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COVID Postponing Our Flights

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Given the devastating extent of the virus in Spain, I think its unlikely things will be running this fall. We have tickets for 12 August. We are clinging to hope that we will be able to go to Spain but I’m not optimistic. I am going to wait til the last minute to make changes. I suspect you would be OK waiting til 30 days before your flights to change. Maybe wait a bit longer and see what’s happening. Liz
 

wes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2006) VdlP to Plasencia (2010) Frances (2013) Portugues (2016) Meseta Feb/March 2020
My wife and I finished walking the Meseta just over a fortnight ago, another wonderful Camino experience, we’re grateful to have had it.
Instead of staying on in Spain as planned after reaching Leon, we returned home to Australia early, concerned by the rate at which the world was closing down. Rescheduling flights was very, very difficult: I spent hours on-hold without ever getting through, and websites were largely unresponsive to our preferences. In the end we made it home, but only just, and at significant additional cost.
The international air travel system is in chaos and, as you know, now largely shut down. No-one knows what’s going to happen, but there’s no cause for optimism in the medium term at least.
For what it’s worth, in your situation, I’d be trying to defer any flight bookings for as long as possible. Whatever you decide, treat any information from the airlines with caution.
What I am certain of is that the Camino will need us once this dreadful crisis has passed. It’s heartbreaking to think of the hardships facing the wonderful people we were mixing with so recently, who run the cafes, bars, shops, accommodation and so on, and whose kindness helps make the Camino.
Buen futuro camino.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
My wife and I finished walking the Meseta just over a fortnight ago, another wonderful Camino experience, we’re grateful to have had it.
Instead of staying on in Spain as planned after reaching Leon, we returned home to Australia early, concerned by the rate at which the world was closing down. Rescheduling flights was very, very difficult: I spent hours on-hold without ever getting through, and websites were largely unresponsive to our preferences. In the end we made it home, but only just, and at significant additional cost.
The international air travel system is in chaos and, as you know, now largely shut down. No-one knows what’s going to happen, but there’s no cause for optimism in the medium term at least.
For what it’s worth, in your situation, I’d be trying to defer any flight bookings for as long as possible. Whatever you decide, treat any information from the airlines with caution.
What I am certain of is that the Camino will need us once this dreadful crisis has passed. It’s heartbreaking to think of the hardships facing the wonderful people we were mixing with so recently, who run the cafes, bars, shops, accommodation and so on, and whose kindness helps make the Camino.
Buen futuro camino.
Glad you got home safely Wes! Walked the Camino in September last year from SJPdP to Santiago - we didn’t find the Meseta boring and were so touched by all the wonderful Spanish people we met. In our prayers!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
Unless you can be assured full refund-ability, there is just not enough information about what will occur, as a certainty, to risk money that you do not want to lose.

It isn't just about where the pandemic will be, or whether travel can begin again. It is also about how much of the Camino infrastructure will be open and operating normally. Rebecca can probably give us a clue as to logistically, how long it will take, from the travel bans being lifted, to re-opening the doors to an albergue or hostal.

Commercial business, like hotels and large grocers and restaurants, will be scrambling to get things back to normal in a short period of time. Smaller businesses may have more of a challenge. . but I am just speculating.

So will travel bans be lifted? Maybe, maybe not. Will Camino be back to normal? That is the question.

If this is a one-time chance to get money back, I would cancel. Not because it is a certainty that air travel and Camino infrastructure will be shut, but because there is NO certainty that it will all be open and back to normal.

I made plans and have paid for everything for two, late Fall Caminos. But that is because I made plans so that everything is fully refundable up till 24 hours prior to my leaving home.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
If there’s an affordable refund option you may be as well to take that. If it’s ‘no refund, one change’ I’d go for next year.

it’s all speculation.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
Jill
This is my 2cents worth.
I have a flight paid to visit family in USA in May ..
This won’t happen! Travel restrictions here and USA and Virgin airlines stopping flights until ??? At least until mid June.
So..... when/if they get round to me to give me an option. If it’s a postponement..... I will take the longest possible date ... as visiting family I would do next year anyway - I’ll hopefully have the flight sorted for 2021.

If things change dramatically earlier than we expect - I will look at buying another (separate) fare for this year.

