British airlines are working to establish additional flights to Portugal so the British can return home before the country is placed on the UK’s Amber list. The Iberian nation was removed from Britain’s green list of safe countries to visit on Thursday after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the presence of the Delta (Indian) variant and an increasing rate of positivity were behind this decision.
Changes to the UK’s system of ranking countries based on their infection rates, similar to a traffic light, will go into effect on June 8 at 4 a.m. Anyone arriving in the UK from Portugal subsequently must self-isolate at home for ten days and must pass two expensive COVID-19 PCR tests after arrival. The travel industry has called the British government’s sudden move incredibly disappointing and confusing. In contrast, Portuguese government ministers called it “not logical” as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remains relatively stable.
easyJet adds 1,000 seats on Faro flights
To deal with rising numbers of UK holidaymakers rushing home before Tuesday’s deadline, Luton Airport (LTN)-based easyJet has said it will operate additional flights to bring back British holidaymakers at home. To meet demand, easyJet has added 1,000 seats on flights from Faro Airport (FAO) to London Gatwick (LGW), London Luton Airport (LTN), Bristol Airport (BRS ) and Manchester Airport (MAN).
In a statement released yesterday by easyJet, the low-cost carrier said customers will be able to change their flights without paying a fee up to two hours before departure. easyJet says that unlike other airlines, easyJet customers can change bookings for any flight or destination on the airline’s network.
This means that people who had booked a holiday in Portugal believing they would be on the UK’s safe country list can easily change their trip to another date or destination on the easyJet network of 35 countries across the UK. ‘Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
EasyJet customers can easily change flights
Speaking of Portugal’s removal from the green list in the statement, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said:
“We know firsthand from our customers how hard this sudden decision to put Portugal on the Amber List is. With many British tourists currently in Portugal, our priority is to help clients who need to return before the Tuesday deadline. We are providing over a thousand additional seats from Portugal to the UK by flying larger planes and adding additional flights where there is demand.
“And, for customers who need assistance with testing requirements, we are working with approved testing partner Collinson to provide assistance to customers in Portugal who need to organize further testing.
“We already offer some of the most flexible policies for customers through our Protection Promise, which means that all customers who have booked to travel to Portugal this summer and want to change their plans can be transferred to another date or destination, without fresh. “
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TUI will deploy the Dreamliners
The UK’s national carrier, British Airways, said it was planning three more flights to Faro to bring British holidaymakers home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. British Airways has contacted Simple Flying to tell them that its additional flights will include the operation of a Boeing 777 on Monday.
Customers in Portugal can change their flights for free via “Manage my reservation” on ba.com. British holiday charter airline TUI also responded to the news by saying it would deploy larger Boeing 787 Dreamliners rather than single-aisle Boeing 737s to bring people home.
Europe’s largest airline Ryanair has not announced any additional flights from Portugal, but was quite vocal when it spoke of the UK government’s approach calling it a “stop-go-stop” . Ryanair says given that so many people in the UK have now been vaccinated, why would they need to self-isolate when they return home? The Dublin-headquartered airline also said that Portugal should be put back on the green list and that Malta, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands should be added as their infection rates are 30 per 100,000, which which is lower than the UK Covid case rates.
Are you in Portugal looking to get home before Tuesday’s deadline? Please tell us in the comments if you were able to secure a seat on the additional flights and how it went with the airline.