Inside the first UK flight to Portugal as travel ban ends

Travel restrictions across the UK have eased today, allowing Brits to legally vacation abroad for the first time in months.

The top travel destination on the list today is Portugal. Thousands of Brits are expected to travel to the country this week.

The first flight from the UK to Faro left Manchester at 6.15am on Monday morning. One in 17 jets brought vacationers from the UK to the city, where temperatures are currently reaching 27 ° C.

Passengers visiting the country are not required to quarantine themselves upon their return, but must complete a passenger search form prior to travel, provide a valid notification of a negative test, and perform a sequencing test on the second day after arrival.

The Paul Byrne from the mirror This morning travelers were queuing to board the flight. This is his story …

Following Portugal’s announcement on Friday, I immediately paid £ 99 for a PCR Covid test and had to wait for the negative result for 24 hours, which gave me permission to travel. When I return, I’ll do another test that adds a whopping £ 200 to travel expenses.

But with an estimated 5,000 Brits traveling in the country every day this week, it seems like a price people are willing to pay.

Ryanair flight FR4088 was the first aircraft to leave the tarmac for Portugal’s south coast at 6:15 a.m. today. One in 17 jets brought vacationers to Faro from across the UK.

First in the 3am check-in queue were Louis Myers, 23, and Elle McLaughlin, 23, along with their 18-month-old son, Kruz.

The Manchester couple had booked a week-long vacation in Vilamoura.

“We can’t wait to get away. We think we deserve it after such a terrible year for everyone,” said full-time mom Elle.

“This is Kruz’s first time on a plane. We’re so excited.”

Construction worker Louis added, “We booked it as soon as possible last week and we’re glad we did because prices went up.”

Also in line were the newlyweds Camilla and Calum McNally from Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

The couple tied the knot on Saturday and after an earlier honeymoon to Greece had to be canceled due to Covid restrictions, they booked their flights to Portugal as soon as the British government gave the go-ahead.

Officer Calum, 23, said, “We really wanted to have a honeymoon.

Inside the first UK flight to Portugal as travel ban ends 1

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Newly wed passengers Calum and Camilla McNally

“We’re pretty excited. We want to relax and have good poolside food. I have a feeling that a lot of people want that and we feel very lucky that we can do it today. “

Camilla, 22, said, “It was quite stressful leaving it until the last minute, but it’s worth it. We haven’t been away that long now. “

Within Manchester Airport, masks were mandatory for both travelers and staff.

And announcements reminded passengers to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

There was no real need, however, as the airport, which typically handles around 30 million passengers a year, had little of the pre-Covid hustle and bustle with few shops open and bars tightly closed.

The first flight from Manchester was at 6am to the Portuguese island of Maderia.

Elizabeth and David Jolliffe from Hamilton near Glasgow booked their tickets last week after their first choice for Dubai was removed from the “green” list.

Elizabeth, 59, said: “Since nothing was available in Glasgow, we came here. It’s worth it, we really want to leave. “

57-year-old Finance Director David added, “The past year has not been normal and it has not been possible to get some sun.

“We can’t be locked forever.”

More than 2.8 million Brits visited Portugal in the year before the pandemic and are desperate to welcome them back.

Covid is still a threat and masks are worn both indoors and outdoors.

And the country has imposed a scary-sounding “disaster state” that allows emergency lockdowns to fight the virus.

But it hasn’t stopped the British from booking flights for a much-needed break.

The Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, said “everything is open”.

Daily mirror reporter Paul Byrne

She said, “Of course, there are some restrictions. So you have to wear a mask and keep social distance.

“Masks have to be used all day except when you are on the beach, of course.

“So if you go to a restaurant near the beach you should wear a mask, but you don’t have to wear a mask when you are near the sea.”

She added, “At the end of the day, the experience will be great.”

I really hope so.

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