Jet2 and TUI cancels ALL flights to Rhodes as Greece wildfires rage
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The travel providers confirmed the news on Sunday, with Jet2 saying that it will continue to fly planes out without passengers in order to bring customers back to the UK, while TUI said that all of its planned journeys up to and including Tuesday, July 25, will no longer go ahead.
The fire on the Greek island has been raging for more than five days.
No injuries have been reported on Rhodes so far. However, 3,500 people have been evacuated with a further 1,200 expected to be moved out.
Jet2 said in a statement on Sunday: "We have cancelled all flights and holidays that are due to depart to Rhodes today (five flights in total).
"We will be contacting affected customers to update them, and to let them know that they will be provided with a full refund and the opportunity to rebook.
"We will fly those five aircraft to Rhodes with no customers onboard so that we can bring customers back to the UK on their scheduled flight."
A TUI spokesperson said: "The situation in the Southern part of Rhodes remains volatile and challenging.
"Due to this and considering the impact on local communities being affected, TUI has decided to cancel all flights and booked holidays to Rhodes for departures up to and including Tuesday, July 25."
The UK Foreign Office also updated its travel advice for those who have planned a holiday to Greece in the coming days.
They said: "Extreme temperatures are affecting many areas of Greece and there are a number of active wildfires including in Rhodes.
"If you are planning to travel to Rhodes, please check with your travel operator or hotel prior to travel that the area you plan to visit is not impacted by the current wildfires."
If the travel firm or airline cancels your trip you can expect a full refund within two weeks. If the flight is going ahead, then your rights depend on whether you are on a proper package holiday or have booked flights and accommodation separately.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, holidaymakers can cancel for a refund “if unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occur at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity which significantly affect the performance of the package or the carriage of passengers to the destination”.
These are the companies’ policies for imminent departures as of 2pm on Sunday.
easyJet: all easyJet Holidays packages up to and including Tuesday, July 25 are cancelled, with full refunds offered.
Flight only passengers booked to travel to or from Rhodes until 29 July can transfer for free to another date or can request a flight voucher by calling easyJet Customer Services on 0330 551 5151.
Jet2: all flights and holidays that are due to depart to Rhodes up to and including 30 July have been cancelled, with full refunds offered.
Tui: “We have cancelled all outbound flights to Rhodes up to and including Tuesday 25 July. Passengers due to travel on Wednesday will be offered a fee free amend to another holiday or the option to cancel for a full refund.”
Ryanair: “Flights to/from Rhodes Airport are currently operating as normal and unaffected by the forest fires. Please check your Ryanair app where you will be notified of any changes to your Ryanair flight.”
British Airways: passengers booked to Rhodes in the next week can rebook for a different date up to November 2023.
Thomas Cook: the online travel agent is allowing customers due to depart to holidays in the affected areas in Kiotari and Lardos up to July 31 to cancel their holidays for a full refund. Customers booked to travel to elsewhere in Rhodes on Monday are being offered full refunds.
A spokesperson said: “For customers who are travelling on Tuesday we will be in touch with them before 6am on Monday morning to discuss their options.”
Those who have booked for August are being advised that no cancellations are taking place at this stage.
Depending on events over the next few days, travel firms will make decisions on their plans for the peak summer month.
For any British tourists currently caught up in the situation in Rhodes, the Foreign Office has also issued the following advice: "If you are a British national affected by wildfires in Rhodes near Kiotari, Pefkoi, Lindos and the surrounding area, please follow the guidance from the emergency services.
"Call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger.
"The Greek government has established a Crisis Management Unit to respond to the situation in Rhodes. They can be contacted on +30 210 368 1730. For 24/7 British consular assistance, call +4420 7008 5000."