Sheffield mother 'furious' after daughter is banned from flying home despite negative Covid test

A mother has said she is “furious” after her daughter was barred from flying back to the UK despite having a negative coronavirus test.
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New rules requiring arrivals to take a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for up to 10 days after entering the UK came into effect at 4am on Monday.

Hannah Holland was trying to travel from Philadelphia, where she had been caring for her grandfather, to her home in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, but was barred from catching a flight from Chicago to Heathrow by American Airlines staff.

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The 23-year-old had already paid 75 US dollars (£55) for an antigen test, which is acceptable according to the UK Government’s website, but is now back in Philadelphia and uncertain when she will be able to return home.

American airlines planes at Heathrow (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)American airlines planes at Heathrow (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
American airlines planes at Heathrow (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

“I’m furious… even her luggage is missing,” said Ms Holland’s mother, Valerie Monti Holland, 54.

“The woman shoved a paper in her hands that listed testing centres in Chicago and a postcard about a partner in hotels who offered discounted accommodation.

“I don’t know where we’re going to get the test that they want back in time for her to ever fly out of here.”

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Ms Holland has been rebooked on to another flight by American Airlines but is unsure if she will be able to source a test to board it within the 72-hour time constraints.

She said the antigen test was rejected because it had 94% accuracy, and they needed specificity of 97%.

“We believe this was a misinterpretation by American Airlines and that the UK would have accepted it in Heathrow,” Ms Holland added.

An American Airlines spokesperson said: “New UK Government guidelines require all passengers travelling to the UK to produce proof of a negative coronavirus test.”

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They added: “Unfortunately, on this occasion Ms Holland’s test certificate did not meet all of the criteria as outlined by the UK Government mandate.

“The certificate did not specify the name of the test device as required, and therefore travel to the UK could not be permitted as per Government guidelines.

“Taking care of our customers during this difficult time is our priority. Our team have been actively trying to reach Ms Holland to assist prior to her rescheduled trip tomorrow.”