DEVASTATED British Airways passengers were banned from boarding their flight home from Las Vegas despite having negative tests booked and paid for via the airline’s own website.
Several travellers were forced to shell out more than £150 for new pre-departure tests and ran up hundreds more in hotel and car hire costs after they were denied boarding because their tests had been self-administered.
Many had bought the antigen tests via the British Airways website but on arrival at McCarran airport this weekend they were greeted with a huge, handwritten sign saying: ‘At home or online testing is NOT accepted for travel’.
Those who had negative results using self-administered tests rather than ones taken at a testing centre were told they were not eligible and refused boarding.
Photographer and writer Toula Mavridou-Messer was among those who racked up hundreds of pounds of extra expenses after she was stopped from flying home. She tweeted: “Stopped from flying home by @British_Airways from Vegas despite our tests bought via the BA site being negative.
“Have to pay $200 each to do the same test at a lab. BA cannot provide us with any official guidance that states that as necessary.”
Current UK government rules say as long as the test provider meets the standards, any form of test is acceptable, including those where you do the test yourself and upload a photograph of your result to the testing company.
But ground staff at the airport refused anyone with a self-administered test boarding and forced them to pay for new tests.
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Toula said: “They didn’t EVER look at or ask to look at our test results.
"They only asked whether we had actually gone to a lab to test and at the point of us answering no, we were told that we would not be flying that evening.
“I asked for a recommendation. The BA staff member gave me a business card with details of a company that come to the hotel and charge $200 per test.
"If these tests are legally required, there should be an approved-discounted list put on the BA website, like there is in the UK.”
Despite British Airways confirming the self-administered tests are acceptable the sign was still in place at Las Vegas airport last night.
British Airways have apologised to customers for the confusion and say they are following the Government's requirements and accept customers with valid testing documentation for travel.
A spokesperson said: "Like all airlines, we ask customers to check the gov.uk website for information on testing."
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