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Tough times for travellers – tougher still for people who work in travel

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Simon Calder, also called The Man Who Pays His Way, has been writing about travel for The Independent since 1994. In his weekly opinion column, he explores a key travel problem – and what it means for you.

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If you suppose it’s a robust time to be a traveller – with infinite paperwork and drastically constrained horizons – spare a thought for people who work in the travel business, and significantly airports.

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Not solely are they enduring a precarious existence with money trickling away, they’re additionally uncomfortably in the entrance line of administering an unprecedented tangle of pink tape. Airline workers should confirm that each passenger meets the principles imposed by the authorities in their vacation spot. If they get it fallacious, and inadvertently permit somebody ineligible to fly, the corporate will get fined – the very last thing any travel agency wants.

Last Sunday, for instance, Angela and Robert Kennedy have been denied boarding their Jet2 flight from Leeds Bradford to Ibiza. They had complied exactly with the necessities to take a Covid check earlier than departure and full Spain’s passenger locator type. But they fell foul of a wholly separate problem: passport validity after Brexit.

When the UK selected to depart the European Union, we turned a “third country” and topic to some tough guidelines on travel paperwork. Like so lots of the penalties of Brexit, the results have been masked by the coronavirus pandemic. Now that worldwide travel is being grudgingly opened up, limitations are manifesting themselves.

According to the EU’s evaluation of passport validity, Mr and Mrs Kennedy had 5 months left from the day they have been on account of return from the Mediterranean island.

“Sorry, you can’t travel”, Jet2 mentioned. “Look”, the UK government says: “You need to have at least six months left.”

As I’ve mentioned many times, it’s the traveller’s duty to make sure they adjust to the principles of the nation they’re visiting. Regrettably, although, the UK has wrongly interpreted the laws for Spain and the remainder of the Schengen Area.

You want three months’ validity from the day you plan to depart the zone. Why the federal government pretends in any other case is past me; I’ve repeatedly warned officers the recommendation is fake and that people will likely be wrongly denied boarding. As it proved on Sunday.

When the Kennedys contacted me, understandably distressed and out of pocket, I contacted Jet2. To the agency’s appreciable credit score, inside 24 hours they’d agreed that the UK interpretation was incorrect and they’d as an alternative use the European Union guidelines. The couple have been flown out with all of the incidental prices coated by the vacation firm, and Jet2 has urged the federal government to get its story straight.

Airports will be immensely annoying locations at the most effective of times – significantly proper now, with so many hidden hurdles to journey up the traveller. I concern that many flights to Malta, Mallorca and past are leaving with empty seats as a result of befuddled passengers have did not adjust to vaccination or testing guidelines.

As travel unlocks later this month, with simpler entry for absolutely jabbed British travellers from “amber list” nations, the potential for upset will multiply. But please don’t take it out on the workers: they’re doing their very best to get you away. With even the UK authorities compounding the confusion, everybody in travel’s entrance line deserves courtesy and respect.

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