Furious Britons pay up to £700 a ticket for last-minute flights back to the UK before 4am on Saturday after Poland and Turkey are put on the 14-day Covid quarantine list
- Charles Swallow, 33, forked out the huge sum to avoid having to stay at home
- Heathrow and Luton airports were both busy with travellers rushing back to UK
- Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are also now on the red list
Frustrated Brits have had to pay up to £700 a ticket for last-minute flights back to the UK before 4am on Saturday after Turkey and Poland were put on the 14-day Covid quarantine list.
Charles Swallow, 33, from Newmarket, had flown out to Turkey to avoid Britain’s lockdown, but ended up having to fork out the enormous sum after the price of the flight changed half-way through booking.
Boris Johnson’s 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.
Friends Bethany, Kelly and Louise after arriving back at Luton Airport today from a sunshine holiday in Turkey
Charles Swallow, 33, from Newmarket, had flown out to Turkey to avoid Britain’s lockdown, but ended up having to fork out the enormous sum after the price of the flight changed half-way through booking
Mr Swallow, who arrived at Heathrow this morning, told MailOnline: ‘I was supposed to fly back tomorrow but I realised yesterday that they changed the quarantine situation between Turkey and England.
‘The second I got home I went to book a flight back today to avoid the whole two weeks quarantine. I found a flight for £90 but half way through that booking I got a message pop up saying “your flight is now £700”.
‘I had to bite the bullet because I have got a lot of work to do so I had to pay £700 for the flight. I’m gutted but what can you do? It is what it is.’
Luton Airport was also busy with passengers returning from both countries this morning.
Friends Kelly, 33, Bethany, 32, and Louise, 28, all from Manchester, were five days into a sunshine holiday in Turkey when they heard the news on Thursday about the new measures.
Kelly said ‘The first I knew about it was when my friend back here in England sent me a link to the BBC story about the news that Turkey and Poland had been added to the list.
‘We should have been flying back to Manchester on Sunday, but we had to change all our plans when we heard this news.’
The women had only booked the holiday a few days before they left last Sunday on purpose to make sure it was safe to go there and they wouldn’t be faced with quarantine measures on their return.
‘We booked at the last minute to make sure it was safe, so it’s so disappointing what’s happened’ said Bethany.
The trio said they had to return because of job commitments, but they said they planned to head into London tonight, before heading back to the North West tomorrow.
They say they had to pay £150 each to get earlier flights back to the UK.
Lizzie Drury had barely touched down on the tarmac at Warsaw airport before friends and colleagues in the UK gave her the bad news
One British woman who travelled to Poland for work was in the country for just 20 minutes before realising she had to instantly return or face quarantine for two weeks.
Lizzie Drury had barely touched down on the tarmac at Warsaw airport before friends and colleagues in the UK gave her the bad news.
The 48-year-old, an equine nutritionist from Suffolk, had to pay around an extra £500 to get back home to Heathrow today.
She said: ‘I flew to Warsaw yesterday to take part in a conference that we were helping to host and then literally within 20 minutes of landing yesterday we were then being notified by people back here at home that we had to get out as fast as possible unless we wanted to isolate for two weeks.
‘We had to pay for a hotel at the airport and then book the flight which was doubling, tripling in price. It’s probably been an extra, £500 if not more.
‘What’s so frustrating is that everything was left to the last minute to book in the hope of following government recommendations to travel etc. Even still you’re given 24 hours’ notice to then get back.’
Mr Drury was one of around 200 passengers returning from Warsaw on a packed flight to Heathrow Airport today. Other travellers also spoke of hugely inflated ticket prices.
Magda, 30, who is originally from Poland but has lived in Feltham, west London, for the last 10 years, had to pay £400 for her ticket back to the UK.
She said: ‘We had to buy a new ticket, it was so crazy. Tickets for today were about £400 at first and then jumped up to £1,000. Luckily I was able to get a cheaper ticket but paid £400.
‘You couldn’t fly from all of Poland, all of the tickets were around £800. It’s getting crazy, people are going to Germany to stay for a few days because they still have holiday and then fly back.
‘I was very disappointed, they only gave us one day to get back. Basically I haven’t slept since because I found out at about 8pm yesterday and needed to pack and I’ve been travelling for about six hours. Now I’m going home to sleep.’
Chloe Brammah, a freelance beauty technician pictured yesterday in Turkey, told MailOnline that she was concerned she would lose earnings if forced to quarantine on her return
Chloe, whose flight is not until next Saturday, said that she has decided to stay in the country as she fears there will be no flights tomorrow because everyone will be rushing to leav
Alex Dunn, 42, from Daventry, was three days into a six day break with her husband and their family in Poland when they heard the quarantine announcement.
With her children needing to be back in school, Ms Dunn – who is from Poland – and her husband, took the decision to leave early, missing the family wedding, which was to be the highlight of their trip.
They spent Thursday trying to change flights and, in the end, she ended up paying £408 for fresh tickets for a flight back to the UK.
She said: ‘I am so upset. I should be back in Poland today at my nephew’s wedding, but I’ve had to miss it.’
Thomas Cook has now stopped selling holidays to Turkey and Poland after they were added to the quarantine list.
The popular travel brand re-launched last month as a ‘Covid-ready’ company only selling holidays to destinations on the Government’s safe travel corridor list and has committed to providing flexibility to customers affected by changes to the rules.
A spokesman said: ‘Turkey has been so popular since we launched and it’s a huge shame that we have had to stop selling holidays to this fantastic country.
‘We are in touch with customers who are due to head out there in the next two weeks to see if they want to move their holiday elsewhere or to a later date. We are also contacting all those customers currently enjoying a holiday in Turkey to help them decide what to do.
‘For any other customers who have booked a Turkey holiday and want to discuss their options, give us a ring or drop us a chat and our team will be happy to help.’
There were fears yesterday that Greece and Italy could be subject to quarantine rules after the former recorded 20.5 cases per 100,000 people in recent days while Italy was at slightly above 20 per 100,000.
The Government currently uses a threshold of 20 cases per 100,000, along with a number of other criteria, when it makes decisions on whether to add or remove countries from its quarantine list.
The seven-day rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Poland is now at 25.9, increasing from 15.6 in the previous week.
Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba reported 142.4 new cases per 100,000, unchanged from 142.4 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s rate has dropped to 12.9 cases, down from 14.2 in the week prior – but there are fears these figures are under reported and the true spread of infection is much higher, putting holidaymakers at greater risk.
Yesterday’s announcement by Mr Shapps means holidays are only currently possible without any restrictions at either end to Germany, Sweden, Italy, mainland Greece, Gibraltar, San Marino and Liechtenstein.
The list of countries which UK travellers can visit without facing 14 days in self-isolation continues to dwindle.
The list of places Britons can travel to and return from without quarantining or taking Covid tests was already reduced to just nine last week.
Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and the Caribbean island of Curacao were all removed from the safe list last Thursday.
There are still approximately 60 countries on the UK’s ‘green list’ where quarantine is not required on return, but many of the nations have their own restrictions on arrival or are closed to visitors completely.
Mr Shapps said that Poland was added to the ‘red list’ after the rate of positive tests in the country nearly doubled from 3.9 per cent to 5.8 per cent alongside a ‘rapid increase in weekly cases’.
The Transport Secretary said restrictions are being imposed on travel to Turkey because of the way the country is keeping track of Covid-19.
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