Furious Britons are being forced to pay up to €800 a ticket for last-minute flights back to the UK before 4 am on Saturday after Poland and Turkey are put on the 14-day COVID quarantine list.
The UK government made the decision to put both countries on its quarantine red list yesterday, along with the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. Coronavirus rates in both countries shot well above the 500 per 100,000 used as a base-line by health officials to constitute removal from the ‘safe to travel’ list. “As the airlines are already operating well below full capacity flights from those countries are hard to find- hence the price rise.” explained a Uk travel agent.
Thousands of holidaymakers now face quarantine or cutting their holidays short. This is a repeat of the situation we have seen over the last few months with holidaymakers making a chaotic dash back to the UK to avoid the quarantine.
Elaine Johnson from Hull was ‘furious’ having to fork out for tickets home as she and her husband had already paid for the package holiday but could not afford to quarantine on their return to the UK.
“As soon as we were informed by the travel agent we booked with that flights back early would be at a premium I paid for the tickets- I nearly choked when the lady said that will be €1450. Paying by credit card?.”
“We need to get back, the grandparents are watching the kids and my husband is at work. I feel like we are being held to ransom, it’s disgusting. Why doesn’t the UK government give more notice?”.
In a statement, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We recognise that any British people currently overseas may be nervous about the impact of coronavirus on their travel and their health. “We are in close contact with travel providers and our international partners to provide support to those British people affected by ongoing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Almost everyone now entering the UK – including British nationals – must fill in a ”passenger locator” form, regardless of whether or not they need to quarantine. The form asks travellers to provide their contact details and UK address. If someone who is required to self-isolate does not provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation at the traveller’s expense.