UK

Coronavirus: Delayed EasyJet passengers face unforeseen quarantine

An EasyJet Airbus A320-214 refuelling for the next flight at gate 101 on 16th October 2019 at Gatwick airport north terminal, United Kingdom. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The EasyJet flight was from Gibraltar to Gatwick Airport

A group of EasyJet passengers returning from Gibraltar are having to self-isolate for two weeks after a flight delay meant they were put up in a hotel across the border in Spain.

The flight was due to leave on Monday but was delayed overnight.

Easyjet could not book enough rooms for all passengers in Gibraltar so some spent the night in Spain.

The UK's travel rules mean travellers from Gibraltar do not have to quarantine, but arrivals from Spain do.

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and shares a border with Spain. Its airport lies next to the border.

One passenger who was on the flight to London's Gatwick Airport sent a message to the airline on Twitter, calling the situation "ridiculous".

Alan Orme said: "My option is to move from low Covid Gibraltar to high Covid Spain. I cannot afford to self-isolate. EasyJet will you pay my loss of earnings?"

Gibraltar, which has a population of about 32,000, has had a total of 246 confirmed cases of coronavirus and no deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO says Spain has recorded more than 386,000 cases and 28,838 deaths.

Spain was taken off the UK government's list of travel corridors last month, following a rise in cases. It meant travellers returning from there must stay at home for 14 days.

People who do not self-isolate when required can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the fine is £480, and up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gibraltar is a limestone outcrop on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, adjacent to Spain

EasyJet said it had booked all available hotel rooms in Gibraltar as well as some near the airport just over the border in Spain.

The airline said it was aware of five rooms in Spain that were used by customers. Customers were not required to take the rooms in Spain, it added, saying many customers arranged their own accommodation.

In a statement, EasyJet said: "As a result of low visibility weather conditions in Gibraltar, easyJet had to delay flight EZY8906 to Gatwick overnight.

"The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority and we would never operate a flight unless it is safe to do so.

"We tried to provide as many hotel rooms in Gibraltar as possible, however due to a shortage of rooms it was not possible to provide these for all customers so we offered accommodation in Spain for those who wanted it.

"Some customers found accommodation themselves in Gibraltar and easyJet will reimburse the cost to them."

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