Delays in quarantined hotel reservation system leave travelers stranded abroad
British travelers from countries banned from the “red list” say they were forced to miss return flights home after delays with the government’s quarantine hotel reservation system left them without essential papers.
The automated system should immediately provide guests with an invoice for the mandatory £ 1,750 hotel bill, but some people say they had to wait to receive that confirmation.
A passenger told the PA news agency that the delays caused him to miss two return flights from Ethiopia.
Another said she was refused entry on a plane without the invoice number.
Without an invoice number, travelers cannot complete their “passenger locator forms”, which prove they have booked and paid for accommodation.
Those experiencing the delays have either seen their upfront payment for the hotel drop or have gone for a government deferred repayment plan, which likely results in those in financial difficulty being the hardest hit.
British and Irish nationals and British residents returning to England from a country deemed at high risk for Covid-19 must now self-isolate in hotels.
The rule applies to people returning to Scotland from any destination. No international flights are operated to Wales or Northern Ireland.
Passengers who have not organized a quarantine package before arriving in England from ‘red list’ countries face a penalty of up to £ 4,000, in addition to the quarantine fee.
The government’s hotel quarantine system is automated and managed by the travel company Corporate Travel Management (CTM).
A spokesperson for CTM said: “Reservations must be approved by the government before the invoice is issued and therefore there may be a short delay while approval is obtained and an invoice is issued. generated. “
Customers also reported difficulty getting their hands on CTM to resolve issues and obtain an invoice number, with one person claiming they were on hold for the company for almost two hours.