BOOKING a holiday to an amber list destination could leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket, it has been warned.
Despite the overseas travel ban being lifted on Monday, the government has caused confusion regarding holidays to amber list destinations.
Earlier this week, Matt Hancock said that people should only travel to amber countries if "absolutely necessary" while Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: "It is not somewhere you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that."
Education Minister Gillian Keegan echoed both Boris Johnson's and Matt Hancock's warning, telling Times Radio: "Amber list countries are there for a reason – they are there so that you can travel for business, you can travel for particular situations such as funerals or if there are some specific care issues in your family."
However, seven out of 10 of the UK's biggest tour operators are still selling holidays to amber list destinations, according to The Times.
TUI, easyJet and British Airways are selling holidays to Spain and Greece, while Ryanair has launched £5 flights to popular amber list hotspots.
When asked if easyJet customers were still flying to amber countries for leisure despite Government guidance not to do so, easyJet boss Johan Lundgren replied: "Yes, people are booking flights and they're going there on holidays."
Despite MPs saying holidays shouldn't go ahead to the destinations, there is not an explicit travel ban on them, unlike the red list.
This means Brits are unlikely to be able to get their money back from their holidays if they no longer want to go, due to them still operating.
Only Jet2 and On The Beach are yet to sell holidays to amber destinations, with Jet2 restarting next month and On The Beach not selling trips until August.
Which? has warned that travel insurance is also unlikely to cover Brits with hoilday bookings to amber destinations.
Their report analysed 73 travel insurance providers between October and November 2020, with protection for government advice changes rarely included in policies.
Since March 2020, most insurers have considered the pandemic a ‘known event’, and excluded FCDO cancellation cover from new policies and for newly booked trips.
Families who no longer want to travel or cannot afford to pay for the tests or quarantine at home, are unlikely to be covered.
Which? Editor Rory Boland said: "Those who feel they cannot go on holiday against government advice, including those with bookings from last year, are also likely to struggle to get their money back, with most travel companies refusing refunds unless the holiday is cancelled."
Airline and tour operator policy refunds
If your flight has been cancelled, you can choose to get either a cash or voucher refund, or Avios points.
British Airways has also waived its fee to change bookings.
If you want to cancel your flights, you can claim a voucher to the value of your booking, which will be valid until April 30, 2023.
If EasyJet cancels your holiday, you’ll receive a full refund back to your original method of payment.
But if you cancel your trip yourself, EasyJet's terms and conditions state you won't get the money back.
The only exception is if you cancel within 24 hours of booking, which means you'll get a full refund minus the cancellation fee.
If you want to change your booking, you can do so at no extra cost (apart from the fare difference) up to 14 days before departure.
Ryanair offers vouchers equal to the cost of the cancelled flights, and these are valid for 12 months.
If you'd prefer the money back, you don't have to accept a credit note and can request a cash refund instead on Ryanair's website.
Sadly, Ryanair says customers can't get a refund if the flight is operational and isn't delayed by more than two hours.
The flight change fee has been dropped for all new bookings made after June 10, 2020 but before March 31, 2021, for travel before October 31.
Just keep in mind you must change your flights at least seven days before the original scheduled departure date to avoid rebooking fees.
If you do, remember you must also pay the fare difference if your new ticket is more expensive.
You can alter a booking up to one day before for free if your destination moves from the green to amber list.
There is also no cost to change a booking if you are unable to travel such as if you catch coronavirus, have to self-isolate or your destination is added to the red list.
Here are the refund policies of airlines and tour operators.
The next review of the green list will be on June 5, with hopes of more countries being added.
Spain, Greece and Italy could all be added if Covid cases continue to fall and the vaccination programme progresses.
Thousands of Brits have headed to the airport this week after the holiday ban was lifted.
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