ‘new normal’ and whilst we appreciate this may change how you feel about your holiday, most Tour Operators don’t class this as something that entitles customers to cancel their arrangements without forfeiting cancellation charges.

We do understand that some of our customers may prefer to defer their arrangements to a later date and we will do whatever we can to accommodate this. Charges incurred in any change are likely to be made and the terms of the various Tour Operators and travel suppliers would be discussed with you before agreeing to proceed.

When we have organised a package we follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice, most Tour Operators do the same, and we observe their guidance when we determine if arrangements can go ahead or not. The travel entry requirements are listed on each countries specific page and we urge all customers to keep checking that information when making their decision around travelling and how safe it is, we cannot give you the answer and each customer must make their own decision based on the various information available, we will however ensure we signpost to the information to help you make our calculated decision.

Both these website may be useful:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice This is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, which since the Coronavirus outbreak began has been offering British nationals advice. Initially with advice to some countries saying that you shouldn’t travel unless it is essential (you have to be the judge of what is essential) and later to advise “against all but essential travel” to any overseas destination. This will slowly reax and each country will have its own specific guidance.

https://reopen.europa.eu/en This is the European Unions website which has more information compiled by the EU from the data provided by each member state. If you are travelling to a non-EU Destination this site won’t be relevant. 


Full list of countries exempt from COVID-19 travel quarantine- updated 24th Aug


Coronavirus (COVID-19) - your questions answered

We've been working hard to ensure your holiday can go ahead as smoothly and safely as possible, in-line with official government guidelines. 

Your health and holiday experience are our top priority, so rest assured you're in safe hands. 

Click here to get FCO advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

Important COVID-19

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice. We advise all customers to visit the official gov.uk website here

How will Covid-19 change your journey?

Before you travel

  • Please do not travel if you are displaying any (high temperature, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell).
  • Check the status of your flight with your airline as some schedules are still subject to change.
  • Please only travel to the airport if you have a flight booked. Only passengers travelling should come to the airport, non-flying members of the public are not permitted inside, unless they are escorting a passenger that needs special assistance (further information can be found below).
  • Make sure you arrive at the airport with a suitable face covering, as these must be worn throughout your journey, including on airport busses and in the terminal building. Additional masks can be purchased at most airports.
  • To help people keep their distance from each other and limit the number of people in security at any one time, some airports are giving you the opportunity to book a dedicated slot. Please check with your Personal Travel Agent who will be able to advise on this.
  • Make sure you check the latest government advice regarding travel to your destination and any requirements for returning passengers, such as quarantine.


Staying safe at the airport*

To help reduce the risk of infection and to keep you and airport staff safe, a number of additional measures have been introduced at some airports.  Social distancing won’t always be possible in an airport environment, but please keep a safe distance between you and other people whenever possible. The following other measures are likely to be in place to keep you safe:

  • You must keep your face covered on all parts of the airport campus, including on airport buses, so please bring a face covering with you. Your airline may not permit you to fly if your face is uncovered. Additional masks will be available to purchase inside the terminal(s).
  • Please clean your hands regularly. This can be done with soap and water. Additional hand sanitising stations have also been installed throughout airports.
  • Some airports are trialling the use of temperature screening technology which you will see on the entry to security.
  • There will be enhanced cleaning regimes in place throughout airports – you may see these teams in operation.
  • In some cases  protective screens have been installed at various locations throughout the terminals, including check-in desks and security.
  • Some airports are trialling the use of UV cleaning technology on escalators to keep handrails as clean as possible.

    (please note information may vary by airport)

Special assistance

  • If you have booked special assistance, please head to the special assistance area within the airport. Airport staff will be equipped with protective clothing and wheelchairs are cleaned thoroughly after each use. Those requiring special assistance are permitted to take one other non-flying member of the public with them to help them get to the assistance point.

At security

  • The rules on hand luggage have not changed, so please ensure any liquids are in containers of less than 100ml (including hand gel) and placed in a clear plastic bag before entering security. Laptops and tablets should also be outside your bag. However, in light of COVID-19 some airlines have changed their cabin baggage policy so please check with your airline as there is nowhere to store left luggage.
  • Please keep your face covering on as you pass through security, although you may be asked to remove it if you are selected for an additional search.
  • Please be prepared for things to take slightly longer at security as the airport staff adapt to new ways of working.

