Foreign & Commonwealth Office Update
Update: 6th October, 2021
Announcement of the new travel system - 4th October
On Monday the 4th of October the traffic light system for travel changed and a new travel system was introduced. Destinations are no longer categorised into Green, Amber or Red but instead are classified as Red List Countries or Non-Red List Countries. This change is designed to make travel regulations easier to understand whilst also reducing quarantine and testing for fully-vaccinated travellers.
The current ratings will be in place for the next 3 weeks, after which they will be reviewed every 3 weeks, based on the latest Coronavirus data from each destination.
Arrivals from Spain are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible. For full details please visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Spain Travel Advice page.
If you have concerns about quarantine or testing requirements we may be able to change the dates on your booking. Please see the Can I change the dates on my booking? question below for further instructions.
We are in the process of contacting all affected customers.
Getting in touch
Our phone lines are open Monday-Saturday 9am-4pm, and our colleagues in our contact centre have been busy speaking to customers, particularly those whose travel is most affected. In addition to these core hours we are working Monday-Friday 8am-6pm answering questions and sending messages to customers who are looking for clarification on any upcoming holidays. Please be patient as we will contact all affected customers.
Is my holiday destination classified as a Red List Country or Non-Red List Country, and what does that mean?
Based on the Coronavirus data from each country, destinations will be classed as Red List or Non-Red List, with specific quarantine and testing requirements associated with each category. This information may change frequently and we will endeavour to ensure that the page is kept up-to-date, however we would always recommend that you check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website before you travel, as well as the International Air Traffic Association website for specific local guidelines.
My holiday is going ahead - what do I need to know?
We can’t wait to get you back on holiday, so we want to make sure you’re fully prepared for anything that might have changed since you last travelled abroad.
Please check the FCO website to see what testing and travel requirements are in place for your chosen destination.
You can also find answers to common questions in the ‘Planning for your holiday’ section of the FAQs below.
Can I change the dates on my booking?
If you have concerns about a future booking, it may be possible to change the dates of your holiday. To do so, you will need to follow these steps:
- Log into the 'My Sunshine' section of the website
- Click 'Manage'
- Click 'Request a change'
- Click 'Change dates'
- Select your preferred new travel dates and click 'Submit'
Once you've submitted you date change request, our agents will arrange your booking and send through confirmation as well as your new travel documents. Please be aware, however, that we do not set the prices for flights or hotels, as these are set by the airlines and hoteliers respectively. Therefore any price increase to dates being changed is as result of the pricing policies of these suppliers and not Sunshine. Rest assured that if there is a price increase between you booking and your holiday being confirmed, one of our agents will call you to discuss.
If you need to change your holiday destination, we can look into this for you. Simply follow the above steps to send us a message via the 'Making a change', then 'I wish to change the destination of my holiday' option.
How do I know if my flight is cancelled?
The operations and service teams have been working around the clock to update our systems with the flight cancellations as the airlines move through their forward programmes and notify the cancellation of any flights that are not operating. Whilst these are updated in system, any balance payments are suspended as we work out whether each holiday is proceeding as planned. Where the flights are confirmed cancelled then you will be notified via outbound email and we can begin the process of commencing the application for a refund.
Will I need to quarantine when I return to the UK?
Quarantine requirements will vary depending on whether your chosen destination has been designated as Red List or Non-Red List as well as if you are fully vaccinated or not.
For detailed information on the testing and quarantine requirements within each category, please see the Global Travel Taskforce report or the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
How can I get tested before I travel?
Many destinations will currently require you to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken before arrival. To find out more about the different testing options available to you, visit our COVID-19 testing before you travel page.
What happens if a member of my party tests positive for COVID-19 before we are due to return to the UK?
If you or a member of your party tests positive for COVID-19 before you are due to return to the UK, please contact your insurance provider immediately. We also also that you always comply with instructions given to you by the local health authorities. For the latest advice please visit the FCO website.
What is the UK Government's position on cancellations?
On the government’s website they reference the following when advising how travel companies use the FCO advice:
“Travel companies and airlines often take our advice into account but the decision to cancel or reschedule a flight, holiday, tour or excursion is a decision that can only be taken by the travel company and the customer. The question of refunds is a matter that must be resolved between the customer and the relevant airline, tour operator or travel agent. We don’t dictate when travel can or can’t take place.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-the-foreign-commonwealth-office-puts-together-travel-advice.)
We appreciate you may have some further concerns about your holiday and have laid out some additional FAQs below.
How are refunds being managed?
Where we cancel a customer’s package holiday because it can’t be provided, we will issue the refund within 14 days of cancellation, in full and in cash. Once it is clear that a booking can no longer go ahead, we will be in touch with the customer to explain the next steps involved in order for them to either change the dates of their holiday (if applicable) or to claim their refund.
We remain committed to refunding customers within 14 days of their holiday being cancelled, even if we have not yet received the refund for the flight back from the airline ourselves, despite this being the airline’s legal obligation.
If you have paid your airline for any extras (for example priority boarding or additional luggage) then these will have been paid using your own payment card and the cost should have been refunded directly to you. If you have not yet received a refund for these extra costs then you will need to speak to your airline.
Do I still need to make my next instalment payment?
You should ensure you keep up with instalment payments as per the original booking terms and conditions. Failure to keep up with payments may result in the holiday being cancelled and subject to cancellation fees. Where we cancel your holiday in these circumstances, you will not have ATOL protection, nor will your holiday be covered under the Package Travel Regulations. If the information from the airlines then later changes and your flight is cancelled you will not be entitled to a refund as we will have already cancelled your holiday.
My holiday has been cancelled – why does it still show as ‘confirmed’?
We are working through a considerable number of bookings and, as such, our online system may be slightly delayed in reflecting the status of your booking. If you have received an email from us confirming that your holiday has been cancelled, then no further action is required and this will show on our system shortly.
Planning for your holiday
It is our responsibility to make sure that your holiday goes to plan, and that you and your fellow holidaymakers are looked after for the duration of your stay. Therefore, if – for any reason – your chosen hotel is unavailable, we will look to find you a suitable alternative, to the same or better standard and we will be in touch if this is the case.
What happens if my hotel is closed?
If flights continue to operate, these are non-refundable. To protect package organisers and customers when hotels are closed, package organisers are obliged to provide suitable alternative accommodation. A suitable alternative is deemed to be of the same or higher star rating (and quality), the same board basis and a similar location.
The relevant clause in the Package Travel Directive is as follows: Where, following commencement of the package, significant proportions of the package cannot be performed, alternatives offered should be at no extra cost and should, where possible, be of equivalent or higher quality than those specified in the original contract. If the organiser is constrained to propose alternative arrangements of a lower quality, the organiser must grant an appropriate price reduction. Travellers may choose to reject alternative arrangements only if they are not comparable with those originally agreed, or the price reduction offered is inadequate.
A change of hotel is not a major change that triggers the cancellation of the package and so - where hotels are closed but flights are operating - suitable alternatives are being booked for all guests for the duration of their stay. Our operations team continues to deal with these in departure date order to ensure that all guests have suitable accommodation for their stay.
happens if I catch the virus when I’m away?
If you or a member of your party tests positive for COVID-19 before you are due to return to the UK, please contact your insurance provider immediately.
Additionally, we ask that you always comply with instructions given to you by the local health authorities. For the latest advice please visit the FCDO website.
What happens if there's an outbreak whilst I am on holiday?
You can find up to date information on the FCDO website.
I have transfers arranged whilst on holiday - what safety measures will be in place?
Our transfers partner has put together this useful guide highlighting the precautions and safety measures that they are taking to ensure your wellbeing whilst abroad.
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