Michael O'Leary gets confused over Portugal travel rules
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Holidays this year are again impacted by the Covid pandemic. With travel restrictions all over the world and ever-evolving rules, holidaymakers are trying to navigate travel rules during a global pandemic.
Holidaymakers in Portugal who do not present a negative Covid test or a recovery certificate face fines of up to 800 euros (£670).
Reports indicate nearly 1,700 passengers were fined at Portuguese airports in December.
Holidaymakers are not the only ones facing big fines for failing to comply with travel requirements.
Airlines face a fine of between 20 and 40,000 euros for each passenger they transport without a negative Covid test.
In Portugal, it is possible to get a test at the airport, but only Portuguese citizens and residents can do so.
The Portuguese Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI) said eight foreigners were refused entry into the country for failing to present a test on arrival.
On Twitter, user Becky in Portugal wrote on January 1: “At airport, trying not to listen to bloke shouting because he wasn’t allowed to fly.
“He doesn’t have his vaccination certificates. Claims he didn’t know they were required, hope someone tells him about the passenger locator cards as otherwise he won’t be flying next week either!”
And she continued: “Five travellers have just been rejected on our flight, and we’re only at check-in!”
Testing at Portuguese airport is popular, so much so ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal to Lusa is asking travellers to get tested elsewhere.
A spokesperson said: “Despite the reinforcement of resources and the increase in capacity for this weekend, demand remains high. Therefore, we ask that passengers undergo the test before coming to the airport and that this is not considered as a first option.”
They also said an appointment had to be made prior to arriving at the airport and that priority would be given to passengers travelling the same day.
Covid testing at airports is carried out by Synlab, who said they would “test all passengers, with and without appointment, who are waiting at Lisbon airport, so that no one is prevented from travelling”.
However, the policy is causing long queues at the airport, with Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport’s lines shown on Portuguese TV on January 1.
The long queues were attributed to the airport testing centre being the only open facility in Lisbon that day.
Synlab said: “This is, as you know, the only place open today (January 1) for Covid testing in Lisbon and despite the service being open exclusively to passengers, there is also an increased need for testing for passengers on numerous return flights after the Christmas and New Year holidays.”
Nick K from Lisbon said: “Today, January 2 at 8am, the line for testing was over three hours wait.
“People were complaining of being in line since 5 am.
“People were packed on top of each other while waiting like a pre-pandemic metro in New York City at rush hour.
“No social distancing was observed and many missed their flights.”
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