Holidaymakers have scrambled to return home from Portugal just in time before new quarantine rules came into effect this morning.
Spilling into the arrivals hall, hundreds of relieved passengers narrowly succeeded in beating the deadline and are free from self-isolation – but in doing so, perhaps also out of pocket.
In some cases, passengers have spent hundreds of pounds on new flights in an effort to return home before this morning’s 4 o’clock final call.
Danny Humphries and his family of three are among them.
Danny had accepted the £750 for pre-departure COVID tests as unavoidable, but then came the added cost of re-booking his flights a day earlier than planned.
He blames the speed of the UK government’s decision of moving Portugal to the shrinking green travel list for the inflated costs and says he feels “cheated”.
Speaking to Sky News after returning from Faro he said: “When we left we were told nothing would change before 10 June.
“And obviously we’re out there for our family vacation, then they changed it to the 7th which just stressed out the whole holiday. I feel cheated.”
Danny and his family had no option but to come home because they could not afford the self-isolation as he works for himself.
“What choice did I have? Who can stay home for 10 days? I’m self-employed, it’s just not feasible. My wife couldn’t do it. Pretty much everyone coming off the plane is in the same boat,” he said.
Some 10,000 British tourists in Portugal have flown home over the past few days.
Queuing started early at Faro Airport.
Those in line had passenger locator forms and a negative COVID test result at the ready.
Paul Nevard and his young family booked their holiday to the now amber-list country when it was initially given the green light.
He says it’s difficult to trust that swift changes won’t happen again.
“I think the confidence has gone hasn’t it because we booked the holiday on the basis that it was a green list country,” he said. “We didn’t think for one second they’d change it this quickly.
“We’re so lucky to have made it back in time. Everyone on the resort we were on is livid. I just feel so sorry for the businesses out there too.”
Lisa and Martin Cope have been in Porto Santo for the past week. They were among a handful of passengers Sky News spoke to who felt the vaccination programme was not being relied on.
“What’s the point of having had the jabs and what’s the point of testing regularly like we’ve been doing for months if you can’t dip your toe in the water and live life and travel again,” Lisa said.
“I think we need to be allowed to use our own judgement about certain things because we keep being messed about all the time.
“One minute it’s green, one minute it’s amber – you’ve got your jabs, you do your lateral flow tests, what more does the government want from us?”
It is a similar question posed by Jo Jocham who returned from Faro.
“Three, almost four of us have had our double vaccinations, this is what we were told to do, this is the way the world is going to open up again.
“I just feel so sad there are still so many restrictions. The traffic light system is a joke, an absolute joke.”
The Department for Transport said it was forced to act swiftly in removing Portugal from the travel green list following their analysis of cases depicting a rise.