Mar 30, 2016

Posted by in Destinations, Travel News, Trip Advice | 168 Comments

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Should I travel to Egypt?

As a result of a plane crash on October 31, 2015 in Egypt’s Sinai region that claimed the lives of all 224 passengers, the British government has suspended flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.

Sharm El Sheikh

The situation left a number of British nationals stranded in Egypt, and, due to the nature of the incident, it may also be causing concern for those scheduled to fly to the popular resort in the coming weeks and months.

UK carriers have temporarily suspended flights to and from Sharm El Sheikh Airport until further notice in accordance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) advice.

I have a holiday booked to Egypt in the near future – can I change or cancel my booking?

The current situation in Sharm El Sheikh is fast moving. If you have a holiday coming up and are concerned, we suggest you contact your tour operator or airline to see what your options are should you want to cancel or choose another destination.

Other popular tourist resorts, including the Red Sea resort Hurghada, and other destinations including Luxor, Qina, Aswan, Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, remain open to tourism and it’s business as usual.

Airlines and travel companies have different policies at the moment, so check the website of the company you are travelling with or contact them direct.

Thomas Cook, for example, has cancelled all flights and holidays to Sharm El Sheikh up until and including October 31, 2016 and is allowing customers travelling until then to cancel or rebook another holiday free of charge, with a £30pp discount on the future holiday if it is taken before October 31. Booking conditions remain as normal for travel after this date, but it could change according to FCO advice. See further information here.

Thomson has cancelled the majority of flights to Sharm El Sheikh up to and including September 30, 2016 with two flights (Gatwick to Sharm El Sheikh and Manchester to Sharm El Sheikh) currently scheduled to depart from May 26 should the FCO advice change. However, all customers travelling up to and including September 30, 2016 who wish to cancel will receive a full refund or the option to amend their holiday to another destination on sale. If the new holiday departs on or before October 31, 2016, there is a £30pp discount. See further information here.

British Airways has cancelled all flights up to and including June 30, 2016. Customers on these flights can claim a full refund, rebook to a later date or change their destination. British Airways does not run any scheduled flights to or from Sharm el Sheikh in July, August or the first half of September. See further information here.

EasyJet has announced that all flights to Sharm El Sheikh from Manchester, Luton and Gatwick have been cancelled for the summer due to the current government advice and a drop in demand for the route; flights will not resume until the government’s FCO information advises otherwise. The carrier is still planning to fly to Sharm El Sheikh on a twice-weekly basis from London Stansted from May 29, 2016 if FCO advice changes. Find out more here.

Monarch has cancelled flights up to and including October 30, 2016.

Whoever you are travelling with, we advise you to keep a close eye on both the FCO website and your provider’s site.

If you are travelling further in the future, keep an eye on events in the news and on the FCO site as, if you cancel now, you may be liable to the usual cancellation fees.

I’m currently in Egypt – what should I do?

It’s important to understand that the FCO has not changed any of its advice regarding staying in Sharm El Sheikh itself. As it stands, only the transport via flights in and out of Sharm El Sheikh Airport has been affected.

Holidaymakers who were in Sharm El Sheikh when flights were suspended on November 4 should now be back in the UK following a number of flights where special security measures were put in place.

During the delays after the suspension of flights, those on package holidays covered by the ATOL scheme should have had any extended accommodation arrangements organised by their tour operator while those travelling independently should have been offered a welfare package from EU airlines including accommodation and meals, and should refer to their travel insurance policy to find out if any additional costs will be covered as a result of the delay.

I have a holiday booking in 2016, but don’t want to go now – what can I do?

If the FCO advice on the safety of the Sharm El Sheikh resort continues to remain the same it is unlikely that you will be able to cancel your holiday and receive a refund. However, as mentioned above, different companies have different policies so check with yours.

Egypt’s popular tourist resorts are currently deemed safe to travel to by the FCO and so carriers and tour operators will continue to take bookings as normal and apply normal booking conditions to those holidays and flights in case of cancellation. The FCO has not changed its advice around travel following the recent knife attack in a Hurghada hotel on January 8, 2016.

We advise you contact your provider directly if you are concerned about a holiday you have booked for 2016 and beyond.

I have made independent arrangements to travel to the country – do I have any rights?

If you cancel your trip you may lose money if the travel company you have booked with is not offering free cancellations on its arrangements. Independent travellers with future bookings should contact their airline and hotel companies to discuss options open to them.

You should also consult your travel insurance company to ensure that your policy is still valid and you are aware of the cover you have extended to you for travel disruption, for example.

General safety advice for Egypt

Currently, certain parts of Egypt are deemed as unsafe for British nationals and the FCO advises against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai and all but essential travel to South Sinai (with the exception of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq), and the areas west of the Nile Valley and the Nile Delta regions. However, this is not new advice.

What if I travel to parts of Egypt against the advice?

If you decide to visit areas the FCO advises against, your insurance cover will be invalid from all companies.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket comments:

“The most important thing around holidays to Egypt is to keep abreast of the situation using reliable news services and, of course, the FCO travel advice. This should be viewed along with the advice of your operator or airline and that advice should be followed at all times.

“By booking an ATOL-backed package rather than a DIY holiday you have extra protection for your trip so that if this kind of situation arises you will be looked after by your holiday provider rather than having to fend for yourself. You should also consult your travel insurance policy to ensure you know what you are covered for and if in any doubt contact them before committing to any additional expenses.”

Please note: All facts were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

  1. Maggie Whitbread says:

    Thank you for a very interesting factual report on Egypt. I have booked to travel to Sharm El Sheikh on August 6th.

    Your report has made me feel comfortable and happy that our family holiday will go ahead.

    Obviously it is a sad time for the Egyptian people. I sincerely hope the situation will be resolved soon.

    • Jamie Humphreys says:

      Have just returned from another amazing week in sharm.it is a bit quieter than usual, as ive been a number of times.but no signs at all of what is going on in Cairo. .have some good friends in sharm and the trouble in Cairo is NOT refected in sharm, and never will be.

      • Mrs Julie Channon says:

        We dont go on holiday to feel trapped we like to see the people culture and country we are visiting at the moment because of Egypts problems you can not go on any tours. Because of safety reasons you have to stay in the resorts. British airways who we had booked with would not allow us to switch destinations even though we where willing to pay for the change and difference in the price they say fco deem it safe. Well ok but not going on my holiday to be held to hostage in hotel because british airways say its safe but you are not allowed out of hotel because it is not safe. We are not going British airways can keep our money.

        • Jan stark says:

          Have just returned from sharp el sheik 14/11/2015. Did not affect us going out of hotel or going on trips. The area is very quiet at present as not many airlines are flying in. I personally did not find much outside of resort hotel but then at 60 I want rest and relaxation. The main issue is with the airport security at shark airport not with the resort. We found the Egyptians working in the hotels very pleasant and hardworking. We treat people how we like to be treated and this does make a difference. Some holiday makers are quite rude and treat staff as being lower than themselves forgetting they would not have their holidays if not for these hard workers. Hope you enjoy your holiday.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree with all your comments, my son is there at the moment and he says all of the people he has come into contact with there have been brilliant. He feels very sorry for the businesses in Sharm as it is very quiet but he is stopping in Dahab and he says it is great.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m due to go there March 16 so hoping all will be ok I do think I could just as easily be in danger if I went to London or anywhere else

          • concerened says:

            I agree with your comment, there are safety issues world wide, I have lived in Sharm for 9yrs now, and have seen a difference since Mubarak was ousted especially the attitude of the men, I actually went to Alexandria for some peace,unfortunately It was no better. If you are staying in a Hotel you will have a great time, and the staff are very accommodating, many of my friends work in the hotels. My heart goes out to most of the workers as their families rely upon them to put food on the table, I have first hand experience as to how poor the Egyptian people are after staying in their homes from Cairo to Aswan. My one wish is to see Sharm getting back to the bustling resort I came to love and call my home

          • Hi Jan

            Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Brenda says:

            I went to Egypt in September with my friend. This was our first time there, and i fell in love with its people and the country. The Egyptians were lovely people, and couldn’t do enough for us. Its a shame about what happened to the Russian Plane. and all the people on it. My heart goes out to all their family’s as well. I hope in time it will get back to normal.

          • we have booked a holiday the end of mat 2016 we do not wont to go we are going with thomsons we are going to go to mexico instead so we will have to pay £50 to change l do non,t think this is fair

          • Hi Tony

            I do understand the frustration at having to pay an administration fee, however holidays for these dates have not yet been suspended for the Sharm El Sheikh area and as I write Hurghada holidays are continuing as normal. Therefore it is reasonable that holiday companies can charge an admin fee when it is your decision not to travel to the original destination. Note that if you holiday had been cancelled, you would have been entitled to a full refund or a free admin fee to change to another destination plus £50 per person discount.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • This situation is extremely unfair. I have a family holiday booked for 25th March, flights are suspended until 23rd. My balance is payable end of this week, but I cannot be assured of going, nor can can I switch destinations because we booked with Red Sea holidays. Seems like a political sham to me, not determining Easter schedule by now??

