British Airways has been criticized for leaving South Africa to the Omicron super-variant, which furious families claim was their omission.

Britons vented at the airline for allegedly ignoring their calls and emails and ‘reselling flights for £12,000’.

They spoke of their sadness at being trapped in Covid-stricken countries and how they are afraid that Christmas will be missed.

In a massive blow to Winter Holidaymakers, the UK government brought back the red-list and put South Africa on it.

All direct flights were cancelled and all passengers returning from the trip must now be kept in quarantine hotels for at least ten days.

Owen Hancock, 35, and Emily Mennie, 30, from Tooting, London, were 'frustrated' when flights were banned and Heathrow's quarantine hotel was fully booked

Owen Hancock (35), and Emily Mennie (30), from Tooting in London were both ‘frustrated” when they were told that flights had been banned, Heathrow’s quarantine was full, and Heathrow closed its doors to new passengers.

Trevor Harrison is pictured left with Gill Harrison at Delaire Graff restaurant in Stellenbosch

Trevor Harrison and Gill Harrison are pictured at Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch.

Long queues outside a Cape Town PCR testing centre are pictured earlier on Friday morning

On Friday morning, long lines were seen outside Cape Town’s PCR testing center.

Robert Kuhner (pictured) from Maidenhead said he was in South Africa as the legal executor of a will that had been delayed for over a year and was now stuck

Robert Kuhner, Maidenhead (pictured), said that he was currently in South Africa to act as legal executor for a will which had been delayed over a year.

Trevor Harrison said guests had left the President Hotel Cape Town (pictured on Friday afternoon)

Trevor Harrison said guests had left the President Hotel Cape Town (pictured on Friday afternoon)

Couple is stuck in South Africa after Heathrow quarantine hotel was ‘FULLY BILLED’

After being forced to postpone their South African return, a couple has attacked Britain’s Covid travel program as a “shambles”.

Owen Hancock (35), and Emily Mennie (30), from Tooting in London were both ‘frustrated” when they were told that flights had been banned, but Heathrow’s quarantine was full.

The newlyweds, who both work in digital marketing, said they will have to use a credit card to pay off the mammoth £4,000 bill for ten days in isolation.

Owen Hancock, 35, and Emily Mennie, 30, from Tooting, London said they will have to use a credit card to pay off the mammoth £4,000 bill for ten days in isolation

Owen Hancock, 35, and Emily Mennie, 30, from Tooting, London said they will have to use a credit card to pay off the mammoth £4,000 bill for ten days in isolation

Mrs Mennie was born in South Africa and Mr Hancock visited them for the first-ever time since Covid nearly two years ago.

The couple left November 18, and planned to return to Heathrow on Saturday, but the hotel had no rooms available.

The automated message they received was: “Unfortunately, due to customer demands there is not availability for the selected date.”

You could also add: “Please make changes to your travel dates, or start your search later.”

They said they were also on hold with British Airways for over three hours – which cost £100 – trying to make arrangements along with countless other passengers.

They were angry at policymakers who didn’t give them enough time to return home after putting South Africa on Omicron’s red list.

Because they had no other choice but to reschedule and pay quarantine, the claimants claimed that the government must fund the flights.

Mrs Mennie told MyLondon: ‘To add insult to a giant financial injury, now we can’t even book the hotel quarantine, because there are no rooms available.

“We get hit with an enormous cost and can’t go home because the government hasn’t gotten its act together. It’s chaos.” 

Bram Davies, a businessman flew with his daughter of 18 years to visit her grandparents on October 27, as one is currently ill.

After not being able to see his family during the pandemic, he left behind his three children and wife back in the UK.

He claimed he believed the trip would be safe, but was stunned when his wife phoned him at 1AM to inform him that South Africa had been added to the UK red list.

However, he became angry when BA texted him two hours later to inform him that the airline had cancelled his last Saturday flight.

MailOnline spoke to Mr Davies. He said that after panicking, he called BA at 4am to report that South Africa had been placed on the redlist.

“They stated that they would contact you within 24/48hrs with an update. However, there was no support offered or reassurance.

He stated that he had not received any contact from the airline regarding alternative aircraft, even though multiple travel agents claimed flights are back on.

According to Mr Davies, he said that he has been put on hold for several hours every time he calls them.

He explained that BA may have tried to move heaven and earth in order to make at least one email address available for all those stuck here, but he was wrong.

He said, “We feel completely abandoned by BA und the UK Goverment.” We followed the instructions and travelled as advised to avoid being quarantined.

“But because the government moved the goal posts too quickly, we are now stuck here. We will be responsible for paying quarantine if we ever get our money back.

The South African born businessman, who lives in London, said he is terrified he and his daughter will be stuck outside the UK for Christmas.

He said, “I have been split from my husband and children in the UK as well as my daughter and her mother and brothers until I’m not sure.”

