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In the aftermath of Thursday's terror attack in Madrid, airlines and tour operators serving Spain have adopted very different attitudes to current and intending British visitors to the country.

In the aftermath of Thursday's terror attack in Madrid, airlines and tour operators serving Spain have adopted very different attitudes to current and intending British visitors to the country.

Within hours of the blasts, easyJet had offered to fly home any customers who wished to return early from mainland Spain without financial penalty. The airline is "looking sympathetically" at requests from passengers booked to travel to the Spanish mainland in the next month; they may be able to switch to other destinations upon payment of any difference in fare.

In contrast, Ryanair is making no special arrangements: "Customers can cancel flights as normal if they wish to," said a spokesman. In practice, they can pay to switch flights to or from Girona, Jerez, Murcia, Reus and Valladolid.

Iberia, Spain's national airline, had not established its policy at the time of going to press, but indicated that requests from passengers travelling on restricted tickets would be dealt with case by case. "We will be as flexible as possible," said a spokeswoman for Iberia.

The usual trigger for tour operators to make arrangements to bring customers home, and offer alternative destinations, is when the Foreign Office warns against non-essential travel. Prior to Thursday's attack, the Basque terrorist organisation ETA warned that it would once again target tourist resorts in Spain this summer. Even so, the official travel advice stops well short of blacklisting any part of Spain.

Thomson City and Short Break is offering customers due to visit Madrid up to 19 March the chance to transfer to another destination or cancel, free of charge. Ted Wake of the short-break specialist Kirker Travel said "Wherever possible we would like to offer an alternative". His company has already postponed one client's planned visit to travel to Madrid this weekend to October at no extra cost.

A spokeswoman for Bridge Travel said "If Foreign Office advice changes, we will look at bringing customers back without additional cost, and refunding those due to travel."

Spain is by far Britain's favourite package-holiday destination. MyTravel, one of the leading tour operators, said "Our nearest customers are in Alicante, which is 350km away."

The company advised customers to be "extra vigilant", but said its normal conditions apply unless the official advice for travellers is strengthened.

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