A woman travelling from Gatwick to Toulouse to return to her French home was denied boarding on an EasyJet flight despite having carried out a pre-departure antigen test as is allowed under France’s new rules.
As a result she had to book another flight, find accommodation and take an express PCR which cost around £120. She estimates the delay cost her nearly £500 in total.
No changes have been made to the type of test accepted and antigen tests are permitted. (However there have been clarifications regarding the acceptability of self-administered tests taken at home, which are permitted if the results are checked and certified by a lab).
On Saturday, December 4, French travel restrictions changed, requiring all passengers, whether vaccinated or not, over 12 coming from non-EU countries to show a negative result from a Covid test.
Fully vaccinated people must take this test in the 48 hours before their journey begins, while unvaccinated people must take it in the 24 hours before.
The French consulate in London states on its website that this test can be a PCR or antigen test as does the UK government, EasyJet and other travel companies. Despite this, airline staff would not let Carolyn Bailey board.
‘A lot more passengers had the same problem’
“A lot more passengers had the same problem; but complaints and pleading were to no avail,” said Ms Bailey, whose flight was scheduled for Sunday morning.
“This experience cost me nearly £500 apart from the wasted time. I am rather upset at the way I was treated, along with lots of the others affected.”
Ms Bailey had received an email from EasyJet the night before saying that she must take a ‘Covid-19 test’ without specifying which type.
Luckily, she had already taken a test, after having travelled 20 miles to the nearest available centre. The test provider sent her a ‘fit-to-fly’ certificate with a QR code for verification.
“Arriving at the EasyJet bag drop, I was refused because the French government had apparently changed the rules that morning requiring a PCR test,” Ms Bailey told The Connexion.
“I spoke to a supervisor who told me that the rules had changed that day. I rang the customer services and was told I had to sort it out with the ground staff.
“Another supervisor arrived but he was adamant that we needed a PCR test to board, even though we showed him the French government website and the EasyJet one which stated that an antigen test was sufficient.
“Flights are not so frequent, so the next flight offered by EasyJet from Gatwick was Thursday, December 9.
“I needed to return before them and was directed to a desk [which may be able to arrange this]. It took ages but eventually a Monday evening flight from Stansted was found.
‘This experience cost me nearly £500’
“Then I had to take a PCR test; I was told that at the airport I could book a taxi to a drive-through testing centre and get the result in three hours, which I did at an exorbitant rate.
“I then had to find accommodation for the night and travel to Stansted.
“At Stansted, my documents were only checked just before boarding, so I was on tenterhooks as to whether they would be accepted. I live two hours from the [Toulouse] airport so I finally arrived home at 00:30 on Tuesday.”
The Connexion has contacted EasyJet for an explanation and to ask whether Ms Bailey will be offered compensation for not being able to travel.
A spokesman said that he would look into the situation.