Brits abroad scramble to get home today as airlines cancel hundreds of flights

Brits abroad are in a race to get home as airlines cancel hundreds of flights.

With all non-essential travel now banned in the UK, passenger numbers on planes have plummetted.

As a result airlines are cutting their losses and cancelling flights, leaving Brits in a race against time to get home.

EasyJet will fly primarily repatriation services until January 10 before massively reducing the number of aircraft it charters.

Jet2 has suspended flights and holidays until February 11, as has TUI in England.

The package holiday company has initially stopped its services until January 31 in Wales and Scotland.

Thomas Cook and Virgin have both suspended holidays until next month.

RyanAir is also winding down its offering this month and will provide “few, if any” flights come February.

British Airways has also cancelled a number of flights in and out of the country.

One disgruntled Brit complained to the airline that his flight on January 14 had been scrapped “for no reason”.

“I have checked news around BA flights however no as ‘such banning news found’, then why we are cancelling the flight?” he said.

“Try to understand because of this cancellation (I’m) going through mental trauma.”

The airline responded: “We’re sorry your flight has been cancelled.

“Due to the current situation, many flights have been cancelled.

“If you’d like us to discuss your options, please DM us your booking reference so we can look at this for you.”

The Government has been under increased pressure to control commercial aircraft coming in and out of the country.

Since the lockdown came into force in England travelling abroad without a legally permitted reason, such as for work, has been banned.

Brits abroad who are planning to head back to the UK have been advised to contact their airline.

This morning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that passengers entering England and Scotland would have to produce a negative test before arrival.

The new rules will kick in “next Wednesday or Thursday”.

He said: “This is an extra check and we’re doing this now because there are these variants that we’re very keen to keep out of the country, like the South African variant, for example.

“There are the concerns about the South African one in particular about how effective the vaccine would be against it so we simply cannot take chances.

“So today because of that variant it has become much more urgent.”

He said that he is “pretty certain” that Wales and Northern Ireland will also introduce the requirement, adding: “I suspect it will be a UK-wide requirement from some point next week.”

He defended the Government against allegations it should have closed the border before, saying the UK as an island needs the movement of goods and people.

“Look what happened in the United States, for example, where they did last March entirely closed the border,” he added.

“It hasn’t helped them at all, not one iota.”

Travellers will have to self-isolate for ten days after arrival.