In the departure lounge

  • Please observe any signage regarding queueing systems which may be in place and keep your distance from others where possible. This includes seating areas and in the toilets.
  • Whilst this will vary by airport please prepare for limited shops to be open and limited availability of food and drink inside the terminal.


Getting to and from the aircraft

  • Airports will be trying to limit the number of flights which require a bus journey between the terminal and the aircraft. However, where this is not possible, they will be keeping bus journeys as short as possible and limiting the number of people onboard. Please remember to keep your face covered at all times.


Onboard your flight

  • Whilst every airline will vary slightly in their onboard protocols, you should be prepared for there to be no or limited onboard service. Aircraft are already fitted with HEPA filters, the same as those used in hospitals, replacing cabin air every three to four minutes.  The cabin will be thoroughly disinfected daily, which provides surface protection from viruses that lasts for at least 24 hours.  As your Personal Travel Agent I've got lots of handy further information regarding the different airlines you may be travelling with. Please speak to me further about this.


Returning to the UK

  • Please keep your face covered in the terminal except if asked to remove it by Border Force officers.
  • Remember to keep your distance as far as possible when collecting your baggage and leaving the airport.
  • Please leave the terminal as soon as you have collected any baggage. If you are being picked up, please arrange to be met at the car in the designated area.


For further information specific to your airport please use these links

Manchester Airport Click here

Birmingham Airport Click here

Gatwick Airport Click here

Heathrow Airport Click here

Luton Airport Click here

Stansted Airport Click here

Bristol Airport Click here

Cardiff Airport Click here

East Midlands Airport Click here

Leeds Bradford Airport Click here

Liverpool Airport Click here

Newcastle Airport Click here

Glasgow Airport Click here

Edinburgh Airport Click here



The impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the travel industry and the suppliers who provide services to create a package holiday has been extensive.

There have been necessary changes to how Co-operative Travel issue refunds to customers for their cancelled holiday arrangements. During this time refunds are taking longer than usual, and we thank you for your patience.

If you have booked a package including an element of transport, such as a flight, train, cruise, ferry, it is important that you know that your money is safe and you are financially protected from the financial failure of any of the suppliers, or indeed ourselves as your Travel Agent, or Organiser.

If your booking is cancelled because the FCO advise against travel, you are entitled to a refund, but you may need to be patient with the unfolding refund process. It will be dependent upon the tour operator on your booking.

When we are a travel agent (You’ve booked your holiday through Co-op Travel and we sell you a holiday that is fulfilled by another supplier or tour operator. i.e. Jet2 Holidays, TUI)

We operate mainly as a travel agent, where we sell other companies’ holidays in the capacity of an agent. This means we can offer to you the consumer a wide range of travel arrangements rather than being limited to just offering one company in the main. When we collect money from you, it is paid over to the travel organiser. If the arrangements are cancelled and a refund is applicable, we must receive the money back from the supplier in order to hand it back to you.

What is a Refund Credit Note (RCN)?

A Refund Credit Note entitles you to rebook a holiday at a future date or receive a cash refund at the expiry date of the note.  It also retains the financial protection that you had with your original booking.
If your original booking, for example a package holiday with flights, came with ATOL financial protection, the RCN will still provide this protection.  If your original booking came with ABTA financial protection, for example a cruise holiday or other package holiday including rail or coach travel, the RCN will still provide this protection.

Refund Credit Notes may look different depending on your travel provider, but they should all comprise the following:

  • An expiry date, which is the date to which your money is protected, and is based on your travel company’s financial protection arrangements. You are entitled to re-book or have a cash refund by this date at the latest (if your original booking was for a package holiday).
  • The value of the Refund Credit Note must be equal in value to the amount you paid for the original booking (or less the amount your travel provider has offered you as a part cash refund).  
  • The Refund Credit Note must include the original booking details and reference.
  • The Refund Credit Note must not include any other amount offered as a rebooking incentive or other offer. Any such offers must be documented separately and are not covered by any scheme of financial protection.
  • You should retain all previous booking documentation including booking confirmations, ATOL Certificates where appropriate and proofs of payment.


Co-op Travel have offered me a Refund Credit Note instead of a cash refund. Should I accept this?

