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British Airways warns holidaymakers it is illegal to travel – even from 17 May

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Landing zone: British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Faro in the summer of 2020 (Simon Calder)
Landing zone: British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Faro in the summer of 2020 (Simon Calder)

Six days before the government’s 19-week ban on international travel is lifted, British Airways is warning passengers booked on flights from 17 May that it will still be illegal to go on holiday.

The airline has sent out a message to passengers booked on Heathrow-Faro flights next Monday saying: “You can only travel internationally from England for legally permitted reasons.

“This does not include holidays.”

Passengers are also told they must complete a Declaration to Travel form, even though these will be abolished after Sunday.

BA’s message continues: “You may be required to show the form at the port of departure.

“It is an offence to enter a port of departure or embarkation point without a properly completed form if you are travelling internationally. Some job-related exemptions apply.

“You may be issued with a fixed penalty notice and directed to return home if you do not have a valid reason for travel.”

The UK government has confirmed it will lift the prohibition on international leisure travel in time for the resumption of holidays abroad on 17 May.

Faro, serving Portugal’s Algarve coast, is one of very few British Airways destinations on the “green list” of countries from which no quarantine is required by returning travellers.

A BA spokesperson said: “​At British Airways we are looking forward to welcoming our customers back on board. We are in the process of adjusting our emails to customers, to reflect the change in the government’s travel advice to certain destinations. “

Ministers have warned against travel to “amber” and “red list” countries. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “You should not be travelling to these places right now.”

But this is purely advice and has no legal force.

The devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have yet to set out their new rules on international travel.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is expected to say later today that the ban on leisure journeys abroad will be lifted from 24 May, a week after England.

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