          • Anonymous says:

            Hi
            We also meant to be going March 25th and Thomson still saying they are flying then….bit concerned….

          • Hi there

            Where are you travelling to in Egypt so we can advise?

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • SarahL says:

            I am in a similar situation.
            I fly 17.03.16 but easyjet not expected to resume flights until 29.02.16 at the earliest.
            Holiday company only sold me the holiday 3 days before the stabbing in Hurghada. I thought flights to Sharm were back in place. There was nothing (no pop up etc) to make me aware that flights were currently suspended.
            They happily took my money & said nothing. No I’m stuck with the situation !

          • Hi there

            FCO travel advice has not changed for Hurghada and flights have not been suspended at any time since the downing of the Russian jet last year. Flights to Sharm have been although travel is till allowed to the resort areas, just not on flights into the area. There is no reason for a company to place a pop up on flights being suspended to a different area to where you are looking at, as the advice is not relevant for Hurghada.

            There is quite a distance between the two areas and the FCO has not registered any change in advice for visitors to the Hurghada area, despite last week’s attack at a hotel.

            If you are uncomfortable with what you have bought, talk to your travel company and see what options you have, although if you wish to change or cancel your holiday it is likely that you will be liable for cancellation or administration charges at this point.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • I am due to fly to Hurgarda for four weeks on 26th January. My daughter is joining me for the first week. I had originally booked for 6 weeks to go to Tunisia. Events there saw full refund following cancellation. We then booked for Sharm, 5 weeks for me and one for my daughter. Again, events conspired against us and we had a full refund; both those bookings were with Thomas Cook. Staff in the Torquay branch were unfailingly helpful throughout but prices at other destinations had by then risen and they were unable to help with a fresh booking within my price range.. So…we went on line and booked for Hurgarda with Co-op travel via an on-line agent. Bad move as it turns out. Despite the Co-op being part of Thomas Cooks outfit the agent has proven unsympathetic, uncaring and disinterested in a conversation about my concerns following the recent Hurgarda incident. What had originally been my dream escape from the English winter and the problems it causes to those with arthritis has turned into something of a nightmare. The agent refused to discuss the possibility of re-booking to Morocco and spoke of the Hurgarda incident as ‘…nothing – it was just local drunks arguing’….. Nice one Co-op. I must admit that instead of excitement and anticipation I am dreading the forthcoming holiday. What awaits? Police advice to stay in the hotel? Canceled trips when we had been looking forward so much to visiting the cultural sites and mingling with locals in their own locales? Not a happy prospect…..

          • Hi Pam

            I do have a lot of sympathy with you here. However the FCO advice for Hurghada is very different to that of Tunisia and Sharm and the nature of the recent incident was also not comparable. However the agent should at least have been understanding before explaining why full refunds are not currently on offer to consumers for holidays booked to that part of the Red Sea.

            Those who I have spoke to who have been holidaying in Hurghada say it is relatively quiet since the Russians pulled out of flying into the country and those running businesses there are desperate for trade. It will have to be your decision on whether you continue to travel or not and unfortunately the reasons behind the current situation are not due to the tour operators and travel agents but instead down to Governments and those who oppose them.

            I do hope that wherever you end up travelling to you enjoy your trip and get some relief from your condition.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Rheo North says:

            yes I think very unfair. whether the FAO say the airport is open or not I have made the judgement that is not safe .. how can it be with these isis operating in the same country who have obviously managed to somehow get in the airport or bribe someone to put a bomb in the plane and looking at the newspapers.. it is even more of a worry that it’s all gone silent and no one knows what is going on in the investigation. Even though there were ‘security measure’s’ and the FAO say it is safe how can they really know ?!! look what happened ? so why would I want to go to a country and not feel safe isn’t it my right to have my money back? I have booked this holiday with my 4 year old son and I don’t want to risk him getting caught up in any of it. So my point is we have booked to go in April and because monarch have only cancelled up until 14th February we loose our money as the rest is due next week.utter disgrace in my opinion. These operators should go outside of their terms and conditions considering the circumstances and anyone not wanting to go anymore (because of a plane blowing up in the sky) not because of what the FAO says shoukd get their money back. how long is it going to take to make the place 100 percent safe ?! more than a year possibly !! so why these airlines are even considering going in the next few months is a disgrace to get people’s money who myself wish to cancel. I think people who have booked like me and no longer wish to go need to make complaints and get this sorted it’s not right!

          • Hi Bob,

            My girlfriend and I are considering travelling to Hurghada in April.

            We have read the FCO information but it doesn’t particularly provide specific recommendations. Obviously the situation can change between now and then, but in your professional opinion would you recommend travelling to the area or deem it to be too unsafe?

            Many thanks.

          • Hi Jon

            This is such a difficult question to answer.

            If I chose to travel to Hurghada I would take into consideration the general information for Egypt, knowing that at that time there was nothing specific for Hurghada I should be concerned about or aware of.

            However the choice to go anywhere has to be your own and each of us have differing views on our safety and security. Personally I am fairly relaxed about risk, however I do take precautions to ensure I am as safe as I can be but still enjoy my break. Others I know will not go anywhere if there has been a mere mention of problems in a country even if those issues are a long way away from where they are going. The choice has to be your own.

            The only other thing I can add is that if travel is allowed to an area and companies are taking bookings then if you choose not to travel you will be unlikely to get a refund or avoid any administration costs to change your booking. If you are booked to travel with a tour operator on an ATOL backed holiday (you will have been issued the paperwork for an ATOL licence) then you would be looked dafter if something happened while you were there including bringing you home and if the advice changed and flights were stopped you would be refunded ahead of the trip.

            Hope that helps you to make your decision.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Angela Idle says:

            We have just returned from a week in Hurghada, the area was quiet but trips were going ahead and everyone was relaxed. The hotel staff were lovely and friendly and apreciated our custom. The airport security was good, bags went through about 3 scanners then random checks were made on passengers arriving at departure gates, all electronic devices were scrutinised and swabbed. The police and airport staff were all polite and efficient, one English man kicked off as he was opposed to being searched, I heard the supervisor telling him he wanted to keep us safe after the Russian airplane came down, I thought the English bloke was an idiot and should have been happy with the measures taken. I personally can’t wait to get back to Sharm as I love the area and it’s people. You can get caught up in terrorism anywhere in the world, look at Paris. Be sensible and enjoy your life, if we scared to go anywhere then we are letting the terrorists win!

          • Hi Angela

            Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Its great to hear from someone who has just come back and to read such positive comments about the Hurghada.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Hi .
            I also just came back from Hurghada and in fact I’m going again tomorrow . I feel safe there and as they said you can caught in any place in world .
            if we stay scared so stay at home watch TV and watch us enjoying our holidays

          • Kimberley says:

            Hi, we were booked to go to Sharm on 28/4/16 with BA. BA cancelled all flights on Tuesday until 30/6/16 on advice from FO our friend who were travelling to meet us from Manchester (flying with Monarch) have been told their flights are still valid but subject to cancellation at any point up to the date of departure this leaves us in total limbo as we don’t want to rebook without our friends but their money is tied up with Monarch has anyone got any suggestions????

          • Hi there

            There is nothing you can do until Monarch have reviewed their position on this and is one of the downfalls of booking separately. I am fairly confident that Monarch will not fly the route as so many of their competitors have now already announced an extension of cancellation to May or June. However I cannot guarantee that.

            Be aware that BA have not cancelled their flights due to advice from the FO. The current advice is that you cannot fly direct to Sharm from the UK with no end date published by them. It is down to each individual airline to decide on how they interpret that for forward bookings and at what stage they choose to extend the cancellation of services and to which date. You will not that all airlines have differing dates published.

            While waiting you could research alternatives so you are ready to pounce on the best deal as soon as you know you are getting your money back.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Myself and my husband are due to go to Sensatori in Sharm on the 4th of June,(Thompsons)
            The balance of our holiday is due around the 12th of March, Were stressed as the time’s going on that they will not give us much notice in order that we can find an alterative holiday. They are willing to change it at a cost to us but we feel we’ve forked out enough!

            regards
            Joan

          • Hi Joan

            Unfortunately there is nothing you can do here except wait for Tui to decide what it is doing with its flying for the Thomson and First Choice brands. Until flights are cancelled then if you wish to change your holiday to another then the admin charges are imposed by the tour operator.

