Newlywed couple stranded in South Africa “quoted £2k to change flights back to the UK”

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A NEWLYWED couple who are currently stranded in South Africa have claimed they were quoted £2,000 to change their flights so they can get back to the UK to isolate.

Cat Holligan from Edinburgh said British Airways “offered” to change her and her husband Grant’s flight back to the UK for £2,046.

The stranded newlyweds flew to Cape Town on Friday for their honeymoon and only found out the country was on the Red List when they landed.

Cape Town International Airport
Cape Town International Airport.

The doctor was in tears at the airport after realising she would have to fly back home as soon as possible so she could isolate and return back to work on time.

The couple had already spent £7,000 on the 19 day honeymoon and claim they have to now also pay £3,700 to isolate in a UK quarantine hotel for 10 days.

Cat originally managed to change her flights for £400 but BA later changed the time of a connecting flight, leaving the couple stuck in South Africa.

She tweeted about £2,000 flight change quote on Friday, writing: “Trying to change our flights with @British_Airways to get home in time to quarantine during annual leave so we can return to work as planned.

The married couple
The couple on their wedding day.

“I work for the NHS and my husband is in the emergency services – just been quoted £2,046 to change the date, followed by £4K to quarantine.”

Social media users were shocked to hear about British Airways’ supposed quote. 

Heather Peebles said: “Absolutely barbaric from @British_Airways.

“Capitalising from a pandemic. 

“Sheer greed.”

Carolyn Scott-Bruce wrote: “Ooft @British_Airways already cancelled the only flight home that would have gotten them back before the 4am Sunday cut off for hotel quarantine – and they did it while their British Airways flight to South Africa was still in the air. 

“Surely these prices cannot be justified?

“Profiting from pandemic.”

Gemma Bruce wrote: “WTF @britishairways are a disgrace.”

Speaking today, Cat said: “Our travel agent managed to change our flights for £400 instead of £2,000, however British Airways have now changed our Johannesburg flight so the Durban flight doesn’t arrive in time for us to make our connection.”

Speaking today, a spokesperson for British Airways said: “We continue to do everything we can to support all customers whose travel plans were affected as a result of the UK Government’s temporary ban on flights from South Africa. 

“We have been in direct contact with this customer and changed their booking free of charge so they can return to the UK earlier than planned.”

The couple chose to honeymoon in Cape Town so they could also visit Grant’s family who are from the city and were unable to attend their wedding in July due to Covid.

Cat Holligan
Cat Holligan.

Cat and Grant were devastated after turning on their phones when they landed to see text messages from loved ones informing them about the country’s new travel status.

Cat claims that they were not told about the change in travel restrictions before, during and after the flight.

She immediately went to the international sales desk at Cape Town International Airport to be told all flights back to the UK are cancelled until further notice.

Thousands of Britons have had their travel plans scuppered since the decision to put South Africa on the Red List last week.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, the only two flight operators that fly directly from the UK to Johannesburg and Cape Town, were forced to cancel all flights landing in the UK before 4am on Sunday.