Heathrow and Gatwick: New stricter travel rules in force from today see families hit with £800 bill


New travel restrictions that have come into effect to stop the spread of the new Covid variant Omicron from entering the UK could add up to a whopping £800 to the cost of family holidays.

As of 4am this morning (Tuesday, December 7) everyone aged 12 and above wishing to travel to the UK will need to show a negative pre-departure (lateral flow or PCR) test before boarding a plane.

This must be taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure, and applies to vaccinated passengers and people aged 12 and above.

READ MORE: New travel rules force passengers to take Covid test before flying to UK

The Government added that the “temporary measures” were being introduced as the “geographical spread of Omicron has increased considerably”.



Passengers at Gatwick airport

Airlines will be required to check for pre-departure tests alongside a completed passenger locator form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.

Families are set to bear the brunt of costs once again for tests. The new requirements will add at least £400 to the cost for a family of four to travel to and from the UK, with lateral flow tests for pre-departure screening costing an average of £20 and Day Two PCR tests £80.

But the Government website listing day two PCR test providers showed numerous suppliers charging £180 or more per person, which could leave families facing an £800 bill.



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The travel industry has also hit out at the measures accusing ministers of putting jobs at risk and jeopardizing recovery in the sector by imposing new Covid testing rules.

Speaking to i, Paul Charles, a travel industry consultant, said: “We are looking at a loss of confidence and cancellations at a critical time of the year for the travel industry. Yet again we are seeing layer upon layer of complexity which is only going to put off consumers.”

There are also growing concerns over a shortage of quarantine hotel accommodation for families looking to return to Britain from red list countries in time for Christmas.

The Department of Health and Social Care acknowledged “pressure” on the system but insisted tonight it is “rapidly expanding” capacity.

The new measures will be reviewed on December 20.

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Author: Shirley