The first British Airways flight out of Cape Town was fully booked with furious holidaymakers who will need to pay thousands to quarantine in a hotel after the country was added to the Covid-19 red list
Image: Jamie Pyatt News Ltd)
Furious Brits are finally flying home after being trapped in South Africa after Boris Johnson put the country on the Covid-19 red list.
The BA42 flight was fully booked with holidaymakers desperate to get back to the UK where they will need to pay thousands for a hotel quarantine before going home.
Personal trainer Simon Heaton, 45, and wife Kerry, 45, from Chiselhurst, Kent, said their eight-day holiday to Cape Town has become a nightmare.
He said: ”We arrived last Friday at 8am on the BA43 and only found out when we touched down at Cape Town and turned our phones on that South Africa had been red-listed.
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Jamie Pyatt News Ltd)
Jamie Pyatt News Ltd)
“We were at 36,000 feet when the decision was made and we found out that we had to be home again by 4am on Sunday morning to the UK if we were to avoid quarantine.
“Kerry and I had left our son Alex, 13, and daughter Georgie, three, with their grandparents to get a well-deserved break and we had put our labrador in boarding kennels as well.
“But we both knew we could not risk quarantine and leave our kids with our grandparents for an extra 10 days as that would not be fair on them and had to get home.”
Kerry said: “I think Boris was totally wrong to ban all flights back as if we had just got off a plane and had not even got into Cape Town we should have been allowed an immediate return.
“After we got to our hotel and had to start hitting the phones but it became clear that we would have to quarantine at a cost of £3700 even though we are both double jabbed.
“It would seem that our holiday insurance will not cover us to we have to for it ourselves.
“We are fortunate in that we can afford the financial side but what we can’t afford is putting the children’s grandparents through an 18-day ordeal or kennelling our dog for so long.
Jamie Pyatt News Ltd)
“Alex and Georgie are finding it very stressful as they have not been away from their mum and dad for so long and it puts all our Christmas preparations on a very big hold.”
Simon added: “Our whole holiday was sadly shadowed by anxiety having to make constant phone calls to not only get a flight home but one that fitted in with hotel quarantine.”
Mandy Tredoux, 57, is flying to the UK to help their single-mum daughter with childcare over the Christmas period.
The photographer from Leeds, Yorkshire, said: “I work out of Cape Town but my daughter at home has an autistic child and a toddler and desperately needs help.
“I planned the trip a month ago to help get my daughter Casey, 37, who is a single mum get Michaela, 13, who is autistic and her toddler Casey through Christmas and the New Year.
“They were all expecting me and I could not let Michaela down as she was so excited so I have no choice but to soak up the £2285 and sit in a hotel in quarantine for 10 days.”
Retired British Airways worker Graham Egan, 61, from Brighton, Sussex, who was visiting friends in Cape Town said: “I am double jabbed and have had the booster so I would have hoped I would have not had to quarantine but now I am going to have to try and find £2285 I had not budgeted for.
“I think because Boris got so much stick the last time around when he did not close the UK borders and allowed the Indian people to come in for three weeks he has knee-jerked.”
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Wholesale food company boss John Hudson, 53, from Leeds, and wife Tracy had taken a fortnight away from their work and seven grown-up children.
Both John and Tracy have been double jabbed and also had their booster and thought they would be safe from quarantining when they booked a South African holiday.
Unemployed teacher Lauren Slack, 41, from Manchester, had taken an extended break to stay on holiday with friends in South Africa when suddenly she got an offer of a job.
The languages tutor said: “I took the offer on the spot last week and desperately tried to get a flight as soon as possible and was offered four flights that were then later cancelled.
“British Airways was the fifth flight I booked and I was due to fly two days on Tuesday to start work on Monday morning after a long spell without a job but that was cancelled.
“BA rebooked me for today and I was told I would have to quarantine for 10 days in London.
“I have spent £800 on four flights that were cancelled which have not yet been refunded then £800 on this one and tried to explain that I only had £2700 left in my bank.
“I said that after taking out £2285 of that in quarantine I was nearly skint and had to get to Manchester and was so scared about my new employer cancelling my job offer. But they were marvellous and told me not to worry and start work as soon as I could.
“I am bloody furious over this whole charade and have nearly had a nervous breakdown and have literally foamed at the mouth what with paying for flights and cancellations.”
Covid-19 infection rates in South Africa have multiplied quickly in the last week but so far the death rates have remained low at below 30 a day.
The badly hit tourism and hospitality industry is on its knees having expected a bumper Christmas as South Africa moves into summer but have had 56,000 hotel cancellations.
The desperate boost to the economy was devastated by the near worldwide ban of flights from South Africa as the alarm was raised about a so-called “worst ever” strain.
President Ramaphosa has slammed countries such as the UK, USA, Japan, European Union, Canada, Brazil, India and Thailand for closing their borders.
He said it was wrong to “punish not reward” South Africa for discovering and reporting Omicron and said cutting off the country was a non-scientific based “knee jerk reaction”.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.