Carriers accused of giving wrong Covid testing information

Some airlines were accused of misinforming passengers about Covid testing requirements, which could result in them being refused flights.
Which? Consumer group After mystery shopping British Airways and easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, Tui, to determine the accuracy of the information they were providing passengers regarding testing requirements, Which?

What? posing as passengers Three times I called the airline customer service line and asked the same four questions regarding testing requirements for flights to Portugal.

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Passengers were required to undergo a test at the time of research regardless of their vaccination status or previous infections. For entry to Portugal, only PCR tests and not lateral flow tests were accepted. Children under two years old were exempt.

According to Which?, seven of the fifteen calls were made to mystery shoppers and they received incorrect or contradictory details.

Two agents from BA and two from Tui provided information that could have resulted in passengers being turned away. Only one agent from Jet2 was able to correctly answer all questions.

Undercover researchers were told by two Tui representatives and one BA representative that travellers who have been vaccinated did not need to undergo a test before they flew. One of the Tui agents added that children younger than 12 years old are exempt. Another BA rep stated that children below four years old were exempted from testing.

Customers who called for advice were not informed and would have been denied entry. This would have left them with no money to cover the full cost of their holiday or flight.

A BA representative also informed a mystery shopper that they don't need any documentation for holiday, provided they upload their test data to BA in advance.

Although the advice might have been enough to allow the passenger to board the flight without incident, it is unlikely that they were allowed to enter their destination country.

Only two airline representatives were able to answer all questions correctly.

A Jet2 agent quickly answered all questions and directed the caller to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), which provides the most complete information possible for passengers.

The correct information was also provided by One Tui, although it took them nearly 20 minutes. The mystery shopper reported that the agent spent more time selling Tuis testing partners than answering their questions.

Unaware of lateral flows

Six agents were Which? Two BA representatives, two easyJet representatives, and one Ryanair representative spoke about lateral flow testing. Despite these tests being a frequent travel requirement, and the same type of test that is available at the NHS for home rapid coronavirus testing, they were not familiar with them.

Seventeen of the fifteen calls ended in the caller being directed somewhere else, though the airline representatives did not always give clear answers.

Ryanair representatives told researchers to check with the government, visit Ryanair's website, or call the Embassy if they could not speak with them.

Each easyJet agent Which? Every easyJet agent Which? recommended that we contact airports for information. They incorrectly claimed that it was the ground staff that checked passengers Covid documents, but not the airport staff.

Another easyJet agent provided a number to Which?s caller that they claimed was a Covid-19 advisory line. However, it turned out that that was HM Revenue & Customs Covid-19 helpline that is available for both businesses and the self-employed.

The rules for passenger return to the UK are set by the UK and the devolved governments. Foreign governments determine rules for UK passengers arriving.

But Which? However, Which?

All airlines that were contacted stated that passengers are responsible for meeting the requirements of boarding and that they may be refused entry to their flight without any recourse to a refund.

Although the rules for overseas travel can be confusing and may vary from country to country, Which? The rules for overseas travel are complicated and vary from country to country. Which?

Which? Rory Boland, travel editor, said that airlines have the responsibility of deciding whether passengers can board their flights. It is essential that staff are well-versed in these rules. If they don't follow the correct advice, passengers may be responsible for paying the full cost of their holiday or flight.

You can trust the FCDOs website to provide the most current information about entry requirements and traffic light changes before you travel.

Carriers respond

Ryanair spokesperson said that this is more fake news from Which? Ryanair's website contains all Covid-19 travel requirements. These are sent to passengers via email 24 hours before travel. Our call center agents are not expected to know all the Covid travel restrictions that apply in 40 countries.

A spokesperson for Tui said that the research shows how complex it is to keep up with changing entry and testing requirements. Our goal is to offer the best possible service for our customers. Agents are regularly trained and kept up-to-date with new information.

Additional training is provided to assist fight-only questions. To further help customers, we have detailed and current information on the Covid hub.

BA stated: Although we don't believe that the issues raised by Which?s calls are representative of the many thousands of people we deal with, we remind our colleagues to continue referring customers to Gov.UK in order to avoid any unintentional confusion.

A spokesperson for easyJet stated that they constantly review the information that we provide our agents and continue to provide extensive training to them to ensure they are giving accurate and consistent advice. However, we remind customers that it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that they comply with entry requirements. We will continue to advise them to verify the requirements of the local government before departing.

Jet2 spokeswoman said that they are handling an unprecedented amount of inquiries and dealing with constantly changing travel advice from the UK government. This often happens with little to no notice.

We provide constant messaging to our teams, along with regular training, but we will address your feedback.

Continue reading: Covid testing cost travelers 1.1 billion this summer

Data will drive government decisions on PCR tests

Ex-transport secretary urges for an end to double-jabbed traveller testing

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