Monday, April 06, 2020

UK organises rescue flights to Goa, but steep fare shocks Britons

Panaji: The UK government has organised three special flights to rescue its citizens stranded in Goa with the first scheduled for April 8, the British high commission announced on Sunday. Along with these flights, four others have been arranged by the British government from Delhi and Mumbai.

While the flights did bring to an end the uncertainty about their return home, British citizens were unhappy with the steep fares. Many Britons had expected the fares to be capped at £500, but found themselves paying close to £700 for a seat.

The steep fares did prompt some British nationals to consider staying on in India to wait till the lockdown is lifted. “My friend paid just under £2,000 for him, his wife and son and he said there was no option to pay later. I thought the government said the flights would be £250-500 and you would have the option the pay in 6 months. Anyway I’m not going as I don’t have the money. I will try and reschedule my Air India flight once they reopen,” Annie Stuart, who is stuck at Palolem, said.

“Just had to pay £2,050 for flights from Goa for my wife, three-year-old daughter and myself. No option to pay when we get back, no £500 cap. Can’t afford the flights, but had space on a credit card for now. Lots of other people I know won’t be able to do that. Not the level of help was hoping for,” Birmingham resident Jit Coulter-Patel said.

There were close to 1,500 British citizens stranded in Goa when the state was put under lockdown and all international flights cancelled. However, several of them managed to fly out on repatriation flights organised by European Union nations such as Germany, France, Italy and Poland.
06/04/20 Newton Sequeira/Times of India
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