‘Gutted’ Britons back home after cutting short trips to beat quarantine deadline

·4-min read

Britons who had to cut short their holidays to Portugal after it was placed on the amber list have vented their fury at the Government as they arrived back in the UK.

Hundreds of Britons arrived at Gatwick Airport on Monday amid a rush to get home before 4am on Tuesday, when arrivals from Portugal must quarantine for 10 days at home.

Among them was Ola Adeyemini, 35, from Kennington, south London, who was on the Algarve for three nights with his partner Dee Fetuga to celebrate her birthday.

He said: “When we heard about the Tuesday cut-off, our plans to stay longer ended, which is such a shame.

Ole Adeyemini and Dee Fetuga at Gatwick
Ole Adeyemini and Dee Fetuga (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“We really wanted to extend the trip so we’re gutted because it would have been nice to relax for longer but we didn’t get to do that.

“It was manic at the airport, so many people missed their flight because of all the Covid forms and administrative details we had to fill out.

“We heard that some people spent thousands rebooking their tickets and cutting their holiday short, which is so sad.”

One couple said they paid £800 for a flight to avoid quarantining at home, leaving them under “extreme stress”.

Alan and Lisa Pechey at Gatwick
Alan and Lisa Pechey (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Alan and Lisa Pechey, from Cambridge, who were on holiday in Lisbon, had been due to return to London Stansted Airport on Tuesday, but paid £400 each to book a flight arriving at Gatwick on Monday morning.

Mrs Pechey, 66, told the PA news agency: “It was really expensive and I think the Government was totally unfair to throw that at us on Thursday because it really spoiled our holiday, totally.

“We had flown out on Monday for a relaxing break, but from Thursday onwards we were under extreme stress.

“My main problem was the stress, because we didn’t want to quarantine.

“I was pretty furious because they should have told us to watch out if we were going to Portugal so everyone would have known.”

The couple said their car had been parked at Stansted, and they would have to travel there to collect it.

Ana Pacheco, 28, from Islington, north London, who was on holiday near Porto, said: “I was a little annoyed and upset but there’s nothing I can do because I really needed to go to Portugal.

“I lost money on this trip, about £300 extra, because I was due to come back tomorrow evening, so it is quite annoying.

“I think there should have been extra time added on for us to get home, at least a week would have been better.”

Marcus Gardner arrives at Gatwick Airport
Marcus Gardner arrives at Gatwick Airport (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Other holidaymakers said their flight home was at “full capacity” and that the airports in Portugal were busier following the announcement.

Marcus Gardner, 26, from Battersea in south London, who arrived at Gatwick after a holiday in Porto, said: “We were pretty lucky, to be honest, because we were due to come back today anyway, but I would have been really annoyed if I had to tomorrow or something.

“Our flight was much busier than before – going there only a few people were on the plane but coming back it was full capacity.

“A lot of people were rushing to get home and at the airport there were loads of people waiting for a flight.”

Jack Malan, 67, from Sevenoaks, Kent, who was returning from Portugal with his wife, said: “Our flight back was 95% full, which wasn’t the case when we flew out there.

Paul and Jemma Nevard and their children at Gatwick
Paul and Jemma Nevard and their children (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“At the airport there was quite the queue with various checks and I must say it’s abysmal that the Government imposed this regulation so abruptly without warning, it’s very unfair.”

Another family said getting back was “absolutely fine” and that the airport was fairly quiet.

Paul Nevard, 37, from Bromley, in south-east London, who had flown in from Porto Santo Island with his partner Jemma and three children aged five months to eight, said: “We were really lucky as our trip ended today and obviously it comes in tomorrow morning.

“Some people we spoke to on the way over had booked for longer, so will have to quarantine, which is unfortunate.

“It was really quiet and easy flying over to be honest as no one’s travelling.

“I think the people there are highly frustrated, they’re doing everything they can and they made everything easy.”

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