            I realise this is frustrating, however there is no alternative at present.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Michaela says:

            I would just like to say Egypt is a beautiful place I go to hurghada twice a year and have booked to go beginning of March I booked this after what had happened in January this had nothing to do with terrorism and unfortunately the media made it out like it was.
            I feel that the reports are just to make a beautiful place poorer I’m from England and look what happened in Paris which is just round the corner….
            I would say from my personal experience not to stop going to hurghada as its a beautiful place yes it’s quiet compared to sharm but beautiful all the same

          • Cheryl says:

            I love Sharm and can’t wait for flights to resume. I live in London near to where the 7/7 attacks took place, absolutely horrific but it doesn’t stop people flocking here! So why would I stop visiting Sharm.

          • Kerry Webb says:

            We booked last June to go to Hurghada this August (2016) and have 2 children too. I am a little apprehensive about going as are our family, who would really like us to swap! We have enquirer but Thomas cook want to charge us £150 each to change destination. If it was just my hubby and I, don’t think I would be as unsure and would not be thinking of moving to a different destination. We won’t be doing many trips and visits as we are in a fairly large hotel with water slides and think my children are too young to appreciate the sights (they love the Mummy film but not sure they will find it that way in real life!) Am very interested in hearing from any families with younger children who have travelled recently or will be travelling shortly as to how they have found Hurghada in particular.

            Very useful thread…. Thank you

          • Hi Kerry

            Hurghada is a long way from anything or real cultural significance. It is pretty much a purpose built resort area and most people tend to stay within the hotel complexes or the shopping and entertainment areas and depending on the hotel there is usually a significant amount of entertainment on offer on site.

            As Hurghada has no FCO limitations on it at present then all tour companies will charge to move a holiday or retain any deposit should you wish to cancel.

            Kind regards

            Bob

          • Anonymous says:

            Hi Have just come back from Hurghada. The most amazing holiday felt so safe. The staff in Beach Albatross spa resort are fantastic and any trip is very safe.

          • Returned from Hurgahda had a great 2 weeks and felt very safe . No problems anywhere and staff and locals all very friendly and sympathetic towards Sharm hopefully we will be back in Sharm in Aug

          • Denise says:

            Who are u flying with there all so expensive now if they are flying at all

      • Kerry Webb
        I went hurghada last August 2015 with 8 children and we all had an amazing time we did go on dolphin excursion but that was it we didn’t need to leave hotel for anything else as kids were happy with everything there and didn’t want to do trips. where r u staying? I’ve rebooked to go away again this year with 6 children we arrive on July 29th and depart 14 days later. We stay at Aqua magic hotel steinberger hurghada

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s were we seen going in October 4th ,I’m still going no body is gonna dictate to me were I can’t go on holiday can’t wait we r staying aqua steingburg hotel

        • sonia says:

          we went last year may15 and booked to go back in june 16.. fantastic holiday.. but i must say im not looking forward to going this time… with whats going on… im terrified… our 2 grown children don’t want us to go

  2. Ace of Herts says:

    Most informative and helpful article!
    Good to read a straightforward piece, with very sensible advice, without any spin! – Thank you

  3. amelia says:

    Can anyone help? i booked a holiday to luxor in September and feel very unsafe going i asked my travel agent for a refund but they said it was too early and even if my holiday is deemed unsafe nearer the time they said i wasn’t allowed a refund but only allowed to switch holidays, is that correct?

    • I am also booked to go to Cairo and Luxor early Sept. My agent tried to get a refund for me but was told that the flight part of the package was already ticketed and therefore I couldn’t get a refund or even transfer to a different holiday. I have to wait until 4 weeks before the travel date. My argument/question is that if FCO advice says no travel then surely I must be entitled to a full refund? But is there any regulation on how far in advance of travel I can demand the refund. My insurance doesn’t cover me for civil unrest so I can’t use that either.

    • Anonymous says:

      I went to Luxor and along Nile last year and although we had a good time there was a time when we decided not to get off the ship due to a protest that kicked off. I believe that going to Egypt would be a bad idea apart from maybe the Red Sea area and then I would be anxious.

  4. Jules says:

    We have booked a cruise for the 26th December flying to Sharm and visiting egypty, Jordan and Isreal. Do you think it will be safe, could we change the cruise or would the cruise operator change the itinary if there is danger?

  5. Lynne says:

    I’ve booked a holiday to sharm and have been before, I was worried about my holiday and have now been put at slight ease, I will be leaving on the 25th July

  6. Teresa (Terry) Taylor says:

    And this is why I love being British!! Thank you a thousand times over. I have been so bored with explaining both the political situation in my chosen second home and nationality, Egypt, particularly Sharm el Sheikh, where following the death of my mother after a long gruesome death by Altzheimers, I chose to recouperate. I bought a 2 bedroomed flat for 52,000£. This was my memorial to my mother who loved to travel and go on adventures by herself.
    As a single lady of 57 years, I returned to Sharm every school holidays to watch my flat being built. I fell more and more in love with the Egyptian people. I always like to spend my time with local people, rather than the Brits. After all, I can chat to them in England. I have wonderful Egyptian friends, ranging from the biker boys, with whom I go storming through the glorious valleys of The Sinai Mountains, my clever, erudite Doctor, my gorgeous hotel manager just to name a few.
    I would like to urge anyone who reads this that Egypt for the single ladies is the safest place in the World. I can walk the streets of Naama Bay or Nabq, in the middle of the night, feeling 100per cent safe. They are the friendliest, kindest people who would do anything for you!! At my flat, guarded at each corner, I hold long conversations (sometimes in mime!) with the guards. if they could, they would carry me up the three flights of stairs to my flat.
    Also, the Egyptians love The Brits!! We are indeed their favourite tourists. I would like to let your readers discover this for themselves!! I beg you to leave the so called safety of the all exclusive Hotels. Do not go home thinking you have seen Egypt!! Talk to the locals, they love to practise their English and ask you about strange words!! Indeed, most of them speak several languages. Such a clever race of people.
    If you do get into any worrying situations, just look out for the white uniformed Tourist Police. They are there for you!! and woe betide any naughty Egyptian worker who steps on your toes (metaphorically speaking) If you report anyone, they can be shipped out of Sharm and returned to their home city. So please take care about complaints.
    well done for such a truthful and knowledgeable article, I will be proud to copy and paste it to my friends in Egypt!

    • beryl briscoe says:

      what a brilliant comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. love the Egyptian people and there country. I certainly will be going again. went last march 2012 and just come back july 2013.. unrest or not sharm you will be seeing me again and again. it is sad to hear whats happening in cairo and I hope they solve there troubles as cairo is fascinating and worth a visit.

    • Margaret Mitchell says:

      What an excellent letter! I am so pleased that some other lady has had similar experiences to me. I was travelling to Egypt on business 25-30 years ago, based mainly in Cairo. My English friends and family were worried about how I would be treated but I was able to assure them that I was treated with the utmost respect and felt more threatened in London than I did in Cairo. I sincerely hope the troubles there can be solved because the Egyptians are truly lovely people.

  7. Dave Wright says:

    With the present situation in Egypt deteriating by the day I am naturally concerned about my scheduled family holiday to Sharm El Sheik with my 2 young daughters.

    The FCO website advises against all “essential” travel throughout EGypt including the red sea resorts…..since when has a holiday been classed as “Essential” travel?

    On 14 August a curfew was applied to the whole country including the resorts of Sharm El Sheik.

    The hotel I am due to spend my up and coming 14 day holiday is a new resort which opened in March 2013. With just 3 weeks before I travel I have been informed by the holiday provider that many of the facilities of this new hotel are not available. Furthermore most holiday makers are reporting that there is no evening entertainment. As of 14th August all day trips have been cancelled, there is the threat of food shortages, a high state of alert for acts of terrorism and a curfew imposed between the hours of 7pm and 6am………and this is supposed to be a holiday!

    My holiday provider will not allow me to cancel my holiday unless I uncurr a 100% cancellation fee!!

    I am of the opinion that the FCO is “looking after” the holiday companies and to hell with the holidaymakers.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thank you for your comment. The most up-to-date advice from the FCO is that travel to the Sharm El Sheikh area is still permitted. The main reason for this is that the holiday resorts of the Red Sea areas are purpose built and well away from areas of local populations, so there is a very low chance of the kinds of trouble we are unfortunately seeing in the major cities of Cairo and Alexandria in the media.

      The current advice says: “In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab.” The curfew, which was put in place each evening from last night, is not country wide, although Sharm el Sheikh was one of the areas covered dues to its location in the South Sinai. This will be for the protection of tourists, something that the Egyptians take very seriously due to the importance that the country puts on this part of its economy and in direct response to yesterday’s events in the capital. Experience has shown that restrictions tend to be lifted fairly quickly – although it is important to keep an eye on the FCO advice on a daily basis while events are fluid.

      Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, travel has never been restricted for Brits going to the Red Sea and nearly three quarters of million people have travelled there on holiday in the last three years with no reported problems related to troubles in Cairo and wider Egypt. There have been no shortages reported during this time and hotels have operated as normal.

