I recognise that many British tourists abroad are finding it difficult to return to the UK because of the unprecedented international travel and domestic restrictions that are being introduced around the world – often with very little or no notice.
In Parliament, I asked the Foreign Secretary what actions the Government is taking to help those stuck in India and Pakistan get the medication they need and return home. I was informed that the Government is working around the clock to support British travellers, in order to allow them to come back to the UK.
What should you do if you or someone you know is stuck abroad?
- In the first instance, you should look at the travel advice that the Foreign Office provides online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus . This is the best and most comprehensive source of information. It is also updated in real time.
- Yo should check if there are commercial routes available by visiting the airline websites, Foreign Office Travel Advice pages for the country you are in, and local British Embassy social media.
- The Government has reached an agreement with airlines such as Virgin, Easyjet, Jet2 and Tital Airways, which will see them provide more commercial options and make it easier for people to switch tickets between providers in order to get home.
- If there are no commercial options, you should visit the Travel Advice pages and sign up to alerts for your location and follow Embassy social media and email updates. Where commercial options are not available, the Government will provide £75 million to support special charter flights.
- These flights will be operated by the airlines which have reached an agreement with the Government. They will be prioritised according to the number of stranded British travellers and their vulnerability, including an assessment of the local health provision.
- When special returns flights become available, these will be advertised by the Embassy and British nationals on Travel Advice Pages and Embassy social media. Those who have registered for updates will be contacted via email. British nationals will be asked to register their interest through the FCO’s booking agents, called CTM
- If you are in need of urgent assistance, you should contact the British embassy or high commission in the country where you are located, you will be connected to one of the British Government’s global contact centres.
- The capacity of the Foreign Office’s call centre has been tripled to help more British people who are looking for guidance and support abroad.
- As you can appreciate, this is a fast-moving situation and the Government’s advice is regularly updated. I would strongly encourage you to check gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest information, as well as the Foreign Office’s travel advice page detailed above.
To book flights and register their details, British nationals should visit the India Travel Advice page and use the city-specific webpages:
- Goa – UK: 14, 16, 18 April (18 April is a Goa-Mumbai-UK flight)
- Amritsar – UK: 13, 17, 19 April
- Ahmedabad – UK: 13, 15 April
- Hyderabad (via Ahmedabad) – UK: 17 April
- Chennai (via Bengaluru) – UK: 20 April
- Kolkata (via Delhi) – UK: 19 April
- Thiruvananthapuram (via Kochi) – UK: 15 April
Movement within India is currently very restricted. The British High Commission will contact those who have confirmed seats on the flight with further details regarding transport.
Those who are eligible to fly will be sent information on getting to airports and flight itineraries directly when their seat is confirmed.
Details regarding luggage allowance, flight costs and carriers will be available on the booking portal.
The British High Commission continues to provide consular support to any British nationals who remain in India. Consular helpline numbers: New Delhi: +91 (11) 2419 2100; Chennai: +91 (44) 42192151; Mumbai/Goa: +91 (22) 6650 2222.
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