Residents of the United Arab Emirates who flew to Spain’s Balearic Islands for an 11-day break before heading to the UK said they were frustrated with the UK government’s decision to remove the islands from its list of green trips.
Travelers said they now have to pay for expensive PCR tests in the UK and risk losing up to 11 days of annual leave in isolation.
British ministers last week moved Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca – where many UAE residents planned to visit – to its orange list.
Whether fully vaccinated or not, UAE residents who have received an injection abroad will be required to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK and submit a negative PCR test to exit isolation early. .
Joanne Barker, 47, said her family of four had no choice but to spend hundreds of pounds on PCR tests to get the most out of their short trip home.
“It will cost us an additional Â£ 800 [$1,100] in testing, âshe said.
âWe chose the Balearics because they were on the green watch list.
âWe flew from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona on Etihad and we had all our papers in order.
âWe all had a double bite and had a PCR test before departure. We landed in Palma, Mallorca on July 10th and plan to leave on July 21st.
âThe announcement was made to take effect two days before our connecting flight to the UK, so there is nothing we can do but absorb the extra testing and self-isolation at home in the UK. -United.”
Ms Barker, a primary school teacher in Dubai, said the family were considering traveling to another country on the Balearic Green List but, with few direct flights from the island, it would have cost them even more.
She said planning the trip had left her in a constant state of anxiety and although she tried to take advantage of it, the changing protocols still worry her.
“It is ridiculous that coming from such a safe place as the United Arab Emirates is causing us so much hardship as expats, with stress and extra expense,” she said.
âMy husband is due back on August 6, which hardly leaves him time to come out of his isolation to see his family.
“I’m a teacher and have to go back to school by August 22, but I’ll probably be home a week before because, again, uncertainty is playing in my mind.”
The new rule goes into effect Monday at 4 a.m. UK time.
People traveling from an Amber List country, without a vaccine administered in the UK, have the option to shorten the self-isolation period to 11 days by paying for a private PCR test on the fifth day via Britain test to free the schema.
It can cost anywhere from Â£ 25 to Â£ 500.
Dawn Neville, 45, said trying to get home to see her family has been a nightmare over the past few weeks.
After canceling two flights to the UK, she and her husband decided to make an 11-day layover in the Mediterranean, but that trip was also canceled.
The couple then booked flights to Menorca and left Dubai on July 14.
“We booked Menorca hoping it would stay on the green watch list,” she said.
âOur daughter texted us an hour after arriving at our hotel to tell us it was turning amber from July 19th.
âWe spent the whole night and the next morning trying to travel somewhere on the green list but, since Menorca is an island, there are no direct flights and all flights would have to pass through an amber country.
âWe decided we had to stay. We had to cancel all of our UK plans for the first week of our vacation which included moving our daughter to her second year accommodation at the university.
She said the UK government had “no consideration for expats” who just want to go home to see elderly relatives and relatives.
And seeing people at UK events such as the G7 summit, Euro 2020 final and Wimbledon without social distancing or masks “has been a kick in the teeth,” he said. she declared.
In total, the couple will have to take five PCR tests each, at a cost of over Â£ 500 for both.
âI was originally scheduled to fly on July 8, with my husband later joining me in the UK,â Ms Neville said.
âNow we are flying to the UK on July 25 but have to isolate ourselves for 11 days. But we hope to test for release on July 30.
âIn total, I lost 22 days of summer vacation that I could have spent with my daughter and elderly parents.
The United Arab Emirates has been on the UK’s red list since January 29.
This means that only British and Irish citizens living in the United Arab Emirates, or those with residence rights, can enter the UK if they are traveling directly – but they must self-quarantine at a hotel in their arrival at a cost of Â£ 1,750.
Update: July 19, 2021, 7:33 a.m.