Posted 24 March at 16.00

As countries respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team at Distant Journeys ( has been working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our passengers to the United Kingdom.

These unprecedented times have created many challenges for Distant Journeys in our efforts to make alternative travel arrangements for all customers affected. Most countries throughout the world have implemented strict border controls and airlines have been withdrawing services, all with very little notice. Perhaps the greatest challenge for many travel companies has been in returning customers from Australia and New Zealand, where a transit through an Asian or Middle Eastern country is required.

At this point, Distant Journeys has been able to make alternative travel arrangements for 264 passengers who were affected by the growing number of travel restrictions. These passengers are either now in the UK, or have departed and will be arriving into the UK later today.

There are currently 42 Distant Journeys customers in Auckland, New Zealand who are awaiting flights to return to the UK

Simon Whittle, Managing Director of Distant Journeys said “The safety and well-being of our customers in New Zealand is our number one priority. The Distant Journeys office in the UK and our partners in New Zealand are in regular contact with travellers currently in New Zealand, who are staying at a hotel close to Auckland Airport. As New Zealand is about to enter a period of self-isolation similar to that in the UK, we will be contacting all our customers with ideas on how to stay healthy and entertained during this period of self-isolation. Distant Journeys is working tirelessly with our airline partners to find flight arrangements and is also in communication with the British Consulate to try to find solutions for their safe return.”

Those awaiting repatriation were travelling in two groups as part of an escorted tour. The first group (with 36 passengers) was the Very Best of New Zealand, which departed the UK on the 4th March and was due to finish on the 30th March. The second group (with 6 passengers affected) was the Magnificent New Zealand tour, which departed the UK on the 1st March and was due to finish on the 22nd March.

This is statement no1, issued at 16.00 hours, 24th March 2020. Further statements will be issued only when verifiable information becomes available. 

Issued by Distant Journeys – contact Sarah Rimmer email