BRITS could be stranded abroad as airlines have been warned they could be asked to stop passengers from flying if they do not have their quarantine hotel booked.
Ministers are understood to be considering adding a section to the passenger locator forms – which must be filled out before departure – asking if they have booked into a quarantine hotel.
Brits may be left unable to fly if they don’t have their quarantine hotel booked before travelling.Credit: EPA
It is currently unclear if airline carriers will be expected to stop passengers travelling if they answer no, which would effectively leave them stranded.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce today that the Government has struck its first deals with hotel chains to accomodate quarantining passengers.
Passengers from 33 “red list” countries will be expected to quarantine at a hotel from next Monday in order to curb the spread of Covid variants from South Africa and Brazil.
The booking system for travellers will also be reportedly revealed this week by ministers.
An aviation source told The Daily Mail: “‘We’re completely in the dark. We don’t know yet whether the Government will want us to deny boarding.”
Currenlty, airlines are legally required to check if the passenger locator forms have been completed as well as if that a passenger has a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel.
It comes as hotels have reportedly rebelled against the Government’s demand for an “open-ended” quarantine into the summer.
Ministers want to reserve 28,000 rooms at 10 airports from next Monday for an initial 45-day period until March 31, but with hotels extending on a rolling basis after that.
A source told The Daily Telegraph: “The Government wants an open-ended approach, but the hotels are not prepared to do that unless they compensate them for the income they would get from bookings for July and August.”
Travellers arriving the UK will soon get tested a few days after they arrive.
The new testing regime is expected to be announced shortly “to cover all arrivals while they isolate” would add another level of protection, the Department of Health said.
The move is to help keep track of any new cases brought into the country and to detect new varients.
Ministers have been accused of being too slow to bring in this policy.
It was announced in the Commons on January 27 but does not come into force until Monday.
A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: “Now that the Government has set a date, ministers need to work with industry to establish how this policy will actually be implemented at the border.
“Our offer to support remains, but time is ticking and this very complex initiative requires airports, airlines and the Government to work closely together for it to be workable.”
Lucy Moreton, a professional officer at the Immigration Services Union, which represents border staff, said border guards how not been told anything about how the new policy will work.
She added: “We’ve heard absolutely nothing yet. You can’t rule out that the airlines would be asked to enforce it, but it would require a change to legislation and that isn’t easy.
“From a Border Force perspective it would be magnificent if the airlines were responsible for that because it would reduce the checks we’re having to do at the border.”