“My daughter has anxiety and we have been unable for her to adjust to this separation. I do not believe she can handle being held for more than 10 days, as well as the high cost.

“I am sad for my child because of the psychological cost and the damage that this will cause her over the long-term.

“Even now she’s been telling me, I’m not going to leave home or travel because of all that’s happened. It’s a saddening thing because nobody ever considers the mental effects of these actions.

Janice Burwood also criticised BA for the experience she had of being in South Africa with David Jackson.

She said the airline wanted £12,000 for flights on Saturday after her original ones were cancelled on Wednesday. BA refuted the claim.

She said: ‘Eventually we had to book cheaper seats but no refund for the business class seats we have paid for. BA also want £146 to select our seats.’

Her explanation was that we had to also pay for a second PCR. Our hotel hosts, both Swiss and German guests, are shocked at how we are treated in their country.

Passengers wait to board Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 846, one of the few international flights leaving Cape Town earlier this week

Ethiopian Airlines ET846 flight ET826, one of only a few international flights from Cape Town, is waiting for passengers.

All those arriving in Britain directly from red list countries have to quarantine in hotels at Heathrow and can only fly into that airport and Birmingham. Pictured: Cape Town this week

Red list country nationals arriving directly in Britain must be quarantined in Heathrow hotels. They can then only fly to Birmingham or London. This week: Cape Town

The pilots union demands that the government provide a Winter Resilience Fund

Balpa pilots’ union demanded that the Government create a Winter Resilience Fond to assist cash-strapped aviation companies as well as other businesses in the future.

Before the pandemic airlines had been losing money in the winter, and relied on summer profits.

The summer saw a limited recovery, due in part to testing and quarantine.

Travel companies used the furlough program extensively, and it ended September 30.

Martin Chalk is Balpa General Secretary. He stated: “Support for aviation ended at the end summer. Yet, the principle that supports loss-making sectors while Government restrictions preclude business as usual applies now more than ever.

Airline companies are very aware of holiday and new year traffic.

“With the economy being so severely affected by lack of confidence and restraints, winter support measures are needed to weather Omicron uncertainty.

“This will allow us to be competitive with other countries by summer 2022 when the UK will need to expand its ambitions across the globe.

Balpa calls for mandatory PCR screenings to ensure that all travellers arrive fully-vaccinated. This should be done by the Government and not private companies.

This also required that data be used to back up restrictions.

Chalk stated that pilots are by nature safety-conscious and have a desire to preserve public health.

“But the Government’s measures and restrictions must be proportionate and based on risk. They should not unfairly penalise travelers, or families that reunited for Christmas and the New Year.

“It is crucial that the Government rebuilds public trust and supports aviation through removing barriers like costly private testing that discourage people from traveling.

Scientists have discovered that the Omicron Covid mutation has been found. Although little information about this variant is available, it raises concerns that the virus could escape vaccines.

UK introduced mandatory face masks to shops and public transportation. People are now required to undergo a PCR test, self-isolate when they arrive from overseas.

Red list country nationals arriving directly in Britain must be quarantined in Heathrow hotels. They can then only fly to Birmingham or London.

The only way for arrivals to reach the room is by transport as provided in their quarantine packet.

Passenger locator forms must be submitted to Border Force upon entry to the UK. 

The officers then take them to the airport along with passengers who are in similar situations. They all must wear masks.

They must stay at the quarantine hospital for ten consecutive days in the same room they were assigned. Staff will provide their food throughout.

Quarantine personnel can stay in 4,600 rooms at 16 hotels. These include Novotel London Heathrow, Renaissance London Heathrow, Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel,  near Heathrow, St Giles Heathrow and Holiday Inn, on the M4.

Mr Davies and Ms Burwood’s haunting experience of being stuck away from home was reflected by dozens of other passengers last night.

Jennie Bianco stated that she had been stuck in South Africa for six years with her husband, and her son aged six. She flew out to South Africa for a marketing photo shoot.

After being told that there was no room in the UK’s quarantine hotel for them, she called the chaos of travel a “total nightmare”.

“We had flight tickets to leave today, but we didn’t have any family room in our quarantine hotel.

‘We now have flights booked on 6th – which we had to pay £250 to amend and £560 on accommodation until then.

‘We will also be faced with the £4,000 bill for the hotel, which again isn’t confirmed until 24 hours before you fly so we don’t know if this is going to be extended again.’

Mrs Bianco is a type 1 diabetic and said she has enough insulin to keep her alive until December 6, with her husband.

She said that she worried about her son’s mental well-being, as they adopted him 3 years ago.

Ruth Horton from the UK, is another Briton who has been stuck in Cape Town. She said that she had also struggled to secure a place at a UK quarantine hotel.

According to her, the first quarantine hotel is currently available on 13 December. However, we cannot book this hotel unless we have a flight. We can’t even get to BA for changes.