Annie ❤
 

FooteK

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC, 2013; Lourdes to SdC, 2015; ??? to SdC (2020)
My wife and I finished walking the Meseta just over a fortnight ago, another wonderful Camino experience, we’re grateful to have had it.
Instead of staying on in Spain as planned after reaching Leon, we returned home to Australia early, concerned by the rate at which the world was closing down. Rescheduling flights was very, very difficult: I spent hours on-hold without ever getting through, and websites were largely unresponsive to our preferences. In the end we made it home, but only just, and at significant additional cost.
The international air travel system is in chaos and, as you know, now largely shut down. No-one knows what’s going to happen, but there’s no cause for optimism in the medium term at least.
For what it’s worth, in your situation, I’d be trying to defer any flight bookings for as long as possible. Whatever you decide, treat any information from the airlines with caution.
What I am certain of is that the Camino will need us once this dreadful crisis has passed. It’s heartbreaking to think of the hardships facing the wonderful people we were mixing with so recently, who run the cafes, bars, shops, accommodation and so on, and whose kindness helps make the Camino.
Buen futuro camino.
So, are you saying that, if the airline gives you, say until June 30, 2020 to change your flight to sometime in the next 12 months, you should opt for June 29, 2021? Makes sense, just want to make sure I understand.
I'm so glad you had a chance to walk the Meseta. It is normally very peaceful, I can't imagine the stillness now.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
To be absolutely sure you really need to postpone it for two years. Postponing one year gives you a smaller amount of certainty: it's possible this may still be going. You also are assuming the airline still exists - many will have gone bust - and you'd need to expect to adjust the actual flight. So if you book for a Monday it might be on the Thursday.

But who knows how we'll navigate the wreckage of the world economy that will fall by about a third before it starts to recover?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The advice given by @trecile on another thread is relevant here, I think. If the airlines cancels your flight, they have to give you a full refund. If you cancel your flight, the airlines will apply whatever coronavirus policy they have adopted. In my case (American Airlines) that policy is that they keep your money, waive the change fee, and waive the requirement that you re-book the same itinerary. That makes the ticket price sort of like a little bank account I have at American Airlines. They also require that travel be made before the end of 2020, which may meant a lot of hurried travel at the end of the year. But I would also not be surprised to learn that they extend the date of travel if it turns out that the world of international travel has essentially shut down for a longer period. After all, if they are not flying the flights, they can’t require you to be on them.

So I agree with those who say, hold off cancelling till the last possible date, because maybe the airline will cancel on you.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
Can you get a refund? My flights were cancelled and my carrier offered a refund. I won’t plan to rebook until we get an “all clear”.
 

bmcbride

CVRambler
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre (2018)
My flights with Air Canada have just been cancelled. A few days before, they were allowing a one-time change that had to be completed by the end of Dec. 2020. Now, they have extended the deadline to complete travel. But I am going to try for a full refund as that is what I am entitled to, according to the Canadian Transportation Agency. Of course the airlines would prefer to offer "vouchers" rather than a refund, but as others have said who knows when travel will be possible and whether an airline might still be in operation at that time. I have a small flight with Aer Lingus, from Dublin to Santiago, and their policy is the same - a voucher, but sweetening it with an extra 10% value. When that early June flight is cancelled (as it obviously will be), again I will be asking for a full refund.
 

wes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2006) VdlP to Plasencia (2010) Frances (2013) Portugues (2016) Meseta Feb/March 2020
So, are you saying that, if the airline gives you, say until June 30, 2020 to change your flight to sometime in the next 12 months, you should opt for June 29, 2021? Makes sense, just want to make sure I understand.
I'm so glad you had a chance to walk the Meseta. It is normally very peaceful, I can't imagine the stillness now.
As John Brierley put it, the Meseta is a place of "sublime solitude".
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
The advice given by @trecile on another thread is relevant here, I think. If the airlines cancels your flight, they have to give you a full refund. If you cancel your flight, the airlines will apply whatever coronavirus policy they have adopted. In my case (American Airlines) that policy is that they keep your money, waive the change fee, and waive the requirement that you re-book the same itinerary. That makes the ticket price sort of like a little bank account I have at American Airlines. They also require that travel be made before the end of 2020, which may meant a lot of hurried travel at the end of the year. But I would also not be surprised to learn that they extend the date of travel if it turns out that the world of international travel has essentially shut down for a longer period. After all, if they are not flying the flights, they can’t require you to be on them.

So I agree with those who say, hold off cancelling till the last possible date, because maybe the airline will cancel on you.

QANTAS has a similar arrangement. My flights are on hold until the situation is sorted out - no time limit as far as I'm aware.
 

hughb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte June 2013 plus Finisterre
Norrte 2015
Ingles 2016
Portuguese 2018 and 2019
Fatima routes
The Lowveld Ramblers (in South Africa) were scheduled to go on our next camino in mid-June. This now seems highly unlikely, so we are trying to decide what date to change our flights to, once we get (if we get) the option to postpone. We are thinking about October. But what if we still cannot travel in October? If the airline gives us only ONE chance to change our dates for free, then we will all lose all our money (and they were quite expensive this year). Any thoughts?
I live very close to the Caminho Portuguese. My suggestion would be to postpone for at least a year, maybe more. I think that foreigners have not yet taken on-board how they will be treated when travel does restart. Everything has changed. You will be treated with suspicion, even dislike.

