EasyJet passengers hit by quarantine blow after Gibraltar flight delay

Some easyJet passengers from Gibraltar became liable for two weeks of self-isolation after the airline put them up in Spanish hotels because of an overnight delay.

The Monday evening flight from the tiny British overseas territory to Gatwick was unable to land due to poor weather.

Under European air passengers’ rights rules, easyJet is required to provide accommodation for stranded travellers.

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The budget airline’s ground staff booked all the available hotel rooms in Gibraltar, but there was insufficient availability for the number of passengers. Some rooms were reserved across the border in Spain.

Other passengers arranged their own accommodation in the Iberian outcrop.

One traveller, Alan Orme, tweeted: “Ridiculous today. Flight from Gibraltar has been moved to tomorrow due to low visibility on a perfectly clear rock. My option is to move from low-Covid Gib to high-Covid Spain.

“I cannot afford to self isolate. @easyJet will you pay my loss of earnings?”

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “As a result of low-visibility weather conditions in Gibraltar, easyJet had to delay flight EZY8906 to Gatwick overnight. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority and we would never operate a flight unless it is safe to do so.

“We tried to provide as many hotel rooms in Gibraltar as possible however, due to a shortage of rooms it was not possible to provide these for all customers so we offered accommodation in Spain for those who wanted it.

“Some customers found accommodation themselves in Gibraltar and easyJet will reimburse the cost to them.

“Whilst the delay was outside of our control, we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused as a result of the weather.

Passengers who took up the Spanish option became liable to UK quarantine when they returned home on Tuesday. They were obliged to go straight home and remain there in isolation until Wednesday 9 September.

Some of the holidaymakers are likely to have been required to self-isolate anyway because they had been staying in Spain before travelling to Gibraltar for their flight home.

The airport is popular among British travellers to Spain’s Costa de la Luz to the west and the southern Costa del Sol to the east. Its runway, built largely on land reclaimed from the sea, is particularly susceptible to fog or strong crosswinds. Delays and diversions are commonplace.

The territory guarding the Strait between the Mediterranean and Atlantic is currently regarded by the UK government as low risk for coronavirus, even though its infection rate is around six times higher than Britain.

Gibraltar may be placed on the “no-go” list in the next quarantine reappraisal, which may happen as early as Thursday.

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