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What is the advice for Britons struggling to travel home during pandemic?

UK News | Published:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel to many countries.

Passengers from the Holland America Line ship Zaandam walk through arrivals at Heathrow Airport after returning on a repatriation flight from Florida

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe has left many Britons abroad struggling to figure out a way to get home.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued advice “against all but essential international travel” in the face of the growing number of border and movement restrictions being imposed around the world.

Warning that countries “may restrict travel without notice”, the FCO said special Government-chartered flights to the UK will only operate for priority countries where commercial flights are not possible and travellers should not assume these flights will be available in countries where commercial routes are still operating.

Here is the current guidance for some popular tourist destinations for Britons:

– Bahamas

A special flight has been arranged from Nassau on April 7 for British tourists, short-term visitors and their direct dependants to return to the UK.

– Canada

International flights are now only operating from Toronto Pearson, Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport and Britons are being urged to leave now by commercial means to avoid being stranded.

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Many airlines have either suspended all international flights or are no longer flying to the UK, while Air Canada is running a reduced schedule to London throughout April.

– India

Three flights have been chartered by the Government to fly back to London on April 8, 10 and 12 from Goa, and on April 9 and 11 from both Mumbai and Delhi.

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– Czech Republic

Seats have to be secured in advance with the British Embassy for a limited number of coaches which are periodically running from Prague to London until April 10. International air travel is now limited to Prague Airport, which remains open, but flights are being cancelled. There are currently no direct flights between Prague and the UK, and indirect flights may be cancelled at short notice.

– Indonesia

The FCO warns that flights and medical evacuation may soon not be available or become very expensive and urges Britons to leave on the remaining commercial routes which still have some spaces.

– South Africa

With no scheduled commercial flights set to depart from South Africa until at least April 17, the FCO says it is in contact with airlines and local authorities to ensure British nationals can return to the UK and urges returning travellers to contact them – at SouthAfricaBritishNationalReturns@fco.gov.uk – with their personal details. Port entry for UK visitors is banned and neither cruise liners nor smaller leisure vessels are permitted to dock in South African ports.

Coronavirus – Fri Apr 3, 2020
The empty arrivals concourse at Terminal 5 of Heathrow airport, London, during the  lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus (Heather Clifton/PA)

– Spain

Commercial flights are still running to the UK from Spain and travellers are warned to return now and “don’t run the risk of getting stranded”.

– USA

Commercial flights are available but many airlines have reduced their transatlantic flight schedules by up to 75%. Transatlantic flights are still running from JFK New York, LAX Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Newark and Atlanta.

– Elsewhere

Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Colombia, Congo, Cuba and Grenada are among the places where there are no commercial options for Britons to get back home.

Austria, Australia, Jamaica, Japan and Hong Kong are among the destinations where there is still a limited chance to book commercial travel back home.

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