Travel news latest: Thousands of Britons forced to rush home ahead of red list deadline

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Travellers arriving from Montenegro and Thailand after 4am on Monday face mandatory hotel quarantine as the two nations join the red list – forcing thousands of Britons to scramble together plans to rush home before the deadline.

The changes to the Government travel list have caught hoards of Britons, who are currently overseas in both destinations off guard – many are reporting a lack of direct flights to enable them to return home over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Rebecca Woodward on Twitter told Telegraph Travel: “In Montenegro now, due to travel home Monday morning. There are no flights back to the UK before then so what does the government expect us to do?”

A snap search for flight on Skyscanner shows that this direct flight from the European destination appears to have sold out – instead holidaymakers will be forced make one, even two connecting flights, in the likes of Poland or Serbia, to return to the UK before Monday morning.

It’s a similar story for anybody wanting to return from Thailand. The only direct flight available before the deadline is from Phuket this evening, at a cost of £507.

Jan Martinovic is currently in Montenegro and has managed to secure flights home, she told Telegraph Travel: “It’s cost us just short of £1,000 to book additional flights last night and we’re going to have to pay around £300 for a hotel as the stopover is 12 hour.” She stresses there was “absolutely not enough notice given by the Government.”

Scroll down for more of the latest news.

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In focus: The green list

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Switzerland, Canada and the Azores were among a handful of just seven countries to be promoted to the green list last night.

There are now 43 countries on the list, from which all arrivals, regardless of their vaccination status, can avoid quarantine on return to the UK.

The twist it, not all of the destinations are open to Britons – find the full rules and where you can visit, restriction-free, here.

GP calls for holiday travel ban in Wales

Ministers should consider a ban on holidays for unvaccinated Welsh people, a GP has recommended.

Dr Mair Williams said the rules were needed to encourage people to get vaccinated.

It comes as the Welsh government announces there will be no changes to current restrictions – while Covid cases in Wales are the highest since January.

The GP, ​​who works at a practice in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, said people not getting vaccinated is ”the biggest problem” and the only way to bring down case rates was to “restrict” what unvaccinated people can do – such as go to the pub or go on holiday.

Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “At this point I think it is important that we hold our nerve, that people take precautions so we don’t see it spreading further than necessary and that people stay outside if possible over the Bank Holiday weekend simply because we know that the virus is less likely to transmit outside.”

Thailand to ease restrictions

In a bitter twist of fate, Thailand will ease Covid-19 restrictions on retails and restaurants, the country’s taskforce has confirmed.

The news comes a matter of hours after it was announced, by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, that the South East Asia destination will join the UK’s red list on Monday.

A spokesperson did not confirm when the restrictions will be lifted. In some provinces, indoor dining is banned. some restaurants are still shuttered and shops are shut.

Thailand restaurant


Credit:
 Lauren DeCicca/Getty

Reaction: Airlines question ‘continued double standard’ applied to travel rules

While operators are happy to have seven more green-list destinations to travel to, industry bosses continue to question the Government’s approach to its travel rules, with further calls to remove costly testing requirements.  

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO said:  

With many still hoping to getaway for an extended summer break, we are pleased that more of Europe has now turned Green, opening up more options for travellers still seeking some summer sun. easyJet and easyJet holidays have extremely good prices still available to green and amber destinations across Europe for those looking for last-minute flights and holidays.  

We cannot understand the continued double standard that is applied to travel when the domestic economy is operating restriction free. The Government must urgently address this disparity by making sure Green truly is Green by removing costly and unnecessary testing requirements entirely, as well as for the fully vaccinated travelling from amber countries.  

No one wants to see flying become a preserve of the rich again – particularly when so many need to get away or reunite after such a long time.

‘At last, real hope that Australia will reopen to the UK by Christmas’

Qantas is aiming to restart flights between the UK and Australia by mid-December, news that is music to the ears of thousands of Britons eager to be reunited with loved ones Down Under, like Annabel Fenwick-Elliott.

She writes: “In order for Australia to open its gates, and allow tens of thousands of families to be reunited at last, the government will need to swallow its pride, tear up its zero-Covid blueprint, and replace it with a border regime shared by almost every other Western nation: proof of vaccination and testing before entry.”

Read more here.

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Britons share their frustration over changing travel rules

Britons currently have taken to Twitter to ask for advice and share their frustrations over being somewhat stranded in Montenegro – with very few flights before the red list deadline on Monday.

Are you, or do you know somebody, impacted by the changes to the red list? Get in touch on Twitter @TelegraphTravel or in the comments.

Reaction: ‘It’s time for a more proportionate system’

The traffic light changes have been met by further criticism from the travel industry, which continues to call for changes to the travel system.

A spokesperson from Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, said:  

This cycle needs to change. Despite nearly 80 per cent of over 16s being fully vaccinated the UK remains an outlier, with only a small number of ‘green’ destinations making international travel from the UK more expensive, burdensome and uncertain compared to our neighbours despite most travel abroad being no riskier than our unrestricted travel within the UK. Too many families are having to look over their shoulders for rule changes, and pay through the nose for tests – with no sign from Government that this will change.  

As has already happened across Europe, it’s time for a more proportionate system where tests are dropped for the fully vaccinated and from destinations where Covid risks are low, with tougher measures targeted at a small number of high risk countries.

In focus: The red list

Montenegro and Thailand join 60 other destinations on the red list.

All arrivals must complete a 10-day hotel quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per person.

Find the full list and what other rules apply, here.

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Yeterday’s top headlines

Before we begin, here’s a reminder of Thursday’s headlines:

  • Green additions: The Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Lithuania
  • Red additions: Thailand and Montenegro
  • No amber list additions
  • Qantas plans for UK-Australia flights to restart in December
  • New short-haul subsidiary considered for British Airways
  • Just four in 1,000 fully jabbed holidaymakers testing positive for Covid 

Now, on with today’s news.

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