As the global pandemic tantalises UK holidaymakers with last-minute spikes, the government’s Thursday reviews invariably result in last-minute changes to the travel corridor rules.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps makes his decision based on “science” and then puts into place a 4am quarantine deadline for the following Saturday. He has been charged with an on/off travel switch and it’s driving everyone mad.

For many, this is far too short notice and the agony of that quarantine roulette wheel has seen thousands of holidaymakers – especially those that cannot afford the extra time off work – making a mad and expensive dash back in time to avoid having to self-isolate.

A case in point is the travel corridor that was extended to Portugal just a month ago and then taken away on Thursday 10th, leaving holidaymakers having to cut-short their holiday to make it home in time.

Simon Garner, from Ipswich, was among the Britons who rushed back from Portugal. He told the Daily Mail:

“It’s a shambles, they don’t give you enough notice to come back, they should give you a week to come back safely.”

Every time this happens the FCO – now the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth
& Development Office) – changes its advice and crosses of those places that hours earlier were considered safe places to visit for travellers.

According to Google Trends, there has been a 519% increase in travel-related searches including the phrases “tonight” and “today”.

Many airlines are choosing to go ahead with the flight which means they don’t have to give their customer a refund. And die-hard travellers are changing their habits and becoming last-minute bookers. According to Google Trends, there has been a 519% increase in travel-related searches including the phrases “tonight” and “today”.

The industry relies on those savvy travellers and those whose working life is so flexible that quarantine rules are of no consequence.

The horrid truth is that the downturn in travel is causing the downfall in the travel industry putting thousands of jobs at risk. To give you an idea, every aircraft at Heathrow supports 300 jobs in the supply chain. 

It’s mayhem and boggles the mind. And with refunds getting scarce as airlines maintain their routes, who would blame those that choose to ignore the advice dished out by the FCDO?

Travel insurers are beginning to respond by make coverage for no-go countries more affordable  Some may come to the conclusion as Bill Ferris from Bishops Stortford, that their trip to Greece should go ahead. Bill booked a DIY trip with BA and booked his hotel separately and could see no reason to be left out of pocket

I am not worried about self-isolation, I work for myself. I’ll of course fill in the required forms, have a virus test, got my travel isnurance and abide by the rules. In reality there’s nothing to stop me going”

Initially, there was a blanket quarantine for those returning from Greece. This caused an outcry which pricked the government’s ears who launched regional corridors – at last.

Incidentally, the FCDO advice is not legally binding. No-one will be fined and there are no penalties. However, breaking quarantine restrictions do carry penalties.

Not wishing to tar the government with shortsightedness, but wouldn’t it be better to have free testing at airports?