Jet2 has been contacting some customers in Spain to ask them to return to the UK earlier than planned, or risk having to make their own way home.
Customers have had flights back to the UK cancelled and been asked to return sooner than planned, with the airline telling them it has flights available until August 3.
David Jones, who has been touring Spain for two weeks with his partner Helen Rickard, was informed by text that their return flight had been cancelled.
Mr Jones said the company told him over the phone to “make our own arrangements” to get home if they did not want to accept a return flight a week early.
The couple were due to fly home from Alicante on August 8, and have also had a backup return flight with easyJet cancelled with no alternatives offered. They have now had to buy a return flight via Ryanair.
Mr Jones, from the West Midlands, told the PA news agency: “I understand times are difficult. It’s why we were prepared for quarantine and had an alternative flight in reserve.
“I’m very disappointed that both companies seem to play fast and loose with their legal obligations.”
Jet2 said that it has taken the decision to suspend flights and holidays to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza up to and including August 9.
CUSTOMER UPDATE – 28.07.20 pic.twitter.com/tL7UvyfZhj
— Jet2tweets (@jet2tweets) July 28, 2020
Flights to mainland Spain have already been cancelled and the company is operating empty outbound flights to pick customers up, until August 3.
A spokeswoman said: “We are contacting customers who are currently in these destinations to advise them of their options regarding flying back to the UK.
“We appreciate that some of our package holiday customers were due to stay on holiday for longer than this and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. It is important to note that we are responding to a very fast-moving situation with updates coming from the (UK) government with little or notice, and we have had to make decisions about our programme accordingly.
“We can assure these customers that we will be in touch with them to resolve any issues that they may have.”
Travellers returning to the UK from Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days, however current UK government advice is that there is no need to leave the country ahead of schedule.
The UK is advising against non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said holidaymakers have been stuck in the middle of a “tug of war” between government advice and travel company policies.
He said: “The government had said people on holiday in the Balearic and Canary Islands don’t need to return early, but Jet2 has decided that they should.
“Jet2 must now urgently clarify whether this is a requirement or a choice, and make it clear to customers whose package holiday has been cancelled what their rights are to a partial refund for the remainder of their trip.
“The past week has seen utter confusion for holidaymakers. The government needs to work more closely with the travel industry so that tour operators and airlines can better manage these changing requirements, and holidaymakers aren’t caught between following government advice or potentially losing the money for their holiday.”