TUI tells customers in lockdown areas that they can still go on holiday – and refuse to cancel their flights

A TUI passenger on lockdown in Wales was told by the airline that she could still go on holiday – despite the government warning the opposite.

Christine Evans was due to travel from Cardiff to Rhodes for a three week holiday with friends, when she tried to cancel her trip.

Cardiff is currently on lockdown, one of the many regions in Wales to be, with the new rules not allowing anyone to enter or leave without a "reasonable excuse" such as work, school or food and medical care.

This does not include holidays or non-essential travel.

After the lockdown announcement, Ms Evans was forced to cancel her holiday, only to be told by TUI, who she booked her flights with, that she could still go on holiday.

She told Wales Online: "I called TUI and I told them I can't go because of lockdown, and TUI said 'you can'."

"I'm in a position where the Government are saying you can't go on holiday, and I have TUI telling me you can. It has blown my brain."

She added that it was a "total nightmare" and questioned whether this meant people arriving in Rhodes from lockdown areas would be free to explore the island.

After speaking to eight different TUI agents, she was eventually advised that she could rebook her holiday.

A TUI spokesperson explained that as Cardiff Airport remains open, flights would continue to operate.

They said: "We’re sorry to hear that this customer can no longer travel and understand how disappointing this must be. We understand that there’s still a lot of uncertainty about travel plans this year, so we're being as flexible as we can.

"Any customers who cannot travel on their holiday as planned due to a local lockdown have the option to amend to any holiday currently on sale, free of amendment fees. If the customer wishes to cancel their holiday, we recommend that they speak to their travel insurance provider in the first instance."

Sun Online Travel has contacted TUI for additional comment.

Cardiff Airport is remaining open for people not in lockdown, the airport’s interim chief executive, Spencer Birns confirmed.

He told The Independent: "For those travelling from areas not in lockdown, there are currently no legal restrictions about travelling to the airport, as long as rules are obeyed when they do so."

Swansea is also in lockdown, along with other Welsh regions Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Gwent, Newport, and Caerphilly.

The rules regarding non-essential travel differ across the UK – the Scottish government advise against going abroad for holidays.

Nicola Sturgeon said last week: “What I would say to people now is this. Please think of the October break as an opportunity to further limit social interaction.

“And, given that this is a global pandemic, please do not book travel overseas for the October break if it is not essential.”

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