Thousands of customers have already amended and rebooked their holiday or have received a Refund Credit Note from their travel provider. If your original holiday was covered by a financial protection scheme (e.g. ATOL or ABTA), your Refund Credit Note is financially protected by ATOL or ABTA (whichever covered your original booking) in the event your travel business fails. It is important that your Refund Credit Note includes certain things, please see more detail on this there (see What is a Refund Credit Note above). If you are uncertain about accepting a Refund Credit Note, then talk to your travel provider about your options. ABTA can also provide information on these.

As a long term member of ABTA, Co-op Travel follow the rules for Refund Credit Note. If you have evidence that an agent is not following the above rules, in the first instance please contact our Customer Support team. customersupport@cooptravel.coop

If I accept a Refund Credit Note, will I loose my right to a cash refund?

No. A Refund Credit Note preserves your right to a cash refund, which can be redeemed at the latest at the expiry date of the note.

Your refund and the Package Travel Regulations (PTR)

The complication with the scale of the current refund position is that the travel organisers are also waiting for the funds back from airlines, hotels, transfers and tour providers. If the amount of refunds that are due were all paid over, within the 14 days as set out in the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), there wouldn’t have been enough time for the funds to have moved around from company to company.

Ultimately someone would fail in the chain and there would likely be a domino effect leaving customers without refunds and having to make a claim against the protection schemes that are in place.

Is a holiday voucher the same as a Refund Credit Note?

No. A holiday voucher is different to a Refund Credit Note. Holiday vouchers, gift vouchers and other discount vouchers are not protected by the schemes of financial protection. 

When can I redeem my Refund Credit note for another holiday or a cash refund?

Your Refund Credit Note should include an expiry date which is based on your travel company’s financial protection arrangements, or a date sooner than this.  

The reason the dates will vary by provider is because some companies will have financial protection in place for their holidays for a longer period than others. The majority of holiday bookings are covered by ATOL. ABTA does not have the authority to set dates for when ATOL protection applies, this is set by the Civil Aviation Authority. 

How is my money protected and why is it important?

The majority of package travel arrangements provided by ABTA Members are protected by either the CAA’s ATOL scheme or by the ABTA Bond of the Member company. Both the ATOL and ABTA schemes protect a refund that was due for a holiday that has not taken place if a travel company fails. You can check this for yourself on the ATOL Air Travel Trust Payment Policy, section 4.2 on page 28.

ABTA is an independent organisation, recognised by the UK Department for Business (BEIS) as an Approved Body under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. Some of our Members provide bonds through one of the other two Approved Bodies – ABTOT or the CPT Bonded Coach Holidays schemes. ABTA accepts the use of both of these schemes for our Members. Some Members also use financial failure insurance products rather than Bonds. These are also permitted under the 2018 Package Travel Regulations. ABTA checks that all these are in place and monitors them, so that customers do not have to do so when booking with an ABTA Member. Further information on the ATOL scheme can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website.

What Co-op Travel are doing

We are keeping in touch with all of the travel organisers we work with to make sure refunds are received as quickly as possible although there has been a call to government to permit that refunds should be made in the form of a Refund Credit Note, effectively delaying the refund to allow the companies involved to work through the administrative tasks to get funds back to the customer.

The Refund Credit Note would be redeemable against a future booking and there may be a option to exchange for cash at a later point (on or before March 31st 2021 is likely).

It is important to note that the value would remain protected against the original booking to keep consumer financial protection in place, so your investment remains protected.

Due to the changes to businesses around the world from reduced staffing levels, offices being unavailable and the additional loss of new sales whilst consumers are coming to terms with the changes on their own circumstances, there is inevitable disruption and we would ask for your understanding of these facts.

When we are the Organiser

Sometimes when we sell travel arrangements to our customers, we become the organiser as dictated by the Package Travel Regulations (PTR), and so the responsibilities and obligations fall to us.

We will do our very best ensure that refunds are provided but we rely on our third-party travel partners to make that possible. This may mean you are provided with a Refund Credit Note until cash is received back from airlines, hoteliers etc. The Refund Credit Note may be redeemed for a cash refund at a later date if you are unable to use the Refund Credit Note in the meantime (We are working with 31st March 2021 to redeem or exchange).

The information from many of the travel suppliers involved in the holidays we sell is changing from day to day, which in turn means it is difficult for us to be able to give clear and absolute guidance to our customers and would thank you for your patience as the refund process evolves.

Page updated: 21/04/2020 11:00

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