      While I completely understand your concerns about your upcoming holiday, please be assured that, if the situation in Sharm became dangerous to tourists, the FCO would change its advice and, should this happen, you would be entitled to a full refund on your holiday from your operator (if you have booked an ATOL-backed package).

      You also mention a number of issues around the hotel and its facilities. These should be raised with your tour operator/booking agent for you to discuss alternatives or options which they may be able to move you to. Occupancy rates in the area would make it easy for them to move you to one of their other properties, subject to availability and the booking conditions of your holiday. Have you spoken to your holiday provider about this? It may well be worth the call in order to set your mind at rest.

      • Dave Wright says:

        Hi Cathy, thank you for comments regarding my concerns with my imminent holiday to Egypt. I have today attended a main Thomas Cook holiday shop and can confirm that they are not in a position to offer alternative holidays or refunds, even though their stance is in breach of consumer law. The branch manager confirmed that a senior management meeting was taking place at TC head office in light of the present situation in Egypt and a statement will be released in due course although I am not holding my breath.

        It is inadmissible that as customers our consumer rights are ignored and only acted upon by travel operators once legal proceedings commence. If the truth be known the decisions made by the FCO appear to be influenced by the big three holiday companies. How is it possible to contemplate an holiday with so many unknown risks, near anarchy in the resort vacinity, curfews, the potential for food shortages, inability to travel outside the hotel and most recently a severe restriction and cuts in gas supplies to hotels. How can it be possible to enjoy a holiday under these circumstances?…….and the response from the travel companies is it is still OK!

        • Thank for your comments.

          There are two issues for you with Thomas Cook.

          The first is the actual hotel itself and the non-availability of features and facilities at the property compared to the description that you had at the time of booking. Any changes to these are covered by the booking conditions of the tour operator concerned which are governed by the CAA under the ATOL scheme. If the tour operator is in breach of those conditions then you have a case against them either to resolve the issue prior to travel or for you to take action through their customer complaints department followed by the ABTA arbitration scheme and as a last resort the small claims court.

          The second issue is on whether or not companies are allowed to continue operating to a destination. This decision is made by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Package holiday companies follow the advice to the letter and will evacuate customers from a destination where the advice is for no travel and will stop all new people going giving them alternative holidays or refunds as appropriate. These companies do NOT dictate the advice to the FCO. The legal liabilities on package companies taking tourists to a destination are taken very seriously and Thomas Cook will not take you somewhere where they believe it is unsafe or where a holiday is going to be seriously affected. However I do understand your concerns, but I must point out that having travelled extensively in Egypt, the Sharm area is a world apart from what you are seeing on the news in Cairo and Alexandria. I appreciate I may not have set your mind at rest and this is an issue between you and Thomas Cook, however it has to be your decision whether you wish to continue with your trip or whether you wish to cancel with any relevant cancellation charges you then choose to incur.

          Bob Atkinson

          • Amy Hudson says:

            We are due to fly out to Hurghada on Monday from Birmingham Airport with Thomson to the Iberotel Aquamarine Hotel. I see the Foreign Office are advising that guests do not leave their hotels in Hurghada due to someone being killed in violent clashes in Hurghada on Wednesday. Where do we stand with regards to this situation as obviously you do not book a holiday to stay the whole two weeks on site without be able to go off and visit the local area and places of interest?

            We are really looking forward to our holiday and want to support the tourism trade in Egypt however we do not want to be stuck in the hotel for two weeks. Obviously it is for own safety but we would rather go to a country where we can go out and experience the locality.

          • Dave Wright says:

            Thank you for your comments the contents of which I note.

            It appears that the situation within Egypt is becoming increasingly intense and worsening by the hour. Most EU governments with the exception of the UK have postponed and withdrawn ALL travel to Egypt, including the Red Sea resorts until 15th September as it is deemed unsafe. I have just checked with my travel insurers to ascertain my insurance cover given the present predicament in Egypt. They have confirmed that although my policy covers my family for all eventualities at present should any disturbances occur within the resort and we become embroiled or caught up in any escalation of the present unrest then our policy will become void should we have reason to make a claim on our policy. The given reason being that we are aware of the present situation of unrest prior to departure!……..how many more people/families will be caught up in this scenario of having inadequate or no insurance cover?

          • Insurance should remain valid UNTIL the FCO advises against all travel to the Red Sea areas as long as you are following the advice laid down by your tour operator and the FCO on their website. If you can be shown not to have followed that advice then your insurance would be rendered invalid. Therefore I would check with your insurer again as the wording in your reply suggests different.

            If the advice changed while you were in resort and FCO stopped all travel, then you’re your operator would put into effect a program to evacuate their clients in the same was as happened to those caught up in Tunisia back in the winter of 2011. The evacuation was swift and ensured that Brits were not put in danger and showed a great level of care from both the FCO and the tour operators involved, including Thomas Cook.

          • willow bell says:

            It’s ridiculous, Britain just picks and chooses dangerous places, regardless whether they actually are. Everyone goes on about Sharm but Sinai has been really contested for decades, with lots of bombs over the years. The British govt ensure the bucks continue to flow nevertheless, as The master race of colonialism flourish to this very day. Go where you want, unless there’s an actual war in progress, you can get run over, the biggest danger, anywhere.
            Its great for the insurance companies cos they can leave you to rot if you are seriously injured by a car in the quietist place, just because Britain doesn’t like the people, who live there, for instance any Arabic state socialists, who supported Gamel Abdul Nassau historically or in my case the Dr Bashar supporters, who inhabit Balbek, Lebanon.

  8. lindsay says:

    I am going to hurghada on the 9th of September, how far away fRom all the demonstrations are we???

    • Jamie says:

      About 300 miles away

      • Jackie says:

        I am going to Hurghada on 9th April I don’t know if flights are still going as haven’t heard anything

        • Hi Jackie

          Everything is operating as normal to Hurghada and has been all winter. We’ve even had someone post up on here in the last couple of days about what a fantastic holiday they have just had there.

          Go and enjoy.

          Kind regards

          Bob

  9. I am also booked for Hurghada (note most discussion mention Sharm area) at the end of Aug, and agree with comments of not wanting to stay inside the grounds of the hotel, or be curfew.

    As Germany are now advising against ALL travel to Egypt, why is the FCO not following the same line?

  10. Jamie says:

    Hi there,

    We have just returned from holiday in Egypt . 7 days in sharm el sheikh and 3 in Cairo . It was our 7th holiday to Egypt in the last 14 years. Sharmy is no different at all. Business as usual. No underlying threat. Bustling and happy as ever. As for Cairo. What a transformation. Armed military escort on coach tours to the sites and museum. Not allowed to leave hotel at night. Not that we wanted to as the gun fire and screaming in the distance was quite horrific. I warn you all to not go to Cairo. It is an area of great unrest and is quite disturbing to see what was such a wonderful city in such despair.

  11. There are a number of comments on here around refunds and booking conditions, so I thought it would be worthwhile just re-emphasising our advice

    If you have booked a package holiday sold under an ATOL licence, the tour operator will generally follow the advice of the FCO in whether or not they operate a holiday to Egypt or any individual part of it. As the Red Sea areas are currently deemed as ‘safe’ to travel to unless the tour operator decides to soften its stance (their decision) then normal booking conditions will apply for either a cancellation (and subsequent refund or for administration fees to change your holiday to another date or destination. Therefore anyone who currently does not wish to go on their holiday to the affected area will be liable for charges. If the holiday program is still operating then you will not be able to get a refund is the general advice.

    For anyone booked on an ATOL package to travel to other areas of Egypt, tour operators are cancelling trips on a rolling basis. Each one will make their own decision on how far out from the departure date they allow cancellation and a full refund, although most are doing this on anything from one to two months out from today. Do check with your tour operator for details.

    Anyone who has booked separate arrangements of a flight plus a hotel you are totally at the mercy of who you have booked with as they are not backed by ATOL and therefore do not follow the same general advice that ATOL holders follow as above. You will need to speak to your individual airline/hotel booking company to understand what their policies are on cancellation/refund. Mot will have some flexibility to delay or change your trip, however you do need to speak to them direct.

    I should also state that there is no legal obligation to offer a full refund to anyone in any of the situations above, it is just accepted practice that if the FCO were to advise against all travel to the Red Sea area, then ATOL covered holidays would be halted and full refunds permitted. Non ATOL backed trips do not have this as accepted practice, it is down to the discretion of the airline/hotels.

    Importantly ensure you keep in touch with the FCO advice on a daily basis and also to follow your own tour operators latest position on any changes to your holiday.

  12. Dave Weight says:

    It is a shame you dont get the full facts, Egypt is getting worse and the crime rate is soaring, I lived there until recently and returnedto the UK as it is getting very bad, the Egyptian peole dont want Foreign Visitors and openly tell holiday makersto go home they are not wanted.

