Chaos as 112k Brits scramble for flights out of Portugal ahead of amber switch

More than 112,000 Brits were scrambling to get flights home from Portugal last night before its travel status switches to amber at 4am on Tuesday.

Wizz Air, British Airways, and easyJet said they were providing more flights and bigger planes to help control the exodus.

More than 1,000 extra seats were added on routes from Faro to Gatwick, Luton, Bristol, and Manchester.

But airfares home close to the deadline have rocketed.

Holidaymakers are furious. Tamar Smith, 21, who flew back to Stansted after a girls’ holiday in Portugal, said: "I’m not keen on the way they change the status. I don’t think it is fair on businesses that rely on tourists."

And the decision to downgrade the country’s status – fuelled by fears over a new Nepal Covid variant – sparked a diplomatic row.

Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said UK ministers did not recognise that "we live in a different situation than we lived before vaccination".

But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Portugal’s infection rate had almost doubled since it went on the green list and he was worried about the Nepal mutation.

The MP added: "We simply don’t want to take the risk."

Jet2 has cancelled all international flights and holidays up to July 1 and easyJet is to "review" its service.

But that did not stop Brits flying out to Portugal yesterday.

David Roper, who jetted from Gatwick with wife Lydia, said: "How can they tell us it is safe to travel, then three weeks later remove Portugal from the green list?"

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