Thousands of Brits that have been left abroad are being charged up to ten times the standard return fare for a one-way ticket home.
Jet2 has cancelled all flights until April 30, other than running a “limited number of routes” before tomorrow.
Ryanair is also running an 80 per cent reduced service and is advising all customers to book a flight home before March 25.
And there have been thousands of complaints from people trying to get back about airlines taking days to respond.
‘Four days of hell’
Anne-Marie, who is stranded in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada, with no idea how to get back after “four days of hell” trying to contact easyJet.
She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve basically had four days of hell trying to get through to the Foreign Office, to easyJet, to find out how can we possibly get home.
“We started to think last Friday, we need to get out of here soon, we need to get thinking about flights. Then they were all cancelled.”
EasyJet is running three rescue flights from Hurghada today, and has vowed to bring all customers who travelled with it home.
However, the airline only has the contact details of those who booked directly through easyJet and is unable to contact those who booked via tour operators.
Both Jet2 and Ryanair have cancelled most flights for roughly six weeks, but this could be extended if countries extend travel bans.
Jet2 said it is “continuing to operate our scheduled programme, with aircraft flying empty from the UK so that we can fill them and bring customers home”.
Stranded Britons also said flights being offered by many commercial airlines were “unaffordable”.
And many said they feared being stuck abroad during the deadly outbreak.
‘No obvious way out’
London cardiac surgeon, Dr Moby Rehman, is one of 400 people that are stuck in Peru, where they were told that there is “no obvious way out” of the “crisis situation”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are vulnerable people trapped in Peru, including the elderly and the pregnant and people with chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma and heart disease, with limited supplies of medicine.”
Colombian airline Avianca is trying to charter a flight from Lima to London this weekend from scratch but tickets for the one-way trip are estimated to cost up to £3,000 as they “will have to hire out everything and make sure everything works”, provided that the Peruvian government allows it.
Passengers will end up footing the bill for the new flight and all its logistics and staffing, which causes the price of a ticket to soar. They will find out if it’s possible by Sunday.
In a statement the airline said: “The support of the authorities and passengers is necessary, since being a special situation, several resources must be exclusively dedicated to the operation of these extraordinary flights that are not usually part of the airline’s itineraries and which will only make the outward journey with passengers.
“Operation permits are not yet confirmed, but in case they are issued, interested travellers should note that fare difference fee may apply depending on the travel date.”
RAAB TO THE RESCUE
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday that the Government is doing its best to repatriate those left abandoned by their airlines in airports.
Mr Raab yesterday revealed he was in talks with commercial airlines about operating new routes and also with allies on creating a “window of opportunity” to take Britons back on their flights.
Giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, Mr Raab said the government was “rising to” the “massive, epic challenge” of getting everyone home.
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Mr Raab encouraged those stranded or travelling now to “be realistic” and consider “if they can stay safely in the countries where they are for a period”.
He said 28,000 Britons had phoned the helpline in Malaga, Spain, in one day alone.
He also said he was hoping that allied countries would provide the opportunity for the UK to repatriate people.
Raab has said that he is working with allies and airlines to get up to a million Brits homeCredit: Getty Images – Getty The flight schedule board shows a few cancelled flights at Heathrow Airport in London on WednesdayCredit: AP:Associated Press
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