rits desperate to escape Portugal before an amber list deadline have spoken of carnage at airports.
Confused holidaymakers, desperate to get home ahead of the deadline of 4am Tuesday, were met by two-hour-long queues at Faro Airport.
EasyJet was forced to apologise for “busier than usual conditions” after passengers said staff were struggling to cope with the influx and “Thorpe Park-like” queues snaking out of the door.
In a tweet the airline told one disgruntled passenger the UK Government’s “sudden” decision to change Portugal from the green to amber list was behind the rush.
They added: “The staff might have been overwhelmed with the influx of people either changing their bookings for today, this is besides the passengers with existing bookings scheduled to depart today as well.
One flyer complained: “Absolute carnage at Faro airport today. It took over two hours to check in with some very stressed and upset families.
Pointing the finger at Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the flyer added: “You deliberately created this situation and why didn’t you let half term families from safe Algarve home first?”
Hayley Johansen, 50, flew to Portugal with her family on the day the amber list decision was announced and had to scramble to find emergency Covid tests despite already spending £500.
“There were a lot of people struggling to get tests. I spent about four hours on the phone on Thursday and Friday trying to find somewhere to get testing,” she told The Times.
Louis Cohen, 21, from Brighton said he witnessed hundreds of people waiting in line at the easyJet’s baggage drop off point at the airport.
“It’s like queuing for Thorpe Park over the summer holiday or half-term and you are waiting two hours to get on a ride”, he told The Mirror.
It came after the boss of Airlines UK said there was “no consistency” and a lack of transparency over changes to travel rules.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of the industry body which represents UK carriers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ministers had reneged on promises over a “green watchlist” that would have given travellers increased warning about a country possibly coming off the safe list.
“It would be a list of countries that were on the cusp or there was a risk that they would be moving from green to amber so passengers were aware of that, it was fully transparent and they would be taking that risk when they booked,” he said.
“It was entirely to stop what happened last summer when countries were moving up and down off the corridor list on a weekly basis and we saw people stranded overseas and then desperate to come home again because they couldn’t afford to quarantine.
“It has caused complete pandemonium because we don’t have that watchlist that we were promised by the Government and I think with the taskforce, the transparency is not there, we don’t know what has to happen for countries to move from green to amber, or amber to green for that matter.”
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