Coronavirus FAQs

Foreign & Commonwealth Office Update

Last updated August 5th, 2020

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice has changed for Mainland Spain. Scroll down for more information.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced that the UK travel ban has been lifted for a number of destinations. Additionally, the UK has relaxed quarantine measures for all passengers returning to the UK from destinations that are at low risk of Covid-19 transmission.

  • The UK travel ban has been lifted for a number of destinations. Please see the FCO website for further information on specific destinations as local restrictions may differ from FCO advice.
  • For information on any Covid-19-related health documentation you might require for your holiday please visit our airport measures page.
  • For customers who are due to travel to Portugal, the FCO does not currently consider Portugal on its list of exempt countries and therefore at the moment they are advising against all but essential travel. The Portuguese Government has expressed its disappointment at this decision and the expectation is that Portugal will be considered a safe destination to travel to in the very near future. Flights are currently still operating so we are contacting all customers who are due to travel to Portugal according to their date of departure to establish whether they want to travel or wish to cancel. We are grateful for your patience during this time. For further information please see the FCO website.
  • British nationals living in Morocco, as well as their families, will be allowed to enter Morocco, but the borders will not be open for tourism If you’re eligible to enter, you will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days, sign a statement and download the tracking app ‘Wiqaytna’.
  • Prior to travelling to Turkey, travellers must fill in this form.
  • Prior to travelling to Croatia, travellers must fill in this form.
  • From 1 August 2020, travellers to Cyprus must provide a negative Covid-19 test, obtained within 72 hours before travel, on arrival. The test results can be in the form of an email or SMS but must include the date and time the test was taken and state the type of test, which must be PCR. Travellers must also fill in this form.
  • From 1 August 2020, passengers will need to present a QR code to be able to enter Spain. This can be obtained from the Spain Health Travel website or the SPTH app. Please note that facemasks are mandatory for anyone over six years old in many indoor and outdoor public spaces in Spain. Specific rules may vary from in each region and the situation is evolving quite regularly so you should carry a face mask with you and be prepared to wear it throughout your stay.
  • For anyone planning on visiting Greece, all travellers are obliged to complete a form at least 24 hours before entering the country, providing detailed information on their point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of your stay while in Greece. For further information and to download the form please see our specific airport measures page.
  • From 1 August 2020 all passengers arriving in Dubai from any destination, including passengers connecting in Dubai, must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test certificate to be accepted on the flight. The test must be taken a maximum of 96 hours before departure. This excludes children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability.

Unless we have confirmed otherwise, we’re delighted to say that this means your holiday can still go ahead as planned and you can start looking forward to your beach break. You'll find plenty of travel information and frequently asked questions below so you know what safety measures are in place for your holiday.

The situation has been unpredictable, but we’re really excited to be able to get you back on the beach. We will be monitoring things closely and should anything change, we will be in touch right away.

Planning for your holiday

Travelling soon or thinking about booking your next trip? Find out what safety measures will be in place to ensure you have a brilliant beach break. 

What will happen with my holiday to Spain?
Info correct at 15:00 on 05/08/2020

The travel advice for mainland Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics was changed late at night on 25th July 2020. At this point the FCO advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain. At the time, they were not advising against travel to the Balearics or Canaries (Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura). Travellers to all Spanish destinations including the Canaries and Balearics are required to self isolate on return to UK for 14 days. The advice changed again on 27th July 2020 to advise against all but essential travel to the Balearics and the Canaries. The advice changed twice within 2 days and there is every chance it will change again within a matter of days or weeks.

Customers currently on holiday in Spanish destinations:
Enjoy your holiday as best as you can. For now we assume you will come back on your return flight as planned. If your flight home changes, we will be in touch. Unless government advice changes, you will have to quarantine on return to the UK for 14 days in line with amended government policy.

Customers travelling to the Balearics or Canaries (Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura) up to and including 9th August:
In the majority of cases, flights are still operating to these destinations and we are able to provide the accommodation booked or a suitable alternative*, and therefore, unless we notify you otherwise, your package holiday will be able to proceed without any significant changes. Make sure you check your coverage with your travel insurers and ensure you have an EHIC card.

If you choose to cancel your holiday in these circumstances, we will refund the hotel and transfer monies and we will waive our administration fees for processing the cancellation. As stated above, most airlines are continuing to fly as planned and are advising customers to travel to the airport as planned so if the flight operates, the flight cost will be non-refundable. Our ability to refund the flight cost will be dependent on the airline(s) cancelling and refunding your flights.

If your flight is subsequently cancelled prior to departure, then the full flight monies (minus ATOL fee of £2.50 per person) will be refunded following receipt of the flight refund from your airline. We cannot guarantee how long this refund process will take as it varies by airline and may take several weeks or months.

