'Beyond disappointing' - no big family Christmas as travel rules fluctuate

Ryanair jets parked up on the runway of Dublin airport

Mr Dawson said that Ryanair's policy of refusing refunds if the flight isn't cancelled is 'inflexible' - Credit: PA

A Framlingham family's Christmas plans have been upended by new vaccination rules in Spain. 

Father-of-two Matthew Dawson said his family have planned this trip to see his dad living in Spain three times - but with ever-changing Covid rules and travel restrictions it hasn't ever happened. 

He said: "It's been two years since we last saw my dad - we were over with him in January 2020 - and it's been hard being apart. 

"He actually got Covid and was in intensive care for a week, which was a very worrying time. We weren't sure he was going to pull through, but thankfully he's doing okay now. 

"When most of the travel restrictions were eased, we decided we'd go for Christmas, but Spain have now changed their vaccination rules." 

All visitors over the age of 12 must have had both vaccines - but Mr Dawson's 12-year-old son has only had his first and won't be eligible to have his second until January, after the family was due to fly. 

"The boys were all excited to go and see their grandad for Christmas and are now very disappointed - but I understand that those are Spain's rules and it's hard times. 

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"We're most worried about the money we're set to lose because although our insurance covers us for if one of us gets Covid, it doesn't cover government rule changes. 

"And Ryanair has been very inflexible in letting us rearrange our plans. Most other carriers are being accommodating, offering families the chance to move their flights at no extra cost. 

"Right now, we're set to lose £45 for each one-way flight we reschedule and up to £1,000 because flights in October, when we want to reschedule to, are so much cheaper but we're not going to be refunded the difference. 

"It's beyond disappointing - we really wanted to be able to have the family together for Christmas but now we might be taking an even bigger financial hit." 

Ryanair policy states: "Once a Ryanair flight is operational, and does not have a delay exceeding 5 hours, then it is not possible to get a refund. All Ryanair flights are changeable but they cannot be cancelled."

Ryanair has been approached for comment about this specific case.

The spread of the Omicron variant may mean further changes to travel policy, with France banning all non-essential travel from the UK, and Italy bringing back mandatory testing prior to arrival.

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