  13. Jen Linford says:

    We’ve just returned from our 4 th visit to Sharm and were there when the curfew was in place. We felt very safe at all times and did leave the hotel to go on snorkelling trips and to meet up with friends in Soho Square.
    We were the first fare our taxi driver had had in two days as business has been so badly affected since the uprising. He sent his heavily pregnant wife to live with her family near Cairo as he couldn’t afford to look after her.
    The staff in the hotels are worried for their families in Cairo but also rely on their jobs to be able to send money home. To see these lovely people in such despair is so sad. Follow FCO advice by all means but don’t desert this beautiful part of Egypt . British tourists are so respected as they treat the Egyptians so well. Talk to them and find out about their lives. You will be very humbled.

  14. patricia yates says:

    Can you confirm the FO are checking Luxor with a view to removal of travel ban.

    Thanks

  15. patricia yates says:

    Re Luxor, we have not yet heard from the FO regarding any changes. However I and my husband have been to Egypt for nearly 15 years, and intend to travel in November to Luxor to our own flat and will be away till New Year. We do not anticipate any problems at all, the people are lovely, overall honest and eager to see tourist back as soon as possible. In the larger picture the small unrest that there WAS in Luxor a few months ago does not compair with Cairo,Alexandria and Suez No way.

  16. Andrew Mason says:

    We are booked on a package to fly to Cairo on Jan 5th for a 3 day stay and then to Fly to Luxor for a 7 day Nile cruise. The FO states clearly that travel for this holiday is not advised and this advice appears open ended. The travel company currently cancelling all these holidays up to Nov 5th. After this there is no decision. At what point do I have the right to say I want to cancel and either get a refund or re-arrange?

  17. Graham says:

    Hi all, I see loads of references to Sharm but what about impending Nile cruises? According to FCO its in an all but essential area, however my travel company is not showing any signs that it will allow me to cancel. Anyone have advice there?

  18. Guys, I live in Egypt and until now it’s safe so if you wanna come;We will be very welcome, but if the situation became worse you should cancle it or at least do not enter Cairo or ElGiza or Alexandria cause its not safe in there.
    Greeting from Egyptions.

  19. Egypt is a very interesting place to visit and see a pyramid up close :)

  20. Should I travel to Egypt? | The TravelSupermarket blog

  21. glenn oelker says:

    We just got back from our second trip to Egypt, the first being in 2008, before the 2011 revolution. This most recent tour was with Viking. To us, the security situation seems similar to 2008. Since a 1997 European tourist bus attack in Luxor, the Egyptian government has taken tourist security very seriously, as tourism is 15% of their economy. As in 2008, tour buses have an armed guard riding within the bus, and each bus is followed by a tourist police car containing 4 armed officers. There are numerous armed police check points on all roads, more frequent near and around tourist areas. Tourist sites, such as the Egypt Museum in Cairo, have concrete barriers surrounding building entrances and several layers of scanners, with a large police presence. Larger hotels have this level of security with explosive sniffing dogs and vehicle trunk and undercarriage inspections and limited ability of vehicles to approach the building. The security rivals US embassies. These measures were in place in 2008 and are not new since the revolution. There was essentially a military dictatorship in 2008, as there is today. We felt very secure during our entire trip. I walked for an hour through Aswan and felt very comfortable. I would not recommend independently traveling through Egypt today or in 2008, as only rare signs are written in Latin script and few Egyptian speak any English unless they are involved in the tourist industry. I would advise using a tour group, and our experience with Viking was excellent. Any visitor to Cairo, Paris, New York, or Copenhagen needs to have “situational awareness”. One needs to be aware of their surroundings and who is approaching them. Eyes open and brain turned on. Don’t wait, go to Egypt. See the most ancient of civilizations. Be overwhelmed by the age, size, and grandeur of the temples, tombs, and pyramids. We have been to many interesting places all over the world. Egypt is number one on our list. GO TO EGYPT, NOW!!

    • Hi Glenn

      Thanks for the update. I would certainly echo your sentiments about visiting Egypt and the fantastic sights there. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  22. Anonymous says:

    I and my grandsons are booked in Hurgarda for two weeks is it safe to go. elaine

    • Hi there Elaine

      There should be no problems in taking a holiday in Hurghada to the beach resorts. The safety advice from the FCO is found here;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

      Have a great trip.

      Kind regards

      Bob

    • selmasahirah says:

      Useful and informative article. As we know Egypt is famous for ancient culture and monuments. So we should go there, just follow the FCO advice.Hurghada is the amazing place in Egypt. I got back from there in last month with the help of the well known travel agency Complete Egypt, there was no more threatening. I had a safest journey. But don’t go alone in dark Street.

  23. natasha says:

    Hi I am travelling to sharm August 2015, am I safe travelling there?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Natasha

      there should be no reason for you to be concerned about travelling to Sharm El Sheikh.

      The current FCO Travel advice is here;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

      The whole Sharm area is surrounded by security and there have been no reports of any problems in the area in recent years and months unless you leave the confines of the resort. Thousands are continuing to holiday there week after week with no problems whatsoever.

      I hope that this settles your mind.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  24. Shirley Miller says:

    We are booked to go Sharm 20th December for 2weeks. In view of the latest atrocity, what are your thoughts now.

    • Hi there Shirley

      At the moment there is no firm news as to the cause of the loss of the Metrojet aircraft and the media is in a frenzy of reporting and counter reporting on the cause of this tragic incident.

      The FCO travel advice remains without change and until we learn something new and the FCO change this it remains a personal decision as to whether to plan or book a holiday to Sharm, If you choose to cancel your holidays the current position of airlines and tour operators is that it would be your choice and you would be liable to cancellation charges.

      Its an ever developing situation and for now I would sit tight and see what happens.

      Kind regards

      Bob

      • Have a holiday booked for sharm to travel early February. We have till wed to change for An extra £150 to travel to lanzarote after we would be charged even more to change. Really don’t know what to do with currant situation.

      • Sharon Grindle says:

        We too are booked to go but not until the end of January. I am hoping that as a result of this, security measures will be stepped up so we can still go…seems unfortunately to be just a waiting game at the moment. Hope you are able to travel without worry Shirley, perhaps you can post on here to let us know what develops with your holiday x

  25. Caroline says:

    We are due to travel to Sharm airport on 29 November.

    Anxiously watching the news – flights suspended at present up to 12th Nov, Just wondering how much notice we will get from the travel operator.

    • Hi Caroline,

      Thank you for your comment.

      At the moment flights are cancelled until November 25 so, unless this changes, you should be able to travel on November 29.

      However, different companies have different policies in place for travel after this date with Thomas Cook, for example, allowing customers to amend bookings up to December 10 for free. Who are you travelling with and have you contacted them to see what their policy is?

      We’ve got links to the Thomson, Thomas Cook and BA advice above, if it helps.

      Thank you,
      Cathy

      • Caroline says:

        Hi

        I contacted Thomsons and they re-arranged our holiday for us, and even tho we were travelling after their cut off date for £30 reduction on an alternative holiday by 4 days as we chose a holiday that was costing us slightly more than the holiday we were changing from they gave us the £30 per person reduction. Just returned from the alternative holiday as couldn’t get the same dates booked. so instead of going in Dec we holidayed in Jan

        Couldn’t fault them or their service at changing our holiday, however the prices of alternative holidays had gone up and I watched the prices rise again after we had changed.

        I have looked again for end of this year for the holiday we had to cancel from and the resort is no longer listed on their site – such a shame as it was a brilliant resort and would love to go back to it once flights back to Sharm commence again. I feel desperately sorry for all the Egyptian hospitality staff.

        • Hi Caroline

          Great to hear that you were able to get sorted and that Thomson were flexible with you. You can no look forward to your holiday without the concerns you may have had before.

          Kind regards

          Bob

  26. Maria says:

    I am booked to go Egypt on 24th November for a week. I’m currently sitting tight to see if the grounding of flights to sharm changes. When the riots were reported over there in 2011 I still went. There was a party at soho square to thank all British who continued to travel there as all other countries grounded there flights. It was very safe then for all tourism and security is paramount.
    Will the flights be recommenced in next few weeks??

  27. Hello,
    I had booked a dive holiday to Hurghada prior to the news of the Metrojet incident. Whilst I am happy that I will be perfectly safe on my dive boat and in the Hurghada area, I do have concerns about the security of the city’s airport.

    Most UK news about Egyptian air security revolves around improving the situation of Sharm. However having recently traveled to both Sharm and Hurghada, I found that the level and attitude to security has been the same at both locations and more relaxed than in the UK.

    I am concerned that no official comments have been made regarding Hurghada airport and improving the situation there.

