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Tickets disappeared ‘very, very fast’: Making it home on the final Eurostar train

Written by on 15/08/2020

Thousands of British tourists in France have arrived back in the UK on the last Eurostar just hours before new quarantine restrictions were imposed.

A Eurostar spokesman said 12,000 people tried to book tickets after the new rules were announced, compared with just hundreds normally.

The quarantine restrictions are now in place
Image: The quarantine restrictions are now in place

Mariia Ivanelo, 22, had to cut short her holiday to Paris within hours of arriving in the city.

“I left the UK on Thursday at 2pm, got to France around 5pm and then I had to change my tickets around 9pm and returned today,” she said.

She added that she spent most of her savings to make it home on the final Eurostar train.

“It wasn’t that expensive because we did plan it like a long time ago – it was around £150 for both tickets,” she said.

“But because I couldn’t change the tickets back, I had to spend £260 alone to get back home. So, it’s been a very stressful time because I don’t have that amount of money to spend.”

More from Covid-19

Many people struggled to rearrange their tickets
Image: Many people struggled to rearrange their Eurostar tickets

The announcement triggered a last-minute scramble for some holidaymakers who were keen to avoid the 14-day quarantine.

But many say they experienced difficulties getting online to amend their tickets.

Ms Ivanelo said: “It was very stressful seeing how everything was going on the website and seeing just the all the tickets just disappearing very, very fast.”

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One woman said she left her two children and husband in France in a bid to make the final Eurostar train before the quarantine rules changed.

“I could only find one ticket for me and my baby to get back. I had to do this because of my job. My husband and two daughters will come back on Monday,” she said.

“This quarantine makes no sense because when my husband gets back, he will have to self-isolate in the same house. This is all just utter madness.”

People have scrambled back to the UK as the restrictions were introduced
Image: People have scrambled back to the UK as the restrictions were introduced

She added she is worried that her daughters will still be in isolation when most schools return on 2 September.

“This has completely ruined our summer. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I am so upset about this,” she said.

The move will come as a huge blow to the French tourism industry, which relies heavily on visitors from the UK.

Alex Bootle took a plane and then a train back to the UK
Image: Alex Bootle took a plane and then a train back to the UK

Alex Bootle, 21, who was visiting his father in Nice, reluctantly made the decision to travel back because he is due to start university next month.

“I got to Nice late last night [Thursday], had dinner, then my sister called me and said ‘France is under quarantine’. I then got a plane to Paris, and a train from Paris to London,” he said.

“I couldn’t do two weeks inside. I have got things to do before starting uni. I’m not doing two weeks inside, no thank you.”

On Thursday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said an estimated 160,000 holidaymakers in France would have to self-isolate for 14 days if they returned to the UK after 4am today.

France, the second most popular holiday destination for British tourists after Spain, has seen an increase in coronavirus infections.

Malta, the Netherlands, Monaco and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Turks and Caicos have also been added to the quarantine list.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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