THOUSANDS of Brits face having their holiday plans ruined by coronavirus as British Airway cancel flights to bug-ravaged Italy.
The UK government has advised against “all but essential travel” to 10 towns in the north of the country, primarily in the Lombardy region.
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More than 300 people have been infected across the country, with 11 dead.
British Airways has cancelled dozens of flights to Milan due to lack of demand.
And the crisis continues to grow in Europe as Spain, France, Croatia, Austria and Switzerland have all recorded new cases this week.
According to travel experts, the outbreak could cost airlines around the world £23billion.
The number of cases worldwide has overtaken China, the epicentre of the crisis, for the first time.
Brazil reported its first case on Tuesday meaning the killer bug has spread to every continent on the planet except Antarctica.
Meanwhile, Easyjet and Ryanair passengers have slammed the airlines for not allowing them to change their flights or issue refunds to Italy.
While the government has warned against travel to the 10 areas, other parts of the country such as Venice and Milan remain unaffected by closures.
But, Brits are being warned to self-quarantine themselves if they have travelled to parts of the country, leading to concerned tourists complaining on Twitter.
One person said: ” I find it disgusting that you are not cancelling flights or offering me a refund on my trip to Venice next week!
“You should be held responsible for the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus as you are happier to fly spreaders around the world than offer refunds!”
Jade wrote: “Don’t think it’s much to ask for some common sense to be applied by airlines when it comes to passenger concerns surrounding #coronavirus. A little bit of leeway when it comes to being able to reroute/change flights without a fee would be helpful. @Ryanair I’m looking at you.”
Rachel said to easyJet: “I think its appalling you are not refunding flights to Milan this week. The Coronavirus has spread and already claimed lives and you would rather my partner and I fly there and potentially get it than refund us.”
Some airlines are allowing passengers refunds to Italy – Greek airline Aegean Airlines is not cancelling flights, but will allow passengers full refunds if they no longer want to fly.
British Airways is allowing travellers heading to northern Italy up until March 2 to change their flights free of charge.
A number of airlines have cancelled flights to China due to coronavirus, but are unlikely to do the same to Italy until the UK Foreign Office updates its travel advice.
To change a Ryanair flight, fees range from £35 to £95 depending on when and where the flight is going, while easyJet costs range from £25 to £52 – as well as the fare difference for the new flight.
Neither airline allow full ticket refunds, and travel insurance is unlikely to help either.
A Telegraph report claims that just nine per cent of travel insurance policies will pay out for coronavirus cancellations.
A Ryanair spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “At present all Ryanair flights are operating as normal. We will follow all public health instructions that are issued.”
An easyJet spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “There is currently no change to advice for airlines, so our flights are operating as normal and standard terms and conditions on tickets continue to apply.
“We would like to reassure customers that our existing policies and procedures are in line with the guidance provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and EASA. We remain in regular contact with them and will amend our procedures if and when required if guidance changes.
“The health and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is the airline’s highest priority.”
We’ve explained what the latest travel advice if travelling to Italy, with Milan and Venice affected.
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