Up to 400,00 Britons currently on holiday in France are now faced with the decision whether to pay significantly more to return home early by travelling before 4am on Saturday; or keep existing flights after this time and be forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK.
The consequence of such a conundrum is a wildly fluctuating range of flight costs for today, August 14, meaning many of those that choose to return home will be left paying a hefty premium for the privilege or forced into taking complicated routes.
This morning, Telegraph Travel saw one-way direct flights from Toulouse to London as high as £855. By 11am, another option with EasyJet had appeared with a direct flight for a much more reasonable £142; however, at 11:49, Skyscanner, the flight comparison site, was not showing any direct flights available from Toulouse to London. There are several options with one stopover for less than £200.
The only direct flight left from Paris to the UK at the time of writing is a £460 with British Airways; likewise Nice to London has just one direct flight with seats available, each at a whopping £772. Routes with a stopover are significantly cheaper.
Amsterdam is another key destination that will have large numbers of UK travellers that are affected. Currently the cheapest direct flight home is £328 per person.
As it stands, August 14 has seen the biggest change in flight prices; later dates in the month are still very reasonable for peak summer, including flights on August 19 and August 20, which would be the last possible dates for many families to return in order for their children to complete quarantine before school starts. A spot check on these days sees a flight from Paris to the UK as cheap as £56.
The UK Government decided to strip France, along with Malta, the Netherlands, Monaco, Turks and Caicos and Aruba, from the “green list” late last night due to a rise in coronavirus infections.
Many are complaining of the short notice provided to travellers; though this time there is arguably much more of a chance for British holidaymakers of being able to return before the changes in quarantine rules come into place compared with when Spain was removed from the “green list” less than six hours before its confirmation.
After the quarantine announcement that was made concerning Spain on July 25, Skyscanner reported an instant change in search behaviour with destinations without restrictions immediately entering the top searches.
Gavin Harris, Commercial Director at Skyscanner, said: “Changing rules around travel have altered consumer confidence, and we are seeing a corresponding dip in traveller searches and booking habits to those destinations on the restricted list. But that’s not to say that the pent-up demand for travel has gone away, as we’ve seen travellers adapting their preferences and opting for other destinations such as Greece and booking last minute summer trips abroad.
"We’ve also seen an uptake in travellers interested in tickets with flexible booking policies which protect them from unexpected changes in the status of their origin or destination country. For anyone considering booking a flight, safety is of course paramount, and travellers should always check official government travel advice whilst keeping an eye out for airlines’ updates as the travel landscape evolves continuously.”
Have you seen high fares for flights or ferries back from France? Let us know in the comments below.