Travelers want to cancel flights to Bangkok: “Ask for lots of money”


A travel agent hosts a Ynet studio and talks about cancellations (Photo: Avi Chai)

The day afterThe Israeli Ministry of Health has expanded its warnings about the Corona virus, And recommended “consider the necessity of travel” to Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan, in addition to the travel warning given to China, we spoke with various tourism industry officials to try to estimate the damages. “The whole world of tourism, and especially the world of organized travel, is currently in the braking war against the fear factor,” said Haim Peres, a travel agent from a travel grenade company hosted by Ynet.
When asked how many cancellations were recorded in recent days among travelers, Pesach replied: “Quite a few, even a lot – Thailand, Vietnam and China.” Pesach added: “It’s not easy. People have booked a trip for the whole family. They tell you they don’t want to travel. It puts you in an unpleasant situation.”

The travel agent emphasized that as long as airlines fly to Thailand, the flights there will not be canceled. “We have decided to adopt the Foreign Ministry position and not the Health Ministry position,” he said, referring to the conflict that broke out yesterday between the government ministries when the Foreign Ministry criticized the Ministry of Health’s warning. “Nowhere in the world have they ruled out traveling to certain destinations, which is how it should be,” Pesach concluded.

Fear of Corona at Bangkok AirportFear of Corona at Bangkok Airport

Tests and masks at Bangkok Airport

(Photo by EPA)

Those not waiting for a Foreign Ministry official travel warning are the Golan family from Haifa, who are planning to fly to Thailand for a Bat Mitzvah trip to the twin girls for the end of the month. “It sucks,” Shiri said of the family’s mother, speaking to Ynet. “We broke a savings box for the trip and took freedom from work, but we realized that being on such a vacation with masks in crowded Bangkok is scary.” The Golan family strongly criticized El Al, which asked them to pay $ 230 cancellation fees per person. “We have encountered opacity,” Shiri argued, “saying that as long as there is no travel warning to Thailand, the flights are in order. We want to recalculate the route.”

Golan songs and her familyGolan songs and her family

The Golan family, want to stay in the country

(Photo: From a private collection)

Another complaint received by Ynet reads: “The state is abandoning us, we are a family that is supposed to go to Thailand in three weeks, the Ministry of Health recommends not to go, El Al asks for a lot of money for rejection or cancellation of the trip. Where does the government want it to go and abduct the virus and bring it to Israel? Please ask someone to ask about coming for civilians! “

El Al said in response that “no travel warning has been issued to Thailand, not in Israel and to our knowledge in any other country in the world, and unlike publications, there are no directives on isolation or special tests for the public coming from Thailand to Israel.

Advocate Ehud Pai, who specializes in aviation and tourism law, explained to Ynet that “when there is a formal warning from the Ministry of Health to avoid traveling to a specific destination, as it does with China, airlines should allow passengers to cancel their pre-booked flight tickets and return Their money back without cancellation fees. However, since there is no similar warning to other Asian countries, most airlines do not allow passengers to cancel their flight tickets without cancellation fees, and these passengers do not appear to have the automatic right to cancel flights without cancellation fees. “

Avi Alcabetz, a tour guide in Thailand who spoke to Ynet, said: “There are still no cancellations, but there are a lot of debates and questions that are repeated in Facebook groups – whether to travel or cancel. Right now people prefer to wait until the last minute to cancel at no cost, or They are waiting for airlines to take the first step and be instructed to cancel flights. In fact, passengers will be able to get their money back or make a date change without the cost of a change fee. “

Alcabz said about Thailand: “People cancel cases in the next two weeks, but March is still waiting to see what develops. If a large wave of cancellations begins, then there will be no small financial damage. So, not to cause unnecessary damage , My recommendation is to wait for cancellations until the last day you can cancel free of charge, or just wait for an order from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Health that prohibits flights to Thailand, so airlines will be responsible for cancellation, allowing passengers to recover their money or make a date change without Payment of change fee. “

Fear of Corona at Bangkok AirportFear of Corona at Bangkok Airport

An air crew with masks at Bangkok airport

(Photo by EPA)