    Russia has suspended flights to ALL of Egypt and is repatriating throughout the country. I understand that KLM has introduced a hand luggage only policy to flights from Cario. Alitalia has imposed another restrictive luggage policy to the Egyptian Capital too. Conversely UK advice on air travel has solely focused on Sharm and I find lack of clarity as to potential restrictions for other destinations in Egypt frustrating, particularly as I will be travelling with a large amount of dive gear.

    I welcome any views on what is been done to improve safety at other airports in Egypt such as Hurghada and what restrictions might be imposed on the traveller to improve safety?

    • I am also wondering about hurghada as due to go next week there’s no mention for this part of Eygpt which is quite frustrating

      • Anonymous says:

        i am in hurgada feel so safe at aqua viva its amazing here get your bags packed,have a great holiday,very exspensive,bring B20 suncream for as so hot.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi, I agree, I’m flying out to hurghada for a diving holiday on 21st of this month and I really don’t want to go at this rate. How can one airport be safe and the other be under security surveillance? I find it very worrying however my airline will most likely refuse a refund due to hurghada being classed as ‘safe’

  28. Good day to all, we are going to fly from Riga to Hurghada 14.11 for a diving week. Feeling VERY nervous about the flight. As all countries are taking their tourists out of Egypt we are going in.
    Maybe someone is in Hurgada this moment and can tell what really is happening and are there any reasons to stay at home.
    Thank You in advance

    • Hi we have a girl here on resort who is part of the entertainments team and is british and a uk citizen. Monarch have advised her to get the last flight on Tuesday. What does the future hold for uk reps / entertainment. We have advised her to take the the tuesday flight. Will another flight be put on for uk Holiday reps

  29. Jane Ball says:

    Hi, my husband and I have booked flights for christmas day going to Sharm El Shekh, and we intended to stay for 9 nights. We got married in August and came for our honeymoon, and as our children are grown up and in universaty now, we thought about spending Christmas somewhere hot, and because we absolutley loved it when we came in August we wanted to come back.
    Now with everything that is going on we are unsure as to what to do.We are scarred to travel to the airport because this is where it seems, the security failed.
    We are booked with Monarch, and they have just said they won’t transfer our flights unless we paid £40 per person per flight to change destinations, or, wait and see what the goverment reccommend.
    As they’ve only advised of none essentle travel until 19th Decmber, there isn’t much else we can do but wait. We can’t afford to book another holiday and risk losing the flight money to Sharm, but if we wait the prices are just going up and up.
    We never paid our hotel because we booked with booking.com and was paying on arrival and we will have to pay one night if we don’t go, and they’ve told us even if the goverment say it’s not safe to travel they wont refund us the hotel money because, Sharm El Sheikh itself is safe but, the airport isn’t but how would we get there ? I’ve got restricted mobility and wouldn’t be able to have a long transfer from another airport.Also, if we were to get stuck like the tourists that are there now, I wouldn’t be able to sit around for whatever legnth of time until, they could get us out of there.
    I feel for the Egyptians, because as a few people have said on here the people are very nice, they can’t do enough for you, and yes they do prefer the Brit’s to any other tourists.
    They’re economy is really going to suffer as a result of this, they rely on us traveling to thier country and now people will be too scarred to travel.
    So sorry if I’ve rambeled on. once I get started.
    please leave comments for me, we’d like some advice if you can.
    Thanks Jane

    • Hi Jane

      The only thing you can do here is to sit it out while Monarch decide if they are going to extend the suspension of flying beyond the already announced date in December.

      Otherwise you have to pay the change fee to Monarch for a different destination and be aware of the cancellation fees for your hotel.

      Keep checking Monarch’s website for the latest.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  30. we have have been on holidays for the past 10 years to all rsorts in egypt i preferred resort is makady bay where i have found the best beaches by far dont need pontoons to go for a dip and see wonderfull coral and fish our favorite hotel is fort arabesque where mostly brits germans and french use not many russians unlike most other hotels do not be put off going to egypt other than the fco advice after the sharm air crash wee hope to go to sharm for a week in jan if we get the all clear our thoughts are with the people of paris at this moment do not let them win and ruin these countries

  31. I am due to go to Sharm on 11th January 2016. I cannot get through due to the backlog and have not heard anything.

    Will the company contact me nearer the time for a refund or an alternative destination?

    Thank you for your help,

    Andrew

    • hi andrew like u we are due to go to sharm on the 17th of jan until the fco tells us flights will go in jan u will not get a refund if u wish to cancell unless your travel agent can transfer to another place we will go if flights are ok but we think the hotels will be quiet if they open at all best of luck

    • Hi Andrew

      Which company have your booked your arrangements with and which airline are you travelling on?

      Kind regards

      Bob

  32. Sonia harding says:

    Hi there our holiday to sharm has been cancelled for Jan 2016 by the holiday company we booked with
    But they are saying we can go to hurghada instead … Is hurghada safe as we are unsure what to do now, we have been to Egypt for the past 7 years and have never experienced any problems … Thanks Sonia

    • Hi Sonia

      The FCO advice for Egypt is here;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

      Hurghada has not experienced any problems of note and you will see that extra measures are in place around security for Hurghada as well as Sharm. Holidays continue to operate to Sharm, however no flights are allowed from the UK into Sharm itself due to UK Government restrictions. Travellers are visiting via Cairo on independently arranged trips. Hurghada has no such restrictions in place.

      I would be tempted to take the Hurghada option, as long as you are comfortable with your hotel choice and that the holiday compares. Otherwise you should look for a refund or transfer to another destination. Who are you booked with?

      Kind regards

      Bob

  33. Jonathan Kelly says:

    Booked for Aug 2016. Just got a generic email from Thomson saying ‘amendment’ but it didn’t say what they’ve changed.
    Done a ‘spot the difference’ and seen they’ve removed coach transfers..
    WHAT?

  34. Wendy Heyden says:

    Hi Bob.

    We are booked to go to Sharm on April 2nd 2016.
    Have just received email from “On The Beach” saying our flights have changed from Gatwick to Luton, and that we could cancel flights FOC or accept flights.

    They go on to say…
    “Please note that in accordance with our terms and conditions of booking and those of the relevant suppliers, should you wish to cancel your hotel, transfer or any other element of your booking in relation to this operational change, you will have to pay the cancellation charges applied by the relevant supplier”.

    Does that mean that if we cancel the holiday completely, we would have to pay the hotel any charges, or pay OTB their cancellation fee?

    Thanks

    • Hi Wendy

      It sounds like you would have to pay the hotel cancellation charges and any charge made by OTB for administration.

      They piece together flights with accommodation and dependent on the booking conditions that you signed up to on booking these would be split out in those.

      Give them a call and talk it over to understand your full options.

      Kind regards

      Bob

      • Hi,
        We too have an issue with Fleetway Travel. We are due to travel on 19th April and are now concerned about going because of the problems.. (we booked early last year)- there are 4 couples of which we have paid a deposit of aprox £650 per couple.
        I have contacted Fleetway on numerous occasions. Originally I was told that we will lose all of our deposit – £2,600 in total! Then I was told I could transfer to another holiday – but when they costed this, they just charged us for the whole holiday and added out deposit on top, ie – a new customer would pay £1,200 for the holiday I required about changing to, but we would have to pay £1,500 each!
        I have been waiting for call backs and emails and have had nothing back. Our balance is due on the 26th Jan, which they want us to pay and then discuss in February when Monarch, who we are flying with, reassess when they will recommence flying to Sharm.
        Feel utterly let down and frustrated by the whole industry.
        Any ideas please?

  35. Darren says:

    Great write up and advise. I am booked to go to sharm mid March and as long as the airlines are flying I will be going, if everybody stopped going to resorts due to the terrible terrorist attacks then the terrorists are winning! Egypt is a fantastic place with some of the best staff I have ever met on holidays, they are always going the extra mile for you and I can’t wait to get back there on my holidays.

  36. ClareElliott says:

    Windsurfing in Dahab for a few months. Struggling to find travel insurance as its in the Orange. Anyone know of any insurers? Never had this problem before. Was orange last year and got insurance fine!

    • Hi there Clare

      The current advice on the FCO website is as follows;

      The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

      the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;

      I am not sure how you are planning to get to Dahab as direct flights from the UK are currently suspended into Sharm and the area has the FCO advise against any area outside of the Sharm perimeter. have you spoken to your insurer from last year to see if they will still offer cover. Usually an insurer removes cover once an FCO advisory is in place.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  37. Darren says:

    Hi we booked for sharm back in September with holiday gems we have told them we don’t wish to travel and could they arrange an alternative all we are being told is we must stick with our airline which in turn restricts our choice of location we are due to pay the balance in May but I have explained that if flights are not resumed by then and go into our holiday dates I am reluctant to pay they have told me that regardless whether flights are open or not I need to pay the balance and claim it back thus I think is unfair as if flights are cancelled for my dates why should we pay? Surely a replacement or refund of deposit and cancel is the fairer

    • Hi Darren

      easyJet have today announced a change to their schedules and have now suspended all flying up until just before the Whit week holidays in May. I don’t know who you are flying with however it is likely that most airlines will follow suit in the coming days as it does not appear that the FCO is going to change the no fly rule in the very near future.

