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10-03-2020, 15:31   #1
lainey_d_123
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Last minute honeymoon for friend (Coronavirus)

My friend has recently decided to cancel her honeymoon in Japan because of coronavirus. She has flights booked with BA and they're refusing refunds, but she's not happy with the thought of being out there and the situation changing (imposed quarantines, someone on the flight testing positive, getting sick or her husband getting sick).

She's now looking for something else to do instead, preferably on a budget, since they're £2000 down for flights and she can't get her annual leave back because it's the end of the financial year. She'd obviously prefer to avoid risk of getting the virus as much as possible, so looking to avoid large crowds and crowded places, but doesn't drive so some form of transport is necessary. She lives in north London and would be happy to go anywhere in the UK or elsewhere, just not somewhere as far as Japan.

She's obviously restricted by not being able to drive - I've suggested maybe staying in rural Wales, or hiking in Scotland but it might be pretty difficult to get out there (or maybe not, haven't had time to check). Has anyone any ideas? I'm absolutely gutted for her and trying to help sort something out - she only has a few days to arrange it.
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10-03-2020, 15:46   #2
Hibernicis
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If the couple are the outdoors type getting an air B&B cottage (full house) in the locations you suggested would be a great idea. Settling in with some books, good food, wine/beer, a roaring fire and a sheepskin rug could be a great Honeymoon alternative to the stress of traveling overseas. Only concern is that if it is in the near future, weather-wise its early for many parts of Scotland. Alternatives that I know would be Cornwall, The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales, Hadrians Wall area and The Norfolk Broads. Most of these can be reached by train/coach from London.

Oh and I wouldn’t give up too easily on that refund either.
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10-03-2020, 15:55   #3
Wuff Wuff
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scottish highlands,

they can get there by train
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10-03-2020, 15:57   #4
stargazer 68
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Have a google of quirky UK accommodation and there are some sites with lighthouses, tents, etc that you can stay in. All over the UK so could just be filtered.
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10-03-2020, 16:02   #5
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As Dovies has said there are some very cool, quirky places. i signed up to this email ages ago - I've never used it but they do have some great and unusual places to stay: https://www.coolplaces.co.uk/

What about going south to Cornwall area? It always looks almost tropical and very picturesque. The Isle of Skye in Scotland is another one that looks fab.
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10-03-2020, 19:13   #6
lainey_d_123
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Originally Posted by Hibernicis View Post
If the couple are the outdoors type getting an air B&B cottage (full house) in the locations you suggested would be a great idea. Settling in with some books, good food, wine/beer, a roaring fire and a sheepskin rug could be a great Honeymoon alternative to the stress of traveling overseas. Only concern is that if it is in the near future, weather-wise its early for many parts of Scotland. Alternatives that I know would be Cornwall, The Peak District, The Yorkshire Dales, Hadrians Wall area and The Norfolk Broads. Most of these can be reached by train/coach from London.

Oh and I wouldn’t give up too easily on that refund either.
Thanks - all sound like good ideas. Was just a bit concerned that it'd be hard to get around once there (like the accommodation all seems a bit in the middle of nowhere).

What do you mean about the refund? BA are just being rotten about it. They're saying there's no travel warning and just refusing to budge.
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10-03-2020, 19:15   #7
Wuff Wuff
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Originally Posted by lainey_d_123 View Post
Thanks - all sound like good ideas. Was just a bit concerned that it'd be hard to get around once there (like the accommodation all seems a bit in the middle of nowhere).

What do you mean about the refund? BA are just being rotten about it. They're saying there's no travel warning and just refusing to budge.
They're hardly being rotten if their is no travel advisory

Can't just get a refund for a change of mind on flights
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10-03-2020, 20:41   #8
lainey_d_123
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They're hardly being rotten if their is no travel advisory

Can't just get a refund for a change of mind on flights
It's highly irresponsible to put people in a position where they either lose their hard earned money or risk getting and/or spreading a virus. It's not a 'change of mind' because they don't fancy going, is it? It's a public health issue. I noticed BA were still refusing refunds on flights to Italy as late as yesterday, insisting they were 'operating as normal' and now that there's a travel ban, BA are refusing to assist those same passengers in any way....seems kind of unbelievable to me?!

Monday: No, you can't have a refund on flights to Italy, they're operating as normal, don't be silly, just go
Tuesday: Well, of course we can't help you now you're stranded in Italy because we've cancelled our flights, there's coronavirus don't you know?

I've travelled a lot in my life and this seems like extraordinarily bad form. Most other airlines are offering refunds or free changes.
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10-03-2020, 20:55   #9
Wuff Wuff
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blah blah blah
They aren't going to Italy though

To Japan where there isnt a do not travel advisory
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10-03-2020, 21:09   #10
lainey_d_123
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They aren't going to Italy though

To Japan where there isnt a do not travel advisory
You've totally missed the point.

There was no travel advisory to Italy yesterday.

They knew the situation was bad and yet they chose to refuse refunds, and now that the ban is in force, they're refusing to help the passengers they flew over there.

It's a fast moving situation and most other airlines have been very reasonable and understanding. Japan 2 weeks from now could be in lockdown, with my friend stuck there, maybe sick, and unable to get back. It's not unlikely.
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10-03-2020, 21:14   #11
Wuff Wuff
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Originally Posted by lainey_d_123 View Post
You've totally missed the point.

