Refunds, deposits and face masks: Simon Calder's travel advice during the Covid-19 crisis

The aviation industry is facing an unprecedented crisis. Credit: PA

It's a turbulent time for everyone at the moment, with many industries struggling to make it through the coronavirus crisis.

The aviation industry has been particularly badly affected, with airlines grounding their flights and cutting staff.

Luton-based Wizz Air did resume some of its flights on Friday in a bid to repatriate Brits stranded abroad, but for other airlines, the thought of returning to the skies any time soon still seems like a distant pipe dream.

  • Watch travel expert Simon Calder's advice

Travel expert Simon Calder has been following developments closely, and gave his thoughts to ITV News Anglia about the future of the travel industry.

He also talked about consumer rights during the coronavirus pandemic, and whether our flying habits have changed forever...

  • Can we expect social-distancing on flights?

Face masks could soon be a regular sight on planes. Credit: PA

Some airlines are doing it (social-distancing), basically just by missing out the middle seat, but Ryanair think it's absolutely pointless. Instead, quite a lot of people in the aviation industry are calling for temperature checks at airports, even though the international health authorities say they're basically a waste of time, and people wearing masks on flights. Again, the medical benefits are dubious but it's all about restoring customer confidence.

Simon Calder
  • Will the aviation industry ever return to 'normal'?

Ryanair is set to cut 3,000 jobs. Credit: PA

People are talking about recovery in the aviation industry - I don't quite see it like that. I think we're going to go to a new place, with quite possibly a lot fewer business travellers because they'll all be video conferencing and I'm just not sure how many of us are going to be tempted to make the number of flights we were lucky enough to make in 2019.

Simon Calder
  • What should I do if I've already laid down a deposit?

Airports are deserted at the moment. Credit: PA

Anybody who's got a deposit paid on a trip, and they're being asked for the balance round about now, the first thing to do is talk to the company and say: 'Can you possibly let me defer the payment of the balance because we don't know when the trip's going to go ahead.' But, ultimately, if you can afford to pay it, then do, because that way either you'll get a great holiday, or you'll get a full refund. If you don't pay the balance, the only certainty is you'll lose the deposit.

Simon Calder
  • When can I expect my refund to be paid?

Flights have been cancelled across the world. Credit: PA

People are entitled to cash refunds. The thing is, you are not going to get that money any time soon. Ryanair said if you've got a flight booked in May, it could take six months to pay the money back. Holiday companies are also having a dreadful time, they can't possibly meet the 14-day deadline in most cases. So, you've got to be patient.

Simon Calder