      Whilst I totally accept that you feel the situation is unfair, your holiday company is driven by the contracts with the airline and hotel you are booked with. Therefore they will impose charges to change when they are not yet accepting free cancellations. My advice is to stick with it and wait until later before making a decision so that you don’t lose out financially. This may then mean you have less choice of places and holidays to take, however you won’t be out of pocket.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  38. Hi, we are due to fly to Sharm on the 10th May 2016, we are due to pay the remainder of the holiday within 2 weeks. We have been to sharm 3 times in the past 4 years but this time we are taking our grandson with us and my wife is now hesitant to go, I called First Choice a few days ago and they were no help at all and just said ‘everything should be fine for that date’ we have found an alternative holiday whih we would like to change to but can we change before paying off the total amount due?

    • Hi Shane

      The situation for Sharm keeps changing.

      Two days back easyJet changed their policy and cancelled all flights up until whit week in alte May. Previously their flights had been set to resume just before Easter. I would not be surprised if Tui group (which includes Thomason and First Choice do the same.

      Hold tight for now until balance due date and then have a conversation again with them at that point.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  39. Grant says:

    Hi,
    I just found this thread as have been endlessly trying to keep up to date with what’s happening with flights to Sharm. We are booked to fly with Thomson on 27th May 2016. We’ve had absolutely no communication from them and have been into the travel agents and in my opinion have had terrible customer service, so much so that we will never book a holiday through them again!
    I’m concerned as many appear to be that within the next few weeks they are going to expect the final payment for holiday that 1) we don’t know will happen, and 2) in reality we would now not feel safe going on.
    Has anyone else had a similar issue with communication from their travel agents? How can they expect you to pay the full amount in this current situation?

    Kind regards

    Grant

    • Hi Grant

      I’m sure there are others reading this in exactly the same situation as you right now. The one thing I can reassure you about is if the holiday is subsequently cancelled by Thomson due FCO advice, your holiday money is completely covered and you will not lose any cash at all. The date you are going is the half term week when most operators have cancelled all departures up to around that date. They are in the hands of the Foreign Office in when the ban will be lifted. However it is down to them as a company as to whether they choose to allow cancellations or changes at no cost ahead of the date they have imposed themselves on cancellations.

      Currently no UK flights are allowed to operated into Sharm with no end date issued by the FCO.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  40. Hi, i have a holiday booked with my girlfriend to sharm may 23rd was a little concerned to see flights cancled till 27th…

    After speaking with monarch on the phone the adviser told me there flights are up and running march 18th and if any other changes i will be notifited asap.

    • Hi Tom

      Monarch are the only airline so far not to extend the date on their cancellations and I would expect that they will do so, although cannot guarantee that. You will need to keep an eye on their website – they usually show the update on the top right of their main page.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  41. Kimberley says:

    BA have cancelled all flights to Sharm until 30/6/16 so doesn’t look promising

  42. Beatrice says:

    Hi,

    I just booked a holiday to Red Sea and Sinai for 12/06/16 until 19/6/16. Should I worry about anything ? And also as their Ramadan starts from 6th June to 7th July, would that affect my holiday in any way ( e.g beachwear, dresses, etc.) ?

    • Hi there

      Your main concerns should be how you will be getting there. Direct UK flights to the area have been suspended since last November and we have no start date yet for airlines to resume flying, so you may find your airline is on sale but could cancel the flights nearer the time. Most airlines are currently not flying until late May with no guarantee that flights will resume at that point.

      As Egypt is a Muslim country you should respect the sensitivities around beach wear, although the beach resorts are very tolerant and as this is an isolated area developed for tourism you should be OK, even during Ramadam. You can read more here;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt/local-laws-and-customs

      Kind regards

      Bob

  43. Hi
    Hoping someone could advise….
    I would like to know how safe it would be to fly with EgyptAir with a stopover in Cairo. Wont be leaving the airport. Its just a connection to Johannesburg

    • Hi Ilze

      You should have no problems whatsoever using an Egyptair flight to reach Jo’burg. Cairo is not currently affected by any travel restrictions for UK travellers so your journey should be straightforward.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hi
    I booked a holiday to sharm through on the beach. We were due to fly out on 5th April with monarch and back with easyjet. On the beach have cancelled and refunded the accommodation and easyjet flight but not the monarch flight as it is still going.

    • Hi Martyn/Ruth

      Monarch have announced alt week that if the FCO advice has not changed by the 26th February they will look to amend their decision on flying at Easter.

      Watch this space.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  45. Tanya says:

    Hi, we flew out on the 31st October 2015 day of the Russian crash, we had a fantastic holiday at the time with a few extra days added on, due to no flights, we then had a few extra days all expenses paid by Easy jet.We look forward to returning very soon and am disappointed that the flights into Sharma El Sheik are still unresolved, at the same time we have been to Taba and Dahab and their flights three years on are still pending.No matter what we will return, the people need tourism and we need their beautiful country.

  46. Joanne ure says:

    Myself my husband and our 4 children are booked to go to sharm on the 11th of june with the remainder of holiday due to be paid mid march, all of my kids are refusing to go on holiday, my 10 year old has nightmares about the plane crashing:-( myself and my husband have decided that we are not putting our kids health at risk so will not be going on the holiday. Where do we stand with regard to our deposit?

    • Hi Joanne

      I am sorry to hear that your family feels this way, however it is understandable in the light of the media reports last year.

      For your deposit it really does depend who you have booked with and how much you have paid as to what you would lose. Contact your booking company and check with them. You may also be able to change your holiday to another destination with the same company subject to any admin fees and difference in holiday costing. However if you choose to cancel at this stage you will lose your deposit with pretty much every company who operates to Sharm.

      The alternative is to sit it out and hope that companies extend the cancellation on holidays to Sharm el Sheikh to into the summer months.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  47. queen of the nile says:

    we are booked to fly with monarch on the 26 march, have not received any notice, having been cancelled 2 weeks prior and re-booked, what is happening out there! from my experience sharm is very strict at the airport…makes me dubious that there is other thing going on that the media does not wish us to know. When I lived in Egypt throughout the revolution etc, it was fine, I find the UK more scary..what is going on?

  48. samantha says:

    I don’t understand: the plane crash happened in October…Before now the UK based airlines didn;t suspend their routes to Egypt. I don;t believe in coincidences, but is it odd that the flights are cancelled now just before the next school holidays during which I believe lot of families where planning to go to Egypt. I do understand that is better to be safe than sorry, but at least I want to know the real reason why all of a sudden all the UK companies are so concerned.

  49. We were due to fly to sharm el sheikh on the 24th july but i had a email today saying that our flight from Stansted airport has been cancelled but there is a flight on the same day leaving from Gatwick airport. Do we still have to go on our holiday but from a different airport or could we cancel and get our money back. Gatwick is a long way from us. I thought most airlines were not flying to sharm el sheikh?

    • Hi there

      Were you due to fly with easyJet? If so this is the policy on their website following their decision to cancel all planned operations this summer except for Stansted. This allows you to cancel and get a full refund if you prefer.

      http://www.easyjet.com/en/help/preparing-to-fly/latest-travel-information

      Sharm El-Sheikh

      22/02/2016

      Update 22nd February – 13:00 UK

      Following the change to the Government’s advice on travel to and from Sharm el Sheikh, we suspended all flying between the UK and Sharm after Wednesday 4 November and won’t resume flights until after the Government’s advice changes. We have already suspended flights on this route up until Friday 27 May 2016.

      Due to the reduced demand the suspension of flights has caused, we have now taken the decision to cancel flights to Sharm for the rest of this summer from Manchester, Luton and Gatwick.

      As we expect there still to be some demand from people across the UK to fly to Sharm this summer we are planning to operate our twice weekly flights scheduled to Sharm from London Stansted airport.

      We have no confirmation from the UK Government that we will be able to resume flights yet, but if we are these will be the only easyJet flights to Sharm el-Sheikh this summer.‎ These flights are scheduled to operate from 29 May 2016.

      Customers due to travel on cancelled flights can use the full value of their booking to travel to any other destination on the easyJet network, receive a full refund or opt for a transfer onto a Stansted flight.

      Assuming the Government’s travel advice does change, we expect to resume services from Manchester, Luton and Gatwick from the beginning of the winter season in October 2016.

      Customers on affected flights will be contacted via email using the contact details provided at the time of booking. To arrange a transfer, receive a refund or for any other queries, passengers are advised to contact our Customer Services Team on +44 (0) 1617749879.

      If flights haven’t been booked directly through easyJet.com, customers are asked to speak to the travel agency they have booked with for a refund of their flights.

