Posted on Aug 21, 2020
Much to the delight of the airline industry, from 4am on Saturday Britons returning home from Croatia will be obliged to quarantine for 14 days. This has led to a scramble for seats, and an inflation in prices as airlines profiteer on the backs of the misfortune of their clients.
British Airways, once a proud national carrier which set the highest of standards, has now been described as being "more like Ryanair". It was indeed compared to Ryanair in a recent Which? report stating "Passengers rate Ryanair worst airline, with British Airways not far behind".
Now owned by international holding group IAG, the airline has reportedly raised its prices from £42 to £275 for the last flights out of Zagreb before the UK quarantine requirements are imposed.
A flight on Lufthansa's flight LH6009, departing from Zagreb at 15.05, however, if booked at 10.34 on the morning of departure, would have cost an eye-watering €1844.47 (£1655.64).
Similar Lufthansa flights booked for the following Friday were on offer for £299.37 (€333.53).
Many consider it questionable that airlines that benefited from state bail-outs (officially known as "recapitalisation") during the COVID-19 pandemic - Lufthansa received some €6 billion - should be permitted to profiteer so outrageously from the misfortunes of the same taxpayers whose money kept them afloat.
Families holidaying in Croatia would have had little choice but to pay the inflated prices as the quarantine requirement would have meant their children would have been unable to return to school in September.
The two airlines mentioned above are not the only ones to profit in such a way: similar behaviour by air, sea, and rail carriers was also reported by travellers after Belgium and France were added to the list of countries from which travellers must quarantine.
The UK government's handling of the situation has also attracted much criticism.
What we are trying to do in our constant dialogue with the British Government on this particular measure of quarantine is to somehow see whether it would be possible, something that other countries do, to have a more nuanced approach.
Croatia is divided into 20 counties, only two of which have shown a significant spike in new infections. Germany, for example, has introduced restrictions only for those two counties.
Image: Von TJDarmstadt - D-AIXI LH A359 Dortmund.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...
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