Travel chaos as Britons scramble to escape before lockdown

Thousands of people have turned up at Heathrow in a last-ditch attempt to escape on holiday before national lockdown rules come into effect later this week.

The airport is witnessing long queues of would-be holidaymakers seeking to book flights out of the country before four weeks of new restrictions, which include a blanket ban on travel, kick in on Thursday.

Meanwhile, travel agents are reporting a surge in bookings from customers looking to take advantage of a loophole in the rules, which state that travellers who are already abroad will not be required to return home before lockdown begins.

Colum McLornan, MD of single travel specialist Friendship Travel, told The Telegraph: “The phones at Friendship Travel are ringing off the hook this morning with single travellers desperate to fly to the sun before Thursday.

“Unlike before, airlines don’t seem to be rushing to repatriate travellers, so if you start a holiday before Thursday then it looks as if you can complete it as planned.”

Many travel companies and airlines have already announced that they will continue operations until Wednesday evening, but are now looking to cancel bookings from then on.

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