      We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause, but we hope that being clear with all our customers at this point will provide more time and choice to make alternative arrangements. The situation is beyond our control and passenger safety will always be our number one priority.
      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

      However if you hve booked a package involving an easyJet flight, you need to refer to your holiday company for the booking conditions that you have signed up to with your booking. They will be able to give you the correct advice for your reservation.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  50. Angie Smith says:

    I booked to go to sharm el sheikh on 11 april and have had to change it cos they still aren’t flying there….so where did I change it too..
    Hurghada. Am I worried. …no. I was in Tunisia last year just before the terrorists attacked there and I was in Sharm in October. Both beautiful parts of the world and it’s a shame that these countries are suffering because of what has gone on. Let’s hope it gets sorted out soon so these people can start earning a living again because it’s their livelihood that is suffering.

  51. Stephen. says:

    cannot believe they still chicken on flights flying to sharm…. so glad i can go to Hurghada….

    • Hi Stephen.

      Its not a question of airlines playing chicken here. They have instruction from the UK Government not to fly there due to safety reasons. They have to adhere to this, hence the rolling cancellation of flights.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  52. Reading this post has really put my mind at ease! Me and my fiancé have now booked to go to Hurghada in early July. We are so excited and cannot wait! Where I live in London was attacked in the 7/7 bombings but as someone mentioned we still have millions of tourists each year! I don’t think these things should effect us going to explore a beautiful country and you cannot tarnish races because of a group of extremists! I will report back to let everyone know how it was :)

  53. Anonymous says:

    I am due to fly to sharma 16th June.all the other operators apart from thompson seem to have cancelled all flights. When will thompson tell us if they have cancelled. As would need a rwfund then meed to rebook another holiday and its leaving it all so late.
    Allina Keeler

    • Hi there

      Monarch are also still planning to operate flights at this stage and seem confident that the FCO ban will be lifted. If that is the case then the airlines are free to commence flying again. Thomson policy at the moment is to cancel all flying until late May. If they need to cancel those trips they will do so no later than around 42 days prior to departure which will be around the middle of April and so you need to keep an eye on the FCO advice to see if it is changed at all between now and then. If no change they will look to cancel the all-important busy flights over the half term period. This could then have an onward impact to the remained of the summer.

      I’ afraid its a case of sit and wait for a full refund IF they cancel OR to lose your deposit/pay the admin fee and any price difference and move to a new destination.

      Hope that helps answer you with some options.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  54. Karen Jackson says:

    I am due to go to Sharm on 23rd July with Monarch.. At the minute Monarch have only cancelled flights until end of May.. I know longer wish to go to Sharm, It says on their website they will update this week, is there any idea of when this will be..
    Our holiday was booked in August 2015..

    Karen

    • Hi Karen

      Reading their website today on this link;

      http://blog.monarch.co.uk/sharm-el-sheikh-travel-update/

      There is no mention at all of a decision being made on flights beyond the 19th May 2016. However unless the FCO do not lift the ban then no flights will be able to take place. Monarch obviously believe that the ban may be lifted and so have kept their flights as planned to operate. That is their decision.

      Your only option that I know of is to either cancel and lose your money or to change to a different destination and pay the administration costs plus any difference in prices. Again that is their policy and differs to several companies such as easyJet and Thomas Cook.

      You can of course try and persuade them to waiver their policy however our experience tells us that this will not happen.

      I’m not telling you what you want to hear, however can only spell out the current situation with Monarch.

      Kind retards

      Bob

  55. graham says:

    I am due to fly to Hurghada around the 19th April through Thomas cooke is it still safe to do so ?

    • Hi Graham

      there should be no reason at this stage for you to cancel your trip due to safety and security.

      The current advice is here;

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt

      It references a knife attack which took place in January as well as the additional security that is in the area, however it is NOT on the list of areas which the FCO advises against travelling to.

      While Sharm is out of reach for most Brits due to the ban on flights from the UK to the area, Hurghada does not have this ban and holidays have been going ahead as normal. Those returning have all reported it is business as usual although the area is unusually quiet due to the lack of any Russian tourists in the region.

      Keep an eye on the media and read the advice again before you travel.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  56. I have a holiday to Sharm booked for Aug 2016. I booked the flights and accommodation together with Sunmaster. However the outbound flight was with Easyjet and the return flight was with Monarch. Sunmaster are saying that I can get a refund for the Easyjet flight but not Monarch. I booked in good faith and thought I was covered booking through a company but it seems Sunmaster will not honour a full refund, even though the return flight is no good to us and not fit for purpose if we cannot get a flight out on the date we booked. Is there any way we can get a full refund in this situation, even via credit card refund?

  57. Utter sh** hole.harrassed every time I went out of the hotel.never,never again.

  58. Barbara says:

    Now is a great time to visit Luxor as you can visit the sites and tombs without hordes of other tourists and no queues. Luxor is 95% dependent on tourism so the local people there are delighted to see you and make you feel very welcome. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a fantastic time.

  59. Chantelle says:

    How stressful has my upcoming holiday been so far to sharm,I am going with Thompson.They have changed my hotel twice then yesterday informed me that my flight has been cancelled.I had the choice of rebooking another destination or there are 2 flights 1 from Gatwick the other from Manchester for the 26th May original booking was for the 5th June 2016.These flights will remain regardless of FCO advice.We have chose to fly from Manchester,surely every time something happens somewhere in the world they cant cancel all flights, these people rely on tourism for their livelihood look at 9/11 people still travel there every day and the treat is always there aswell as Paris.I am definitely looking forward to my holiday.

    • Hi Chantelle

      The decision to cancel flights was due to the UK Government banning flights from the UK to Sharm el Sheikh due to security concerns at the airport following the loss of a Russian holiday jet which had just departed from there. Neither the tour companies and airlines or the locals want that to happen, however they follow the safety and security advice of Governments and then go from there. We are waiting for the embargo on flying from the UK to be lifted before flights will once again take off.

      Bob

  60. Arshad says:

    I intend traveling to sharm el sheikh with my kids in October
    Please advise

    • Hi Arshad

      At present we are nearly six months away from October (I assume you mean taking them at half term). Companies are allowing you to book, although direct flights from the UK are still suspended due to FCO travel advice. Those with holiday bookings on offer are hoping these will be lifted shortly, however there is no guarantee of that.

      You can travel to Sharm via Cairo and those who have been doing this are reporting fairly empty resorts, easy to get tables in restaurants or to arrange trips and services as its so quiet. The sun is shining and the locals working there are really glad of the business.

      keep an eye on the FCO advice and the news for the latest. If you book ensure you book an ATOL backed package trip so that if it is cancelled you will receive a no quibble refund on the full amount. Plus if anything was to happen while you were there you would be looked after and brought home safely and securely.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  61. donnalou1982 says:

    Hi i love sharm, we are due to go out not till 27th december!2016 flying monarch from manchester,and yes i am worried, not for going to sharm, but for the holiday company/ flights etc, hopefully the ban will be lifted on the 31st October 2016 or before, as i am in same position, the holiday needs paying before the ban is lifted, its a difficult predicament to be in…..but either way, i am still buying a few holiday bits each month, as we will be going if not sharm, we will pick somewhere else if ban still in place by then. We love sharms hospitality/ people/ beaches/ culture /weather etc and fingers crossed they can recover from this as its such a shame.
    I also agree with lots of people on this site, who say london/paris people still flock there, we are a family of 5 and i refuse to be dictated too by terrorism as they wont win us, thanks

    • Hi My sister and I are also booked to fly with Monarch to Sharm from Manchester 27th December. finger cross flights will be going as we love Sharm

  62. A4ahmedabad says:

    Its a great place to go on and also a photographic place.

  63. Magvey says:

    I visited Egypt three times and, really have very positive opinion about people and country. But this summer maybe is better to go in Greece.
    https://youtu.be/Qg4i1FbUD2E

    • Frank Papworth says:

      We have always wanted to do the pyramids etc and planned a week in Egypt later this year while also going to Tanzania. However the Australian government warns against it so we have cancelled the Egypt part.

      Its a real shame for the poor locals that a few terrorists ruin the whole tourist trade.

  64. Hi I’m traveling to hugarda 19 July just a bit concerned after Egypt airline Crash is it safe to go

    • Hi there Naz

      Hurghada has seen no problems at all for tourists of any note in recent months and years and is deemed safe to travel to by the FCO at present.

      The recent loss of an Egyptair aircraft is not yet resolved and has had no initial implications on travelling to the Red Sea area on holiday to date.

      People who have been travelling there recently have reported quiet resorts, great prices and a warm welcome with no issues.

      Hope that helps.

      Kind regards

      Bob

  65. Pam Gaffin says:

    Bob – You are a very knowledgeable person! Perhaps you can tell me if any ferries are currently running from Hurgarda to the Sinai? Thank you. I will be visiting in September

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