*suitable alternative means alternative accommodation that is of the same or better standard, has the same main features, and is in the same location (i.e. it’s the same tourist destination) as your original accommodation.

Customers travelling to the Balearics or Canaries (Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura) post 9th August:
This is a fast moving situation. It is entirely possible that your holiday can go ahead as planned. We are monitoring the situation closely and will be in touch if your holiday becomes affected.

Flight info as at 28 July 2020:
TUI: Flights to Canaries and Balearics cancelled until 10/08
Jet2: Flights to Canaries and Balearics cancelled for departures on the 10/08
Easyjet: Flight programme to Canaries and Balearics currently scheduled to operate as planned
Ryanair: Flight programme to Canaries and Balearics currently scheduled to operate as planned
BA: Flight programme to Canaries and Balearics currently scheduled to operate as planned

FCO advice is not referred to anywhere in the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs). Regulation 12(7) of the PTRs states that in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and which significantly affect:

(a)the performance of the package, or

(b)the carriage of passengers to the destination,

the traveller may terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package without paying any termination fee.

In this case, the flight is still operational so we are able to carry passengers to the destination, and the accommodation (or a suitable alternative) can be provided so the package can still be provided without its performance being significantly affected.

FCO advice against all but essential travel has previously meant that there is a clear and present threat to life resulting in a total shutdown of that destination and all flights to that destination stop. If this were the case currently with your destination, then flights from the UK would not remain operational in the volumes that they are. As you can see above, most airlines are continuing to fly to your destination.

Customers travelling to Spain (mainland) up to and including 15 August:
In the majority of cases, flights are still operating to mainland Spain and we are able to provide the accommodation booked or a suitable alternative*, and therefore, unless we notify you otherwise, your package holiday will be able to proceed without any significant changes. Make sure you check your coverage with your travel insurers and ensure you have an EHIC card.

If you choose to cancel your holiday in these circumstances, we will refund the hotel and transfer monies and we will waive our administration fees for processing the cancellation. As stated above, most airlines are continuing to fly as planned and are advising customers to travel to the airport as planned so if the flight operates, the flight cost will be non-refundable. Our ability to refund the flight cost will be dependent on the airline(s) cancelling and refunding your flights.

If your flight is subsequently cancelled prior to departure, then the full flight monies (minus ATOL fee of £2.50 per person) will be refunded following receipt of the flight refund from your airline. We cannot guarantee how long this refund process will take as it varies by airline and may take several weeks or months.

*suitable alternative means alternative accommodation that is of the same or better standard, has the same main features, and is in the same location (i.e. it’s the same tourist destination) as your original accommodation.

Flight info as at 28 July 2020:
TUI: Flights to mainland Spain cancelled until 10/08
Jet2: Flights to mainland Spain cancelled until 16/8
Easyjet: Flight programme to mainland Spain currently scheduled to operate as planned
Ryanair: Flight programme to mainland Spain currently scheduled to operate as planned
BA: Flight programme to mainland Spain currently scheduled to operate as planned

FCO advice is not referred to anywhere in the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs). Regulation 12(7) of the PTRs states that in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity and which significantly affect:

(a)the performance of the package, or

(b)the carriage of passengers to the destination,

the traveller may terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package without paying any termination fee.

In this case, the flight is still operational so we are able to carry passengers to the destination, and the accommodation (or a suitable alternative) can be provided so the package can still be provided without its performance being significantly affected.

FCO advice against all but essential travel has previously meant that there is a clear and present threat to life resulting in a total shutdown of that destination and all flights to that destination stop. If this were the case currently with your destination, then flights from the UK would not remain operational in the volumes that they are. As you can see above, most airlines are continuing to fly to your destination.

For all holidays to mainland Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics travelling up to and including the 15th August an email will be sent shortly offering all customers the option to keep their holiday or to cancel their holiday. For specific instructions please refer to the email.

Customers travelling to Spain (mainland) post 15 August:
This is a fast moving situation. It is entirely possible at the moment that your holiday can go ahead as planned. If you do wish to cancel, then usual cancellation charges would apply. We fully appreciate that many customers due to travel over the summer period want to speak to us urgently about their holidays. It is however essential that we deal with bookings in departure date order.

Can I request to change the date of my holiday?
In the current environment with workloads from flight cancellations and hotel closures, there is limited resource we could assign to quote requests to change dates. We do not set the prices for flights or hotels. These are set by the airlines and hoteliers respectively. Therefore any price increase to change dates is as result of the pricing policies of these suppliers and not On the Beach. Over the past few weeks and prior to the new advice about travel to Spain, we have quoted several thousand date change requests. Because summer 2021 is currently on limited release, these quotations were often double the price paid for the 2020 holiday and as a result well in excess of the cost to cancel the holiday. As a result of this only a very small proportion of the customers quoted proceeded with a change of dates. We regret that we are therefore unable to deal with date change requests at the current time.

