Holiday from hell: Doncaster friends forced to pay £2,300 to fly home from Malta over coronavirus

A group of Doncaster friends have spoken of their holiday hell in Malta after they were forced to pay £2,300 to get home – or risk being quarantined on the island for 14 days

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 12:11 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 8:27 pm

The group of eight from Thorne and Hatfield flew out for a four day break last Friday – but within minutes of arriving on the island, they were told that they would have to stay for 14 days because of the country’s strict coronavirus quarantine rules.

Mum of five Rebecca Redmile, who was one of the group of pals, described the trip as ‘an absolute nightmare.’

She said: “We were told if we checked into our hotel, we would have to stay in there in a 14 day lockdown.

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The group were forced to sleep in a branch of Costa Coffee.

“Lots of people in our group have serious medical conditions. It was meant to be a nice little break but it turned into absolute hell.”

Rebecca says after flying out to Malta with Ryanair, they arrived at their hotel to find the island’s government had imposed strict conditions to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

“They told us we would have to stay in our rooms and we wouldn’t be able to go out for food or drink or even a smoke.”

“They said we’d have to stay extra at our own cost and we'd be fined if we left our rooms.”

“We have a lady with a brain tumour , one with COPD and I am recovering from a blood clot on the lung and we all only brought medication for three days.”

She said one member of the group became hysterical and collapsed and the friends decided to head back to the airport to come back to the UK – but were faced with more problems.

She said: “When we got back, we were told that there were no more flights that day that they could get us onto and we’d have to come back on the Saturday.

“We had nowhere to stay and only the clothes we were standing up in, so we didn’t know what to do.”

She said they were refused permission to sleep at Valetta Airport and were also turned away from a branch of KFC where they had asked to sleep.

Eventually, the group bedded down in a branch of Costa Coffee for the night – after spending hundreds of Euros each on beach towels to use as bed sheets as well as food and drink.

They eventually had to fork out £2,300 for flights to Leeds and Exeter to get home – with two of the group having to pay for a hotel in Devon as well as train fares back to Doncaster from the West Country.

The group, who had been planning the trip since last November, say they were not made aware of the quarantine rules by anyone before or after their arrival on the island.

Rebecca said the group were now looking for refunds from the holiday company for their ordeal.