Tour operators record 10,000 bookings in a day as Britons scramble to airports ...

Up to 10,000 people have booked holidays in a day ahead of the second national lockdown which will see borders slammed shut from tomorrow night.

Holiday firms are reporting sales surged by a quarter since last week as Britons capitalise on 11th-hour deals.

It comes after package holiday companies were accused of illegally withholding £1billion in refunds to families whose trips were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Paul Charles, the owner of travel consultants PC Agency, said he knew of up to 10,000 bookings since Monday morning.

The businessman claimed it was mainly elderly tourists or people who can work from home who were looking to escape before the new restrictions.

Holiday firms are reporting sales surged by a quarter since last week as Britons capitalise on 11th-hour deals (pictured, Heathrow today)

Holiday firms are reporting sales surged by a quarter since last week as Britons capitalise on 11th-hour deals (pictured, Heathrow today)

It comes after package holiday companies were accused of illegally withholding £1billion in refunds to families whose trips were cancelled due to the pandemic (pictured, Heathrow today)

It comes after package holiday companies were accused of illegally withholding £1billion in refunds to families whose trips were cancelled due to the pandemic (pictured, Heathrow today)

He told the Times: 'Some are going to the Caribbean, some to the Maldives, to places that are much warmer and from where you don't necessarily have to quarantine on your return.

'The perception is that, well, either you can be locked down or you can quarantine. They're not hugely dissimilar.'

Mr Charles added holidaymakers can take trips to places such as Antigua in the Caribbean for £440, down from £600.

The Foreign Office website says from Thursday there will be 'no exemption for staying away from home on holiday'.

But it has admitted that it cannot place rules on people who have already left the country.

Paul Charles, the owner of travel consultants PC Agency, said he knew of up to 10,000 bookings since Monday morning (pictured, Heathrow today)

Paul Charles, the owner of travel consultants PC Agency, said he knew of up to 10,000 bookings since Monday morning (pictured, Heathrow today)

Mr Charles added holidaymakers can take trips to places such as Antigua in the Caribbean for £440, down from £600 (pictured, Heathrow today)

Mr Charles added holidaymakers can take trips to places such as Antigua in the Caribbean for £440, down from £600 (pictured, Heathrow today)

Around 9.4million people have lost a trip since coronavirus hit the UK – and the figure will rise again with the new lockdown and government ban.

But many of the firms involved are delaying making refunds or trying to fob people off with vouchers or the option to re-book, say consumer experts Which?

Under the Package Travel Regulations 2018, the customer is legally entitled to a full refund within 14 days providing the holiday is cancelled by the operator.

A package holiday is a booking comprising at least two types of travel or travel-related services made through the same source, most commonly flights and accommodation.

People who book flights and accommodation separately do not have the same protection.

It is bad news for customers of airlines such as Ryanair, which has refused refunds when it chooses to continue operating flights even when the government has effectively banned travel on them.

Yesterday, the airline revealed that Covid-19 restrictions slashed passenger numbers by 80 per cent in the six months to September 30, pushing it to a loss of £178million.

Package holiday firms have been accused of illegally withholding £1billion in refunds to families whose holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic (file photo)

Package holiday firms have been accused of illegally withholding £1billion in refunds to families whose holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic (file photo)

Covid-19 sees biggest-ever drop in UK traffic levels, with 50 BILLION less miles travelled by road

Covid-19 has triggered the biggest annual fall in traffic levels since modern records began, according to new Government figures.

The volume of vehicles on the roads declined by 13.6 per cent between June 2019 and June this year, the largest drop since 1994.

This amounts to 51 billion less road miles travelled, down from 356 to 305 billion year-on-year, provisional estimates by the Department for Transport suggest.

Passenger cars saw the biggest slide at 15.2 per cent, with motorway journeys down by 17.3 per cent.

Commercial traffic saw smaller declines but there was still a fall of 7.8% for lorries and 7.3% for vans.

The statistical analysis suggest that, without the pandemic, volumes would have increased by 1 per cent over the period to 357.1 billion vehicle miles.

Nicholas Lyes, head of policy at the RAC, said: 'There is little doubt that 2020 is having a profound impact on our travel habits.

'The biggest fall in traffic volumes was on motorways as drivers tended to stay local during the lockdown periods in the Spring, with the sight of empty highways surely

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