There was no travel advisory to Italy yesterday.

They knew the situation was bad and yet they chose to refuse refunds, and now that the ban is in force, they're refusing to help the passengers they flew over there.

It's a fast moving situation and most other airlines have been very reasonable and understanding. Japan 2 weeks from now could be in lockdown, with my friend stuck there, maybe sick, and unable to get back. It's not unlikely.
You seem very angry
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10-03-2020, 21:17   #12
Irishphotodesk
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What about ABC islands ...Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, known as the Dutch Carribbean islands.

I checked earlier ... Currently 26degrees in Aruba, we stayed in the Renaissance hotel in Aruba, you have free access to a private island where you can hand feed flamingos.

Edit: from Ireland you fly to Holland then direct to Aruba from there, from England you can fly to bogota or holland then on to Aruba.
Alternative options, igazu falls or machu pichu Mexico etc

Last edited by Irishphotodesk; 10-03-2020 at 21:35.
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10-03-2020, 21:20   #13
hurikane
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I advise the friend not to go anywhere. What if they get cut off from the internet and can’t ask you to post online asking for advice for them?
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10-03-2020, 22:17   #14
bubblypop
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Why don't they just go to the canaries?
There was one hotel lock down on one island.
Just go to one of the other ones.
If they enjoy outdoors stuff, there are hikes, cycles etc all over the islands
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10-03-2020, 22:58   #15
Hibernicis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lainey_d_123 View Post
Thanks - all sound like good ideas. Was just a bit concerned that it'd be hard to get around once there (like the accommodation all seems a bit in the middle of nowhere).
Most of the areas mentioned cater for walkers, and will have some facilities (e.g. a cottage in a village or small town) that will work for people without a car. Not driving is obviously a limiting factor, but there are a few places I’ve been on that list where I could probably while away a pleasant week if the company was right. Dovies point about quirky accommodation is also a great suggestion.

Quote:
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What do you mean about the refund? BA are just being rotten about it. They're saying there's no travel warning and just refusing to budge.
BA, like any big company in this position will put its Best (Worst) foot forward and go for a very simple “No refunds” message. Arms folded and glare at you. And hope that you will p1ss off and go gently into that good night. That’s option 1. As Wuff Wuff curtly (and without offering a single helpful word) intimated, this is the legal position and the default which your friend is going to feel pressured to take.

Knowing how much £2,000 means to the average newly married couple, I’d be looking at Option 2. There are a number of extenuating circumstances here. The context is the Coronavirus, the fact that the situation is changing significantly daily if not hourly, it’s a honeymoon, multiple flights, multiple airports, extended duration of the stay (is not a one night business trip), trip of a lifetime, flying with BA because of reputation, risk of not getting home, risk of being stranded, (pre existing medical conditions if any, dependent relatives if any), Force Majeure etc. etc. And then there are some hard facts. The concern within Japan resulted in all elementary, junior and high schools being closed by the government on 27th Feb until the end of March (at the earliest). On 1st March the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the Level 2 Travel Alert for Japan: This ‘Practice Enhanced Precautions’ Travel Alert says ‘Japan is experiencing sustained community transmission of respiratory illness now called COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus. That is well on the way to lockdown. Japan is now firmly positioned on the exponential transmission/uptake curve and is in the top 5 countries in the world for infection. Where on that contagion curve will it be by the end of your friend’s proposed trip ? There is a very real risk here and your friend is making the decision based on the facts available. So in terms of Option 2, I would be starting with the premise that the world has changed profoundly since the booking was made, that the the decision to travel is no longer safe or indeed viable, that the situation is changing very rapidly, that there is a substantial risk to the passenger’s health and that there is a sever risk of being stranded. I would strongly argue that this is a very human situation, that force majeur applies, And that a reasonable company/person would seek to formulate a reasonable outcome (i.e. a decent refund). Note that your friend has no legal right to this, but has a huge moral right. So how to proceed. Initially be calm and polite and expect to get an outpouring of empathy and all that politically correct customer service crud and still told to P1ss off at the end of the convo. Ask to speak to a supervisor/manager, restate the case, again being firm but polite and making copious references to the company’s reputation etc etc. Keep going up the line with it and don’t take no for an answer. And don’t get angry. Also ask for a copy of their customers charter, details of your rights Unser IATA, their formal complaints procedure, Your rights under Data Protection and GDPR etc. The Key thing to remember here is that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Companies love the shy retiring type who goes away when told to do so. Stick with it and be a thorn in their side and they will quite probably dip into the discretionary fund they keep for these "get rid of the nuisance” situations. If it drags on you can also start asking for undertakings and guarantees that they will repatriate/evacuate you in the event that the situation escalates, using an air ambulance if necessary. And so on.

Sorry for being long winded but its difficult to script. In summary, either accept Option 1 (P1ss off) or put a bit of effort into Option 2 and work to getting some class of decent refund. As I said, its not about legal rights, its actually bout wearing them down, forcing them to opt for an easy life by offering you a decent refund to get rid of you. I know which I’d be doing given the sum involved.


Here is one link that might be useful It doesn’t constitute an Alert that obliges BA to automatically allow cancellation and refund, but it's getting there and adds moral support to your friend’s argument. I’m sure a bit of searching would turn up more like this.
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