Since i moved to Portugal nearly 4 years ago, I have been so blessed with the affection of the local people. For me, that continues. Unknown people however are almost being ostracized. I saw that this morning at the bakery, I was treated like a long lost friend, even at 2 metres! Then an outsider stopped for bread. So did the conversation until he left.

Sad but true. Spain and Portugal will be different to foreign travellers, even if you are a pilgrim.

Stay safe, whenever you are.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Some airlines are using the situation to make money.

I was due to fly to Northern Ireland earlier this month (and Italy in May :() with EasyJet - they have given me the chance to change my flight schedules without cost (and the nice man in Italy who was renting us a villa says he'll give us a voucher valid through to 2021!)

If you're unlucky enough to have booked with Ryanair however . . .

But according to Which? (UK consumer group) the airline has been hiking the cost of those replacement flights by us much as £80.
(They) said that when one passenger tried to move their Dublin to Málaga flight to August, they were quoted €137 (£128) a passenger.
But when he checked the Ryanair website for the price of a new ticket on the same plane, it was just €49.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
My suggestion would be to postpone for at least a year, maybe more. I think that foreigners have not yet taken on-board how they will be treated when travel does restart. Everything has changed. You will be treated with suspicion, even dislike.
......
Sad but true. Spain and Portugal will be different to foreign travellers, even if you are a pilgrim.
This separation between known and unknown/trusted and untrusted will also happen at official and government level.

We see today that Hong Kong and Japan have detected a second wave of infection and that China has chosen to close it's borders to non-citizens, is controlling international flights and is limiting them to one a week from a very small number of destinations.

China is the model here. Once they managed to get control of their internal situation they then moved to control infection from outside sources.

The best case estimates for a vaccine is 18 months but that is the date of first availability. It won't be widely available globally for at least another 6 months after that.

In the meantime once Spain, Portugal and France have gained control of their internal infections they won't want to import more infections from overseas. It will be hard enough to get across national borders for EU citizens, let alone countries like the USA who are seeking to allow covid 19 to circulate freely.

In my opinion it will be at least 24 months, if ever, before something approaching the old normal applies to international tourism.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Many thanks everyone for all your thoughts, much appreciated.

I’m not concerned about our airline going under as it’s 100% government owned, and has been operating since 1940.

I am thinking though, that if we get the option to cancel, with a full refund, we should take it. Our flights were expensive this year, compared to previous years, so when (I am not going to say “if”) we do go, we may be able to buy cheaper flights.

We have a few weeks still, so I’ll let you know the outcome in due course. Thanks again for the replies.
 

jeanineonthecamino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2020
I have the same dilemma. My flight to Paris is May 23, My flight home from Barcelona is July 14. I can cancel or move my May 23rd flight, but can only move (and maybe pay fees) for my July 14 flight. I purchased the two tickets separately, so they don't have to accommodate the return flight yet... but if I don't depart in May/June, no point in having a return flight. If "I" cancel my May flight, I will get points and have to use them by November. If "they" cancel my May flight, I get my points plus some extras... and a full year to use the points. But I can still only at this point reschedule my return flight. I work for schools, so I can only really do the Camino in the summer months (end of May to mid-July). I can reschedule now for a 1 week October vacation elsewhere... but can only reschedule the May flight once. Should I risk that? I can also schedule a 2 week vacation elesewhere around Christmastime... but it is COLD everywhere that my airline is currently listing to fly in December/January (for now, they have cut most of the Europe destinations, maybe permanently after November). But I fear with the cold months, there will be another wave of Covid-19. That, and I do not like the cold, so I might be miserable and not want to go outside. Also, the trip would cost much more than what I budgeted for the Camino due to more expensive lodging options and no "pilgrim's meals". But I can't just reschedule for next summer either, so do I just go for the December travel elsewhere? So frustrating.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
I have the same dilemma. My flight to Paris is May 23, My flight home from Barcelona is July 14. I can cancel or move my May 23rd flight, but can only move (and maybe pay fees) for my July 14 flight. I purchased the two tickets separately, so they don't have to accommodate the return flight yet... but if I don't depart in May/June, no point in having a return flight. If "I" cancel my May flight, I will get points and have to use them by November. If "they" cancel my May flight, I get my points plus some extras... and a full year to use the points. But I can still only at this point reschedule my return flight. I work for schools, so I can only really do the Camino in the summer months (end of May to mid-July). I can reschedule now for a 1 week October vacation elsewhere... but can only reschedule the May flight once. Should I risk that? I can also schedule a 2 week vacation elesewhere around Christmastime... but it is COLD everywhere that my airline is currently listing to fly in December/January (for now, they have cut most of the Europe destinations, maybe permanently after November). But I fear with the cold months, there will be another wave of Covid-19. That, and I do not like the cold, so I might be miserable and not want to go outside. Also, the trip would cost much more than what I budgeted for the Camino due to more expensive lodging options and no "pilgrim's meals". But I can't just reschedule for next summer either, so do I just go for the December travel elsewhere? So frustrating.
Hawaii?
 

