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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Travelling: Concerned, need advice?
Police at Heathrow airport
Armed Police greet passengers at Heathrow airport
Travel procedures worldwide have been overhauled following last week's suicide attacks in America.

If you are now planning to travel abroad, there are many things to worry about.

What about practical issues like security requirements? Will your insurer pay out if you are caught out by delays?

BBC News Online has compiled all the information you need, from contact numbers and websites of travel agents, tour operators, and advice on where to get information about destinations and new security arrangements.

I want to go abroad, but am concerned about my safety?

If you are travelling abroad and are concerned about your personal safety, your first port of call should be the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The FCO's website lists clear and practical travel advice on its website for each country.

If you have further questions, you can call the Travel Advice Unit on 020 7008 0232/0233.

And what about travelling to the United States?

There is no official warning against travelling to the US.

If you want to find out which airports have passed security checks within the US, the Federal Aviation Administration's website has a list of airports.

For up to date information, contact the US Department of Transportation's website.

Alternatively, the UK's Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has a website with security advice, with links to airports, airlines and news.

Can I get a refund as my flight has been cancelled?

If your flight has been cancelled, you should be able to get a refund.

Contact your airline for details.

I am going on a package holiday to America. Can I cancel?

More than 90% of package holidays are booked through members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO).

The FTO has agreed free cancellation to customers on package holidays as follows:

Those travelling anywhere in the USA and Canada up to midnight Tuesday 18 September.

People planning to go on package holidays to New York and Washington DC up to midnight Friday 21 September.

Check with your tour operator to see if it the firm is a member, or try the FTO's website which has a list of members.

The current FTO policy is also outlined on the ABTA website.

I've changed my mind. Can I get a refund?

Airline contact numbers
Air Canada: 0870 5247226
Air India: 020 8745 1000
American Airlines: 0845 778 9789
British Airways: 08457 799 977
British Midland: 0870 607 0555
Continental: 01293 827 411
El Al: 020 8862 7000
KLM/North West: 0870 507 4074
Qantas: 0845 774 7767
Singapore Airlines: 020 8745 4151
Virgin: 01293 747 747

You are very unlikely to get a full refund if you have simply changed your mind and no longer want to travel abroad - even if you have travel insurance.

If you do not want to travel, you will incur the normal cancellation charges, which will be outlined in the booking conditions.

In general, tour operators and airlines only offer refunds or alternative destinations after the FCO has issued travel guidance.

Check with your tour operator, airline and insurer to see if you can get help.

What should I expect at the airport?

All airlines are advising passengers to arrive early for their flights, as security at British airports has increased following the American attacks.

Check with your airline to ensure you arrive in good time to check in at the airport.

Bobbies on the airport "beat"

In addition to the normal searches, you can expect a search at the departure gate and extra checks on cabin baggage.

Security measures vary depending on which airline you are travelling with - some have banned hand luggage altogether.

Contact your airline for guidance if you are concerned.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) issued a revised directive to UK airports following last week's attacks.

As a consequence, these items are now prohibited from hand luggage:

  • Toys or replica guns (plastic or metal)
  • catapults
  • household cutlery
  • knifes with blades of any length
  • paper knifes
  • razor blades
  • tradesmen's tools
  • darts
  • scissors
  • hypodermic syringes
  • knitting needles
  • sporting bats
  • snooker cues.

Will my travel insurer pay out?

Insurers are shoring-up their defences in the wake of the American atrocities.

Even the best travel insurance policy is unlikely to cover cancellation and curtailment as a result of "acts of war" or "acts of terrorism (see link).

Further sources:

    The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA): 020 7637 2444.
  • Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL): 020 7453 6350.
  • The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO): 020 8744 9280.
  • The Federation of Tour Operators (FTO): 01273 477 722.
  • Air Transport Users Council (AUC): 020 7240 6061.
  • Airtours: 01706 909 050.
  • Trade winds and Jetset: 0870 751 0006.
  • Lunn Poly: 0870 166 7070.
  • Thomas Cook emergency helpline: 01733 416 500.
  • Counter terrorism advice for Londoners and London businesses, from the Police Terrorism Hotline: 0800 789 321.
  • The American Embassy in London: 0207 499 9000.
  • Helpline for people worried about UK family and friends: 020 7008 0000.
  • The London Tourist Board's accomodation booking agencies: 08000 687 060.
  • Office of Fair Trading (OFT): 08457 22 44 99
See also:

16 Sep 01 | UK
Flights backlog eases
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