Mallorcan holidaymakers scramble for return flights to UK ahead of Orange List travel rules start

Families enjoying a break in the sun had to scramble for last-minute flights in the middle of a race to leave Spain’s Balearic Islands before the amber travel rules came into effect.

This follows Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement on Wednesday that Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera are being removed from the government’s green list, which means travelers will have to self-quarantine for 10 days upon their return to the country. United Kingdom from July 19.

While fully vaccinated people and children under 18 will be able to ignore advice for Amber List countries from Monday, many still found their plans in tatters – and lost money on their reservations. vacations while spending more on new flights.

Michael Thompson, 35, his partner Megan Graham, 29, and their daughter Anastasia, 18 weeks, arrived at their all-inclusive resort in Cala d’Or in Mallorca just two days ago.

As the family, from Whitby in North Yorkshire, planned to return home on Monday, they were forced to change their plans. They quickly found flights a day earlier with Ryanair for a total cost of £ 140 to defeat the quarantine measures.

‘It was very expensive and caused a lot of problems,’ Mr Thompson said, adding that the couple not only lost a night in their hotel and their original flight home, but also spent £ 160 on testing Covid previously. direction the Balearics.

Mr Thompson wants to avoid 10 days of isolation so he can make it to his second vaccine appointment on July 24, which he doesn’t want to miss as rules ease for double vaccines.

“We are aware of the restrictions, we are a family that loves politics and likes to understand what is going on. We knew when [the Balearics] were on the [green] watch list, that could have been a possibility, ”Thompson said.

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Although he is prepared for the bad news, he added that he “struggled” to understand why the rules were so much stricter for overseas travel than for those staying in the UK in the middle of. skyrocketing case rates.

“To Whitby thousands and thousands of visitors come every day. They don’t pass any test before coming to our city. We don’t know if they were bitten because there is no vaccination passport, ”Thompson said.

“We will have passed three tests in total by the time we return, so we think it would be safer here than in our own city.”

On Thursday, Mark Rainsford, 39, also struggled with the inconvenience of the rule changes, vacationing with his wife Louise and two children – aged two and six months – in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca.

The family, who are British expats living in Switzerland, were both hit by Moderna but will not be exempt from the orange travel rules on Monday as the vaccines were not administered by the NHS.

While they aimed to use the Green List travel rules as a means of returning to the UK without quarantine next Saturday for a ‘crucial’ trip to visit the children’s grandparents, Mr Rainsford said said he had now booked Easyjet flights to Manchester on Sunday at a total cost of £ 60 – but the money lost to the hotel was considerably more.

“The flight was surprisingly reasonable as I changed it a few minutes after the announcement,” he added. “The real pain is the loss of over £ 1,000 in lost hotel nights.”

Although Mr Rainsford does not expect the cost of the hotel and their original flight to be covered by travel insurance – “we traveled with our eyes open to this point” – he added that there was no alternative.

As they will also have to quarantine themselves on their return to Switzerland, the 10-day quarantine in the UK was not an option because “it is not fair for a toddler to quarantine himself twice”, did he declare.

“It’s basically our only chance to see family this year. We just don’t trust the government to play by its own rules, and we can see that in winter it gets really bad again with more blockages. “

Hayley Nicholls, 31, who is currently on vacation in Mallorca with her partner and baby (Photo: Hayley Nichols)

Elsewhere on the island, Hayley Nicholls, 31, said it had been “easier to buy [her] home than it was to go on vacation, ”because the travel agents she sought advice from had little knowledge of current guidelines for Green List destinations.

She and her partner spent £ 485 on PCR testing before their flight and will now have to undergo testing again at a cost.

Although they return to England on July 24 as originally planned, as Nicholls does not need to take leave to quarantine himself while on maternity leave, she added that speculation before the change had marred vacations.

“It hasn’t been ideal and we haven’t been able to enjoy our vacation like you are supposed to, which was a shame after paying all that money to get here,” Ms. Nicholls said.

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