'Wear masks or you may end up at the police station': Warning as Brits head to Portugal

17 May 2021, 11:56 | Updated: 18 May 2021, 06:58

By Emma Soteriou

Holidaymakers were given a stern warning by a Ryanair pilot today as they jetted off to the "green light" destination of Portugal when restrictions on foreign travel were eased.

On a nearly full Ryanair flight leaving from Birmingham airport, passengers were warned to wear their masks or they may end up spending the start of their holiday in a police station.

LBC was on board the flight as the pilot told passengers: "This isn’t a kindergarten, this is a two hour flight. If you can’t wear your masks you will be starting your holiday in Portugal in a police station."

Other holidaymakers shared their excitement as they made their way to 'green light' destinations.

Holidaymakers boarding their easyJet flight to Portugal from Gatwick Airport.
Holidaymakers boarding their easyJet flight to Portugal from Gatwick Airport. Picture: PA

The easing of lockdown measures in the UK means people in England and Wales are, once again, allowed to travel overseas to some countries.

The newly introduced traffic light system allows individuals to travel to 12 destinations including Portugal, Australia, Iceland and Singapore.

One lady told LBC she was "ecstatic" to finally be able to get away.

Royal Mail postman, Gary Underdown, 33, said he was "shocked" at how quickly he and his family got through airport security on the morning of their flight.

Travelling with partner Georgina Raven, who also works for Royal Mail, and their young son, he said: "We can't wait to get there, we've been waiting a long time."

When asked what they plan to do in Faro, he said: "Not a lot. We're key workers, we work for Royal Mail, we've been working a lot and very hard for the last year so we just want a break.

"I was shocked, we got here really early expecting the six-hour queues, and we walked straight to the front, straight through and sat there for three-and-a-half hours waiting."

Travellers will not have to isolate upon their return to the UK and will only need to take one Covid test upon their arrival.

Holidays to Portugal resumed from today
Holidays to Portugal resumed from today. Picture: Getty

The chief executives of easyJet and Gatwick Airport have urged the Prime Minister to add more popular European holiday destinations to the green list as soon as possible.

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate has said it is a "big relief" to be welcoming holidaymakers back for the first time in months, and that he expects the numbers of travellers to increase in coming weeks.

Mr O'Leary expects to see around 20,000 people a day before the end of May.

That said, compared to pre-pandemic times, this will still be less than 15% of the traffic.

This comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio on Sunday that people should not travel to places on the amber or red lists "unless it's absolutely necessary, and certainly not for holiday purposes".