Swine flu halts British travellers to Mexico

Growing concerns over swine flu has forced travel firms to start cancelling flights to Mexico.

As late as yesterday it was declared that outbound flights would not be affected, however new warnings from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all non-essential travel, leaving many holiday-makers bound for Meixco stranded at the airport.To date there are an estimated 10,000 Britons still at the heart of the outbreak where 152 people are now reported to have passed away.

British Airways are operating a normal service however te airline is offering its customers the choice of rebooking or switching destination. However Thomson, Kuoni, Thomas Cook and Virgin have all cancelled there flights for the first week of May.

Travellers can now claim a full refund or take the option of choosing a safer destination for the holidays.

“While we do appreciate that the new news may be a great disappointment to customers, we hope they will also understand that their health and safety is of paramount importance to us,” Thomson said.

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Concern has grown for the containment of the pandemic since the return of newly-weds Dawn and Iain Askham from Cancun last week with the bug, as well as a young woman returning from Mexico this morning being admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms.

Warnings come from Association of British Insurers says that policies vary and would-be travellers should check their policies.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health, said: “Travel insurance will normally cover the cost of cancelling a trip for a number of specified reasons, including illness, and redundancy. If the Government advises against travelling to a particular country or region, check your travel policy, as some may cover cancellation costs, although policies vary.”

The outbreak has cast a shadow over the slow recuperation of the global economic downturn for tourism. British Airways fell another 4 percent today, while owners of Thomson and First Choice, Tui Travel fell 6 percent.
Cruise ship operator Carnival fell 6 percent by lunchtime and easyJet shares plummeted nearly 7 percent.
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