Holidaymakers fly abroad again out of Stansted Airport

Two people wearing masks outside London Stansted

David (L) and Sonya (R) were travelling to Portugal to see their family for the first time in 18 months. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Passengers at Stansted Airport said they were excited and anxious to visit family or seek out sun abroad as the Government lifted Covid-19 international leisure travel restrictions today (Monday, May 17). 

Daisy and Haiya were among hundreds of passengers set to fly on one of three flights from Stansted to Faro, Portugal this morning.

Two women sit on the floor in front of a glass window at Stansted Airport

Daisy (L) and Haiya (R), from London, said they were excited to fly to Faro, Portugal now Covid-19 restrictions on international travel had lifted. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Daisy said: "We're very excited to be flying again.

"They don't make travelling very easy at the moment, though."

Phoebe and Graham were also meant to travel to Faro, but had to rebook after using a free NHS test, which are not valid for flights.

Two people in masks at Stansted Airport

Graham (L) and Phoebe (R) had to rebook after they used a free NHS test for Covid-19, which are not valid for travel. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant


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Graham said: "I guarantee we won't be the only ones because it's not clear that you have to pay for a private test on the government website.

"They should make that clearer."

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David and Sonya, who live in Norwich, were flying to Lisbon to see their family for the first time in 18 months.

Two people wearing masks outside London Stansted

David (L) and Sonya (R) were travelling to Portugal to see their family for the first time in 18 months. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Sonya said: "You have no idea how excited I am to see them again.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how healthy they are, because they are 80 and 74 respectively, to eat lovely food and give them a big hug."

When asked whether they had concerns about flying, David said: "We are being cautious. Perhaps anxious is the word."

Today's travellers included Panayiotis Loizides and Panayiotis Papettas, two competitors in the European Karate Championships in Porec, Croatia.

Two boys wearing hoodies bearing the Olympic rings

Panayiotis Papettas (L) and Panayiotis Loizides (R) en route to the European Karate Championships in Croatia. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

The Cypriot pair train in the UK and said travelling abroad was a lot of effort.

Papettas said: "It's exhausting and we need to focus on fighting, but we're excited. We're hoping for a podium position.

"We're in elite sports, so we're well looked after."

A sign reads "Testing Centre" with an arrow straight on

Stansted Airport now houses a private Covid-19 test centre for international flyers - Credit: Archant

Steve Griffiths, Stansted’s Managing Director, said today's easing was a milestone in the Covid-19 recovery process.

He said: “As we start the road to recovery, we will continue to work closely with all our partners across the airport to ensure passengers have the best possible experience as they fly off on well-earned holidays or finally get to see family and friends."

Holidays abroad were previously outlawed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, with rulebreakers facing a £5,000 fine.

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