Portugal: Holidaymakers discuss Green List changes
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Many enraged travellers have claimed that they are being refused a refund for the £150 Covid tests they will no longer need. With Portugal being downgraded this week, travel to the country is more tightly restricted and returning passengers will have to quarantine after their trip.
Many Britons have therefore made the decision to cancel their holidays, with many tourists in Portugal rapidly trying to return to the UK before the new rules take effect on Tuesday morning.
Some airlines have now hiked up prices for flights, leaving those affected with little option but to spend.
Ava Evans, a producer at LBC, called the lack of refund “disgraceful” given that she can no longer visit Portugal as planned.
Writing on Twitter, she said: “Covid tests scam of the century – £150 non refundable, even if you now can’t fly. Disgraceful.
“No refunds for Portugal bookings w/o [without] insurance (as the flights still go). Terrible messaging – why encourage then make it unviable?”
A second traveller, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Like many people we have paid for tests to go to Portugal and now have to cancel them, but they are all non refundable.
“It’s not fair to lose £££ on last minute changes when we were promised longer lead times before traffic light changes.”
The travel update has left many passengers livid and questioning the government’s motives for the change, as they claim it was done to reduce the spread of new Covid variants before June 21.
According to a spokesperson for TUI, half of its customers with bookings for Portugal in June have changed their trip – most of which will now travel in the summer of 2022.
The remainder are still planning to go ahead with the trip despite the quarantine rules.
TUI is allowing passengers to amend their trip, but is stopping short of giving out refunds given that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office does not advice against travel to the country entirely.
One seat on a Ryanair flight from Lisbon to Manchester on Monday currently costs £339, though on Wednesday this drastically drops to just £75.
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Similarly, those flying with British Airways from Faro to London will be set back £348 on Sunday and Monday, with this being reduced to £137 on Tuesday.
Simon Smith, who is currently in Portugal, has been struggling to find coronavirus tests for himself and his family so that they can return to the UK on Saturday morning.
He claimed that he visited the main hospital and five medical centres, one of which turned him away after running out of testing kits.
He said: “There were about 35 people in the queue, all British, and they told us, ‘the first 15 are okay, but the rest of you might as well go home because we don’t have enough tests’.
“There has just been no thought into it at all. I thought with the whole idea of the green list was that they were going to monitor it and give people plenty of time and notice to get flights and sort out problems with testing.”
His family have been told that the airport has a small amount of Covid tests available, so they are planning to get their five hours early in the hopes of getting one.
Mr Smith added: “If we can’t get that, we can’t fly. And then we are going to be stuck here, and then have to face ten days’ quarantine.I have meetings on Friday, I can’t afford ten days’ quarantine, it is a joke.”
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