Travellers miss flights home due to delays in hotel quarantine booking system

Megan Baynes, PA

Passengers on the hotel quarantine scheme said they have been forced to miss flights back to the UK due to delays in the Government’s booking scheme.

With the Government’s hotel quarantine scheme well under way, people travelling from banned “red list” countries have found themselves unable to board flights due to missing paperwork.

UK and Irish nationals and UK residents returning to England from a country deemed at high risk for Covid-19 must now self-isolate in hotels. The rule applies to people returning to Scotland from any destination. No international flights are operating to Wales or Northern Ireland.

One passenger told the PA news agency that the delays had led to them missing two flights back from Ethiopia.

The hotel quarantine system is automated and run by travel management firm CTM.

While the majority of customers receive an invoice immediately after paying £1,750 for a quarantine stay, some said they are experiencing delays receiving that invoice.

Without an invoice number, travellers cannot complete their passenger locator forms, proving they have booked and paid for accommodation.

One passenger said she was refused entry on to a plane without the invoice number.

Passengers who do not arrange a quarantine package prior to arrival in England from red list countries face a penalty of up to £4,000, on top of the quarantine costs.

Those experiencing the delays are those who see their initial payment for the hotel declined, or those opting for a Government deferred repayment plan — this means those struggling financially are most affected.

A CTM spokesman told PA: “These bookings need to be approved by the Government before the invoice is issued and as a result, there may be a short delay whilst approval is obtained and an invoice is generated.”

Customers also reported difficulty getting hold of CTM to resolve issues and get an invoice number, with one person saying she was on hold to the company for almost two hours.

Passengers who quarantine at home are required to order Covid tests, to be taken on days two and eight. However, some have said they are experiencing delays receiving these on time.

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