Brit businesswoman describes ‘utter chaos’ of 4-hour queues to leave Portugal

A business owner has criticised the “utter chaos” at a Portuguese airport that left her waiting for four hours to board a plane.

Gemma Raif said there were four-hour queues at Faro Airport in Portugal as British holidaymakers tried to get home early.

The owner of the Hair and Beauty Bar in Guildford and her partner paid £350 each for Covid tests but still feared they’d be stranded abroad, Surrey Live reported.

She said the Government’s decision put enormous pressure on airport and hotel staff in Portugal, and “totally ruined” the trip, which was booked to see relatives.

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Big queues stretched through Faro airport

The 41-year-old said: “When we got to the airport (in Portugal), the queues were unreal. The queues for easyJet flights were going around the whole airport.

“There were families with children and the queue was about four hours long, but they said don’t come to the airport any earlier than two hours before your flight.

“It was ridiculous. There was sheer panic on people’s faces as they thought they were going to miss their flight and then have to re-book and quarantine at home.”

Gemma said she first found out about the Government’s decision on Thursday (June 3) just before her flight took off.

She returned home on Sunday (June 6), landing at Gatwick.

The Godalming resident feared the crowds and lack of availability of Covid-19 tests in Portugal would prevent her from coming home before the country was placed on the amber list.



Brit businesswoman describes 'utter chaos' of 4-hour queues to leave Portugal
Gemma was concerned she wouldn’t make it home in time

She described the Covid-19 testing system, both in the UK and in Portugal, as a “nightmare”.

“I booked some tests online before we left the UK and they were supposed to come in two days, but they did not arrive,” she said.

“So, I had to spend £140 each for a test for me and my boyfriend. Then, we had other tests to do in Portugal before we came back, but everywhere was completely overrun.

“I had these online tests booked, so I managed to get them done before we came back, but I was worried that there would be delays again, so I enquired at the hotel.

“The queues to speak to the receptionist were ridiculous. I have never seen anything like it. The receptionist said there was no availability for tests for at least a week.”

Gemma said “stress levels were really high for everyone” and the receptionist even offered to enquire about tests in Lisbon, which is approximately a three-hour drive away.

She thinks many people will have been forced to extend their trip, and she fears some passengers were “left behind” at Faro Airport due to the “chaos” and overcrowding.

She said: “It’s such a shame for Portugal. They were following the rules and many business owners had spent money getting ready to welcome tourists and customers back.



Brit businesswoman describes 'utter chaos' of 4-hour queues to leave Portugal
The Surrey women says free tests should be handed out before flights

“The Government caused complete and utter chaos.”

Gemma thinks free tests should be handed out to passengers at airports before their flights, with enough time to wait for the result, to ensure people can travel.

She said it was “a huge worry” that she might not be able to get tested before flying home. She said Portugal was “not prepared” for the Government U-turn.

She added: “The Government did not think this through. Our holiday was totally ruined – we spent the whole time worrying about getting tested and getting back in time.”


Comments: 10

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    Located about 2 kilometres from the fishing village of Nazaré you stay in a beautiful shady pine forest at Camping Orbitur Valado. This simple campsite on the west coast of Portugal offers you peace and relaxation and thanks to the basic facilities, it is a great place to stay if you do not like too much fuss.

    Enjoy nature in peace and quiet and look for the excitement if you feel like it!

    Excellent basic facilities Camping Orbitur Valado is a quiet campsite where you can enjoy a well-deserved holiday in the middle of a pine forest. There is a swimming pool which is great for a refreshing swim and where you can finally start that exciting book on a sun bed. For the little ones there is a playground and the older children can play table tennis. You can get a snack and a drink at the snack bar and it is possible to pick up meals that you can eat together on your own terrace.

    Out on the Portuguese west coast The super cosy fishing village of Nazaré is 2 km from the campsite. In addition to having great waves for surfing, you eat the freshest fish that you can imagine. From the boat to your plate! On the boulevard they like to lure you in, but what is much better is to dive into such a narrow alley and choose a small restaurant. Finger-licking good at! Beautiful Lisbon is an hour and a half's drive away, but definitely worth the visit. The atmosphere in this city is very pleasant and the locals very friendly. Famous places are the castle of Sao Forge and the Torre de Belém, but also taste the sweet and savoury pastries. The Portuguese love it! A little closer to the campsite you can walk into the historic centre of Peniche. Visit the fort from the 16th / 17th century or one of the beautiful churches.

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    Outside the high season there is a small bar and a mini-market at the reception instead of the supermarket and the bar and restaurant. The swimming pool for adults and children is open from about mid-June to mid-October and during this period there is also a fun entertainment program.
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    Equally significant day at the shore. This requires the southwest of Portugal perfect destination. And Orbitur Milfontes Nature lovers can enjoy their stay here. The wind rustles through the pine trees and the sea is nearby.

    Sun poolside there is a swimming pool at Camping Orbitur Milfontes. Surrounded by a large terrace with sunbeds and sunbathing. The little ones play in the pool. The older kids can dive into the deep end. You can go get a drink at the pool bar.

    Outdoor Every evening you can eat out, under the trees. And top camping life! In the supermarket, choose some fresh vegetables, meat and bread. The bar above the supermarket snacks are available. Do not feel like cooking? Then there is the restaurant with delicious meat and fish dishes.

    Nature camping Through the dunes you can walk from the campsite to the beach. Ten minutes later you are in the bay. The white sand between your toes. And views of the mighty waves. This part of Portugal is still undiscovered.

    Magical sunset The rocks on the Alentejo coast plunge straight into the sea. You can not miss the Cabo Sardão. At its best during sunset. The island of Ilha do Pessegueiro is just off the coast. The Village Porto Covo has many fish restaurants .. Here you can taste the authentic cuisine of Alentejo. In Milfontes, where you can enjoy the river flows.
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    Camping Orbitur Costa da Caparica is located on the west coast of Portugal, within walking distance of the sea and only 20 km from the wonderful city of Lisbon. This way you can combine a beach holiday with a city trip. Awesome!

    Camping Orbitur Costa da Caparica You will not find a swimming pool at this campsite, because after a walk of just a few hundred meters you will be bathing in the Atlantic Ocean. Jump over the waves or take your ball and play water volleyball in the sea. Apply your sunscreen and enjoy the sunny rays on your skin! The sports enthusiasts among us are probably found on the tennis court or the multi-sports field. Or do you prefer to play a table tennis tournament?! For some small groceries, you can go to the mini market and at the restaurant, you can both sit down or pick up a meal and enjoy on your own terrace. Whatever you choose ... tasty food!

    The Portuguese west coast The campsite has the same name as the popular resort of Costa da Caparica. The beautiful sandy beach is a favourite with the Portuguese themselves and you will find nice restaurants and plenty of places to go out. The vast wide beach is divided into several beaches by dams. Which part do you like best? Praia da Morena is set against the dunes and there are a few good bars. Praia da Cabana do Pescador has hip beach bars where you regularly hear live music and you can get a massage. If that's not a holiday (!!), alternate a lazy day with a visit to Lisbon, because it’s practically around the corner. This colourful city is set against a hill so that means cute steep streets abound. Take tram 28 and be transported to the Graça and Mouraria districts and don't forget to enjoy the view from the castle of Sao Jorge. Perhaps you see Sintra in the distance, a town that seems to have jumped out of a fairy tale book. Special palaces, ancient forts and beautiful gardens. It is not for nothing it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List!

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