The above advice also applies to requests to change destinations.

What happens if my chosen hotel is unavailable?
Where flights continue to operate, these are non-refundable. To protect package organisers and customers where 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.


What new health and safety measures are airports and airlines implementing?
From the moment you arrive at the airport, your wellbeing comes first. New measures have been introduced, such as readily available hand sanitiser stations throughout airports, and all planes will be disinfected thoroughly between each flight. At some airports you can even pre-book security slots to avoid the queues.

Holidaymakers will be expected to wear masks and all boarding passes must be presented on a mobile device, rather than a print-out. Additional checks may be in place, so giver yourself plenty of time to get through the airport. It’s important that you check the websites of both your airline and departure airport for the most up-to-date information on this before you travel.


How are hotels preparing for holidays to resume?
As hotels prepare to reopen, destination governments have been working hard to keep the safety and security of customers in mind. Each of them have put a set of stringent requirements in place for hotels to re-open this summer.

As you may have seen in the news, most holiday regions are now already opening up ahead of the UK. This means you’ll still be able to enjoy your stay to the fullest (in a socially distanced way, of course). Some hotel facilities may be adapted or stay closed until they can open safely. Please check with your chosen hotel for more details on what to expect upon arrival.


Will all the facilities at my hotel be open?
Our hotels are reopening and, with that, we are committed to ensuring that all of our guests can enjoy their holidays to their fullest, whilst maintaining the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved.

You may find that, for the time being, some destinations and resorts will have their own hygiene requirements and certain amenities will temporarily be limited or unavailable. Rest assured that these are simply precautionary measures and shouldn’t get in the way of you enjoying your beach break.

As a result of this, some of the information on our website may not always be entirely accurate; however, we will do our very best to keep you updated with any changes to your individual booking. If there is a significant change to your hotel, we will be in touch with your options.


What can I do to protect myself while I'm away?
The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority. The best way to protect yourself while you enjoy your holiday is to continue to follow advice from the World Health Organisation and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


What happens if there's a case of Covid-19 in the hotel I'm due to travel to in the next 14 days?
Rest assured that in the unlikely event that your chosen hotel is affected by Covid-19 before you travel, we will do everything we can to find you an alternative you’ll love.


Are there any restrictions in place from local authorities in resort?
We advise that, before booking, you check any travel restrictions that may be in place for your chosen destination. You can view this on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Please follow any government advice while you are in resort, too.


Do I need any additional documentation to travel?
Some destination airports may require you to follow specific protocols whilst travelling and upon arrival. For further information about this please see our airport measures page.

For any passengers travelling with Enter Air, there may be some additional declaration forms required. Please see their website for further information.


What if my chosen destination has a two week quarantine upon arrival?
The situation overseas is changing constantly and more and more restrictions are being lifted. If, when you are due to travel, there are quarantine measures in place in your destination and you have booked a package holiday with us (flight+hotel), we will work to find you an alternative.


Will I need to quarantine when I return to the UK?
The government has announced that there is no longer a 14-day quarantine in place for travelers returning from destinations with a reduced risk of Covid-19 transmission. For a full list of all destinations which are exempt from quarantine rules please see the Foreign & Commonwealth Office 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.

Coronavirus FAQs

We appreciate you may have some further concerns about your holiday and have laid out some additional FAQs below.

Refunds

Why are refunds taking so long to process?
Where holidays are cancelled, we are able to refund any monies paid for hotels and transfers within 2-4 weeks. These refunds are automatically added to your booking and an email will be sent to tell you how to claim. Where monies are owed for cancelled flights, we are doing our best to refund as soon as we receive from the airlines but with many millions of refunds to process across the industry and the workloads created by the changing travel advice, the refund process is slower than it should be and for this we apologise.

Sunshine pays for flights for all of its customers in full at the time the booking is made. In order to protect you in the event of cancellation, Sunshine is obliged by the Package Travel Regulations to refund cancellations within 14 days, but this assumes that airlines will have refunded within 7 days in line with the requirements on airlines under EU261. Airlines have not complied with this law for the last 4 months and Sunshine has been one of the loudest advocates lobbying regulators and government to get them to impose the law for the benefit of all consumers. Clearly travel companies cannot afford to refund flight monies without receipt of refunds from airlines and of course those airlines that we are waiting on refunds from are many times bigger than us and have had billions of pounds worth of support to ensure that they can pay these refunds via us to you.