Alcabetz raised another interesting point: “People want to cancel not only because of the fear of Thailand, but also because they know that when they return to the country from Thailand, and even completely healthy (without any heat and without any signs), and even if the Ministry of Health order does not take them and they should not sit at home In isolation, the principal will still call from work and ask them not to come in the next two weeks. Suddenly, the teacher and school principal will call, telling parents that they will not accept the children who have returned from Thailand. “

The tour guide wanted to emphasize that, in his opinion, “the noise is greater than the realities of the field, at least as far as Thailand is concerned, and right now it is impossible to know where it will lead and where it will develop. The stress, fear and hustle are greater than the chance of contracting, if one is strictly adhering to hygiene rules – hand washing. , Antiseptics and all other rules recommended by the World Health Organization. ”

This approach was reinforced this morning at the Ynet studio by Prof. Itamar Grotto, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Health, who explained that there is no impediment to travel to Thailand: China’s recommendation is unequivocal, and even prohibited from going there. As for the other places to consider the importance of travel, I would not tell anyone to cancel – our goal is not to bring the virus here without us having control over it. “Prof. Grotto also said that he himself would not cancel a trip to Thailand.

Prof. Grotto at Ynet studio (Photo: Alex Gemberg, Abby Hai)

Mrs Torres’s wife said there was a delay and a slowdown in purchasing parcels to the east, and an increase in orders to other places. The tourism company noted that there was a 30% jump in domestic tourism bookings compared to the same period last year. The company also emphasized that there are more invitations to Europe and the United States that are perceived as less frightening. Another temporary beneficiary is South Africa, which also has an increase in bookings.

Torres CEO Ephraim Kramer added that the company canceled trips to Vietnam and Cambodia. “There is some hysterical situation that I think is excessive,” said Kramer. “Many Israelis have canceled trips to the east, flights from El Al to China and Hong Kong are canceled anyway – and we are refunding the money. As for the rest of the places, we don’t force people to travel when the health ministry says not to travel. “

Kramer added: “We have suffered huge losses of millions as a result, no one will bring it back, but we are fortunate. The Israelis reacted with excessive hysteria. We feel a movement moving from East to South Africa, even places like Georgia where they did not contract, and Europe will be hot at all In April and May. ”

As for more effects for the next six months, CEO of Torres wife added, adding: “The Chinese will not be coming to Europe this year, many hotel rooms in Europe have been vacated and prices will fall. The Chinese won’t come to Israel either, but their market isn’t big here, so I don’t think that will affect us here. ”

That’s how an Airways cell company misses (Photo: Reuters)

The CEO of the tourism company added that “the corona is a type of influenza, and as it gets hotter it will disappear. I expect that April-May will be a frenzy of flights, prices will go up a lot, and I’m anticipating a summer frenzy. The cruises also hit a very hard hit, and there will be a huge surplus of places on cruises. The Israelis will be cruising en masse, and cruises will be possible in the divorce. “

The Flying Carpet Company said: “The flying carpet wholesaler did not request vacation cancellations, because the vacation packages offered by the company are invited to Mediterranean basin destinations, which are safe to reach, according to the Ministry of Health. Most of the bookings are for Passover and Summer holidays, and demand is particularly high. To destinations like Greece, Cyprus, Sochi, Batumi and Turkey. In any case, the flying carpet follows the Ministry of Health instructions and maintains continuous contact with airlines and suppliers. “

Although Al announced yesterday cancellation of two flights from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong this week (and vice versa), they emphasized that this was a decision made following a daily assessment in light of low demand and pressure from the East flight, along with uncertainty over the outbreak of the Corona virus. It should be noted that even today, Hong Kong tickets can still be booked for next week.

Cathay Pacific Airlines, which also makes flights to Hong Kong, has slowed down passenger traffic to the east. Although the company has considered spreading the virus to suspend its flights, they are currently operating as usual. Due to low demand, in the coming month one flight canceled with other flights was canceled, and in March another ten monthly flights will be canceled. This is about 30% of Cathay’s monthly flights in Israel, and the cancellation was made following a later decision by the Far Eastern company management as part of its deal with the virus that is spreading in Asia.

Corona Virus – Latest Updates

  • Quorum of the Dead in China: 908

  • The number of new patients in China in the last day: 3,062

  • Number of patients on ship in Japan: 65

  • The virus has spread to 27 countries

  • $ 10 billion has been invested in China to prevent the spread of the virus

The Red Mail

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