Lacroix

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2020)
I live very close to the Caminho Portuguese. My suggestion would be to postpone for at least a year, maybe more. I think that foreigners have not yet taken on-board how they will be treated when travel does restart. Everything has changed. You will be treated with suspicion, even dislike.

Since i moved to Portugal nearly 4 years ago, I have been so blessed with the affection of the local people. For me, that continues. Unknown people however are almost being ostracized. I saw that this morning at the bakery, I was treated like a long lost friend, even at 2 metres! Then an outsider stopped for bread. So did the conversation until he left.

Sad but true. Spain and Portugal will be different to foreign travellers, even if you are a pilgrim.

Stay safe, whenever you are.
Appreciate this post. We are meant to leave for Porto late May. Not yet any airline cancellations for that time frame but your local insight is invaluable. Thank you!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
The advice given by @trecile on another thread is relevant here, I think. If the airlines cancels your flight, they have to give you a full refund. If you cancel your flight, the airlines will apply whatever coronavirus policy they have adopted. In my case (American Airlines) that policy is that they keep your money, waive the change fee, and waive the requirement that you re-book the same itinerary. That makes the ticket price sort of like a little bank account I have at American Airlines. They also require that travel be made before the end of 2020, which may meant a lot of hurried travel at the end of the year. But I would also not be surprised to learn that they extend the date of travel if it turns out that the world of international travel has essentially shut down for a longer period. After all, if they are not flying the flights, they can’t require you to be on them.

So I agree with those who say, hold off cancelling till the last possible date, because maybe the airline will cancel on you.
I have an overseas flight on American scheduled for May (not for a pilgrimage), and I made my reservation back In February before things went nuts. So my travel insurance, like everyone else's, says they won't cover anything because it is a Force Majeure. So as you say, I am waiting for the airline to cancel everything since they are not allowed to fly into Israel (if I understand correctly--I'll check the State Dept website), which means they'll need to cancel the flight at some point. I don't know how many days before a scheduled flight an airline cancels.
For those of you who have had to deal with cancelled flights, how close to the date of the flight did the airline notify you? Is it the 72 hours the airlines are saying we should wait to call them?
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I live very close to the Caminho Portuguese. My suggestion would be to postpone for at least a year, maybe more. I think that foreigners have not yet taken on-board how they will be treated when travel does restart. Everything has changed. You will be treated with suspicion, even dislike.

Since i moved to Portugal nearly 4 years ago, I have been so blessed with the affection of the local people. For me, that continues. Unknown people however are almost being ostracized. I saw that this morning at the bakery, I was treated like a long lost friend, even at 2 metres! Then an outsider stopped for bread. So did the conversation until he left.

Sad but true. Spain and Portugal will be different to foreign travellers, even if you are a pilgrim.

Stay safe, whenever you are.
Oh, wow, hughb, it did not occur to me that strangers would not be welcomed, but I see your point. I suppose I must rethink my November plans. Rats.
 

BruceS

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF late 2020 or April 2021
I too am in a bind with Qatar Airways. They offer to reSchedule or 12 mth Voucher.
Until there is proven anti-Coronusvirus Vaccine (and I have been given it) I will not be traveling o/s.
Qantas seems to be offering an easier way to help us out of this.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
it did not occur to me that strangers would not be welcomed, but I see your point. I suppose I must rethink my November plans. Rats.
Right now, everything about the future is idle speculation. Nobody knows what the situation, or the general mood, will be in November 2020, let alone in 2021 in Spain and in Portugal and in the rest of Europe.

The situation described is not uncommon in countries with a nation-wide lockdown: in many countries, people are required to just stay put. Stay at home. They must not even take a car to drive somewhere nice and go for a walk if recreational walks are allowed in that particular country. Every stranger who turns up in such an area or neighbourhood is regarded as someone who is flouting the rules and may be met with disapproval or hostility.

I know this from my own neighbourhood which is close to a large forest area where tons of people usually go for walking, jogging, cycling, horse riding. The people who live in the vicinity and see cars arriving and parked there are up in arms about it. They even call the police. It's ok if you can reach the area on foot. It's not ok for those who come by car or any other means of transport. And you can read similar anecdotes in many of our news media in various countries.
 
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