“We should leave this Sunday. We had our PCR tests this morning. If we return on the 15th, then will we be in quarantine until Christmas.

“It is a catastrophe and nobody from the UK government seems concerned or able to help.

Robert Kuhner, Maidenhead, said that he was there as the legal executor for a will which had been delayed over a decade.

He stated that he was foolish enough to believe in the UK government. It seems that I am in no man’s country.

He continued: “The UK government ran into an extreme travel measure set on November 26, just a few days prior to my return from Maidenhead.”

“I called my insurer on 26th. The insurance company responded on the 1st of December.

“They claim that insurance does not cover travel disruptions caused by government-imposed pandemic restrictions.”

He added: “I flew out with Lufthansa. Return on Swissair. Swissair had sent me an e-mail and refused to let me board.

‘Swissair claimed that their government would not permit me to transit through Switzerland. They also said to call Expedia. Expedia stated call Swissair.

“So, I tried Lufthansa. I purchased the ticket through them. Expedia said that it was Expedia. Expedia was the first to call me. Swissair is my second choice.

Expedia USA was contacted. The person who checked it said that we could change the date to any other date I choose.

“But when are the Swiss or German governments going to allow SA transit? No one knows.

“So, I booked the return flight on Lufthansa December 22nd. Perhaps I’m able to transit. I might have to keep going down that road.

Their frustration comes as South Africa (pictured, Cape Town this week) is being hit by a fourth wave of Covid driven by the Omicron variant, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday

The frustration is compounded by South Africa’s fourth wave of Covid (pictured, Cape Town, this week) being driven by Omicron variant, Joe Phaahla from Health Minister Joe Phaahla stated on Friday

Was LOCKDOWN behind TUI Airways jet’s 1,200ft horror plunge?

According to a report, the pilots of Tui Airways’ plane that was approaching Aberdeen Airport took a rapid fall when it approached. 

Six crew and sixty-seven passengers were among the 67 onboard when the aircraft was involved in a “serious accident” while approaching Aberdeen Airport, September 11.

The pilot instructed the aircraft to climb up to 3,300ft, but it plummeted quickly back to 1,780. A report suggests that this may be due to pilots not flying while locked down.

A graph showing how the Tui plane rose up to 3,000 ft before rapidly plummeting downwards and eventually rising again

An illustration of how the Tui plane rose above 3,000 feet, before falling rapidly downwards and rising again.

Trevor Harrison agreed, saying: “This all has gotten completely outof hand.

“We have been severely penalized for our holiday in a country that had no Covid warnings in place, and is currently experiencing much less Covid incidence than the UK.

The frustration of the Omicron-based Covid is causing South Africa to be hit with a fourth wave, Joe Phaahla, South Africa’s Health Minister said Friday.

Omicron is a potentially deadly infection that has raised concerns about a rise in infectious diseases.

The result was that governments all over the world imposed travel bans as well as other preventive measures.

Phaahla said that he hopes the variant can be controlled without too many deaths during a press conference.

He advised South Africans that they get all their vaccines, and added that it was possible to manage the fourth round without tighter restrictions at Christmas.

“We can still manage it in such a way that government doesn’t need to use serious restrictions over these next few days, if all we do is our basic safety duties and if more people who are eligible… go to their closest vaccination site.

Michelle Groome, a top scientist at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), stated that the country is facing an “unprecedented increase” in infection rates.

According to her, the cases are also shifting from younger people into older ones.

She stated that it was crucial for surge preparation to include paediatric staff and beds because of the increased number of admissions in children younger than four years old.

Omicron was listed last week as a “variant of concern” by WHO. Scientists are still collecting data to determine how deadly and contagious it is.

A BA spokesman said: 'As a result of the UK Government placing South Africa on to the red list, we continue to closely monitor the situation and adjust our schedule accordingly' (file photo)

BA spokesmen stated that South Africa has been placed on the UK red list by the UK Government. They continue to monitor the situation closely and will adjust their schedule as necessary. File photo

BA spokesmen said, “As a consequence of the UK Government putting South Africa on the redlist, we continue monitoring the situation and adjust the schedule accordingly.”

“We want to assure customers that we do everything possible to help them. As of December 1, we still operate one flight per hour back to the UK, from Johannesburg or Cape Town.

The airline says that despite these busy flights, there are still limited seats on the next few days. Any customers who have reached South Africa mid-way along their journey and wish to make their return in South Africa early will be able to move their plane free of cost. Customers returning to the UK must enter the hotel quarantine at their arrival.

Customers who want to alter their flights may contact us via a priority phone line at +2710 344 0130. While we are experiencing high volumes of calls, customers can still contact us on a priority local phone line to speak with our dedicated team at +27 10 344 0130.

“Any customer that wishes to purchase a coupon for future use under our ‘Book with Confidence” policy may do so online at Any booking made through a travel agent or agency should be contacted directly.