British Airways today caused panic for thousands of Britons rushing out to Portugal from May 17 after sending an official warning that their holiday could be illegal and they may be fined £5,000 each if they go
British Airways today caused panic for thousands of Britons rushing out to Portugal from May 17 after sending an official warning that their holiday could be illegal and they may be fined £5,000 each if they go.
The airline’s message to customers booked on to planes to Faro next week came just six days before the country is put on Britain’s ‘green list’ from Monday.
In a message sent to passengers booked on flights from Heathrow to Faro, seen by , BA warns: ‘You can only travel internationally from England for legally permitted reasons.This does not include holidays.’
And adding to the confusion, Global 6000 BA has said that passengers must fill out a Declaration to Travel form, even though they are due to be axed from May 16. Failure to fill one in is punishable by a £5,000 fine and even arrest.
The message added: You may be required to show the form at the port of departure. It is an offence to enter a port of departure or embarkation point without a properly completed form if you are travelling internationally.Some job-related exemptions apply.
‘You may be issued with a fixed penalty notice and directed to return home if you do not have a valid reason for travel.’ The confusion over guidance is bad news for BA, whose flights to the Algarve are one of its few ‘Green List’ destinations.
Last week the Foreign Office updated its official travel advice to say that they no longer advise against all but essential travel to Portugal.But the Portuguese Government is yet to update its entry requirements to match, just six days until Britons are due to start arriving on holiday.
The continuing chaos in the run up to the great getaway came as:
- Vaccine passport will be on the NHS app from next week so tourists can prove they have received two jabs on arrival at holiday hotspots;
- Caribbean islands are likely to be added to Green List next month – as travel bosses say Greece, Italy and Spain are also safe because less than 1 per cent of arrivals from there test positive for Covid;
- Every region of England saw zero Covid deaths at least once during the final week of April as weekly virus fatality toll halves in a month to 205 – the lowest since September;
BA warned passengers on flights to Faro today: ‘You can only travel internationally from England for legally permitted reasons.This does not include holidays’, despite Portugal being on the official ‘Green List’ from Monday
Thousands of Britons have booked to go to Portugal as the country opens up properly to tourists for the first time since 2020, but official guidance is yet to be updated
Yesterday MailOnline revealed that thousands of Britons will use a loophole to fly into ‘green list’ Portugal after May 17 before travelling over land to their holiday homes in Spain, France and Italy.
The opening up of flights next week has seen a rush of people planning to jet to Faro, Porto or Lisbon with nothing to stop them renting a car so they can then drive into Europe, experts say.
The land border between Portugal and Spain is open with the French border with EU countries expected to follow suit from as early as May 19, meaning British travellers will likely avoid having their passports checked.
And Britons with second homes in Europe can travel to them if they are preparing them for sale or need to carry out urgent repairs – but with most short haul flights to France and Spain axed, people are planning alternative ways to get there.
Online flights search engine Skyscanner has said that bookings to Portugal are already up 660 per cent per day based on a week ago – and people have taken to social media to admit they are planning to use the loophole to get to holiday homes.
Travel guru Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency consultancy, told MailOnline: ‘I think you will see a big rush on flights to Portugal because there are hundreds of thousands of Britons with second homes in Spain, France and Spain.
‘Many won’t have visited for more than a year – and will be desperate to get away from the UK.Others may want to see family abroad. They could drive across and then sit tight until the end of June when those countries are expected to go green’.
Mr Charles has also predicted that a version of the NHS’ digital vaccine passport will be up and running by May 17, while UK and Portugal Government advice warning against travel to and from Portugal will be changed ahead of the great holiday restart in a week’s time.
‘Holidaymakers travelling to and from Portugal will be viewed as a way to test how the travel system will work in Covid times before opening up to the rest of Europe, probably around June 21’, he said.
British second home owners with properties in Spain, France and Charter Airliner Italy may choose to fly into Portugal and drive to them when flights open up on May 17, experts have predicted
Covid cases in the UK and Portugal are very low – and are dropping in France, Italy and Spain – but travel is unlikely to be allowed to those countries from Britain until the end of June
The countri es on the ‘green list’ from May 17 are: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira; Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; the Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; the Falkland Islands; and Israel
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-c5f0f7a0-b16c-11eb-a388-b125d91d13be" website Airways warns flying to Portugal on Monday will be ILLEGAL