Can you still visit countries close to Ukraine and Russia? The Mail’s travel team answer readers’ questions about holidays
A large-scale military attack on Ukraine by Russia, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, began on Thursday morning.
Here, the Daily Mail travel team answers readers’ questions about what this means for those traveling in Europe…
Q Is it safe to travel to neighboring countries of Ukraine, such as Hungary, Slovakia and Romania?
Those traveling to countries neighboring Ukraine should keep an eye on their airline’s website for updates.
A. Flights are operating as usual, but keep an eye on your airline’s website for updates as well as the latest travel information for each country at gov.uk. Be aware that there may be refugees arriving from Ukraine. Wizz Air has return flights from Luton to Budapest from £23 (wizzair.com), while Ryanair has returns Stansted to Bucharest from £37 and Stansted to Bratislava from £23 (ryanair.com).
Q What about the trip to Poland? Krakow, for example, is very close to the Ukrainian border.
A. It is 160 miles from Krakow to Ukraine but flights are operating as usual. Ryanair is offering return Stansted-Krakow flights from £10 next month (ryanair.com).
Q Can I get reimbursed for an organized trip covering countries close to Ukraine?
A. Not in the current state of things. Refunds will only be available if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to the country you plan to visit under the Package Travel Regulations (2018). See ‘What if there are political unrest that could impact my vacation before I have to travel?’ in the FAQ on abta.com/tips-and-advice/is-my-holiday-protected/new-package-travel-regulations.
Q We had planned a trip to Moscow and planned to go there in June. . .
A. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently only advising against travel to certain areas, including Chechnya, North Ossetia and areas close to the Ukrainian border. But that could change. You will also need a Russian visa; see “entry requirements” for Russia on gov.uk.
Regular direct flights to Russia from the UK now seem impossible, according to the Daily Mail travel team
Q What about flights to Russia? Are they still running?
A. Direct scheduled flights from the UK now appear impossible as Russia has banned British airlines from its airspace in retaliation for Britain banning Aeroflot. Google flights and Skyscanner.net shows no alternatives. However, Austrian Airlines is offering a round trip to Moscow via Vienna from £205 next month (austrian.com) and there are other possibilities on KLM.
Q Are refunds offered if you booked a direct flight to Russia?
A. Yes. British Airways was the only UK carrier to offer direct flights and is offering refunds.
Q Will banning UK flights from Russian airspace cause delays to other destinations beyond Russia?
A. Expect longer flight times to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok if you are flying with a UK carrier.
British Airways will not confirm exactly how long the trip will take, but it could be 6 p.m. instead of 12 p.m.
Flights to India and Pakistan will also be delayed due to bypassing Ukrainian/Russian airspace, with around an hour expected to be added to journeys.
The Mail Travel Team helps a reader with a question about getting a refund for a direct flight to Russia
Q Is there a way around the longer flights to the Far East and South East Asia?
A. Yes, fly with a non-UK airline that has been cleared to fly through Russian airspace.
Q What if you booked a cruise that included a stopover in St. Petersburg?
A. Cruise lines are looking for alternative ports. Atlas Ocean Voyages has already announced that it is replacing Saint Petersburg with two Finnish ports, Kotka and Mariehamn, as well as Saaremaa in Estonia.