We are currently waiting on confirmed timelines from each airline for refunds for holidays that were due to depart in May, June and July. We are in constant touch with the airline to do anything we can to make this process happen more quickly. Once we have received the refund from the airlines, we will do our best to get the refund over to you in the shortest possible timeframe. As soon as this is received by us, it will be loaded directly into your booking and an email will be sent to you detailing how this can be collected.

Unless we have communicated otherwise, we’re delighted to say that your holiday can still go ahead as planned and you can start looking forward to your beach break. You'll also find plenty of travel information and more frequently asked questions on this page.

The situation has been unpredictable, but we’re really excited to be able to get you back to the sunshine. We will be monitoring things closely and should anything change, we will be in touch right away.


Why have I not received my refund in full?
Your refund will be completed in two stages:

  • We will first be returning any monies paid towards the cost of your hotel and transfer. This refund will be paid in cash and will be credited to the payment card used at the time of booking.
  • Your flight costs will be refunded once we have received these from your airline. We are in contact with your airline to confirm that these also will be paid in cash. We are unable to commit to any time frame for this element of your refund as this is down to your airline themselves, however please be assured that we will pass this over to you as soon as we receive it.

How long will refunds take?
As we are working through an unprecedented number of bookings, we ask that you be patient with us during this time and we will issue your refund as soon as possible.

Why do I not have a refund pending in 'My Sunshine'?
If you do not have a pending refund showing on your 'My Sunshine' page this is because we have not yet received your refund from the airline.

Will I receive my refund in cash?
We understand that there is some confusion in the travel industry relating to whether refunds will be paid in cash or rather in the form of a holiday voucher. Our customers are incredibly important to us and therefore, where we are able, it will always be our intention to offer refunds full in cash.

How can I claim a refund for any extra costs associated with my flight?
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.

I am due to travel from July onwards - can I still go on holiday?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has stated that the UK travel ban has been lifted for a number of destinations. Additionally, the UK has relaxed quarantine measures for all passengers returning to the UK from destinations that are at low risk of Covid-19 transmission.


Payments/cancellations

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.

My flights have not been cancelled by my airline however I wish to cancel my holiday. How much will this cost me?
Cancellation costs will vary depending on when you are due to travel and the type of holiday purchased. For full cancellation costs please log into the ‘My Sunshine’ area of the website where you can see a full breakdown of costs and – if you wish to cancel – submit a cancellation request.

I am unable to maintain payments due to redundancy or my wages being reduced. Can we delay payments?
When you log into the ‘My Sunshine’ area of the website, there is an option to change the date of your next instalment payment. If you are unable to make a payment, as per the original booking terms and conditions, you will need to send us a message through ‘My Sunshine’.

Can I remove individuals from the booking, rather than cancel entirely?
You can make changes to your booking by logging into the ‘My Sunshine’ area of the website. Please be aware that amendment charges will apply as per the original booking terms and conditions.

Customer protection

Will my insurance policy cover me if my holiday is cancelled?
We would recommend checking your individual travel insurance policy. If you have a Sunshine travel insurance policy please see our dedicated FAQs page for a complete breakdown of your coverage.

Do I need to take insurance out?
It’s always extremely important to take out travel insurance whenever you plan to travel. In regards to Coronavirus, you should refer to the individual policy of insurers to check that you’re covered. If you have a Sunshine travel insurance policy please see our dedicated FAQs page for a complete breakdown of your coverage.

Am I covered by ATOL?
If you have booked a flight-inclusive package holiday, you are financially-covered by ATOL.

If I am in a high risk group and have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks but I am due to travel before then, what do I do?
If a medical professional has advised against traveling, we would recommend that you contact your travel insurer. If you have a Sunshine travel insurance policy please see our dedicated FAQs page for a complete breakdown of your coverage.

Other

Why can't I contact you by phone?
We have been experiencing unprecedented call volumes, resulting in long waits and making it difficult for us to respond to the most urgent of queries. Our customers remain our number one priority and, to be able to respond to everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible, we have temporarily funnelled all customers through a single means of communication.

Please be assured that we are working through the most time-sensitive bookings as a priority and that we will contact you as soon as we are able.

What happens if I catch the virus on holiday?
In the event that you do feel unwell whilst abroad, we ask that you comply with instructions given by the health authorities. For the latest advice, please visit the FCO website.

What happens if we are quarantined when we are on holiday?
You can find up to date information on the FCO website.

What happens if there is an outbreak whilst I am away?
You can find up to date information on the FCO website.

I need to get in touch regarding my holiday.
If you need to contact Sunshine relating to Covid-19 (Coronavirus) you need to log into the ‘My Sunshine’ section of our website. Please be aware that we are dealing with an unprecedented volume of messages at the moment and that we will contact you as soon as we are able.
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