A pregnant mother has had her flights canceled so many times due to Covid travel restrictions that she will now have to give birth in Madeira, more than 1,500 miles from home.
Laura Coppard, 38, and her one-year-old daughter Lily flew to the Portuguese island on December 16, 2020 so Lily could see her father who lives there.
The pregnant mother had a booked return flight to Gatwick Airport with easyJet on February 5, but this was canceled.
The airline said this was due to a flight ban between the UK and Portugal from January 15, including Madeira.
On February 9, it was announced that UK residents returning from “ red list ” countries should be quarantined in an assigned hotel room for 10 days, and Madeira was included.
The £ 1,750 hotel fee for the quarantine on her return to the UK was initially a concern for Laura, but this has yet to materialize. Instead, Laura had several canceled flights and had to spend money to stay in cheap hostels in Madeira.
The full-time mum from East Sussex said: “It has been very stressful. I had to move between different accommodations [due to letting limitations]. And I have a one year old child. She missed a few of her injections which she was supposed to have in the UK.
“I am absolutely huge. I have a stroller and everywhere there are hills. I cannot stay with my partner’s mother because they are overcrowded.
“I’m just about to hold my head up high with the accommodation and the food.”
25 hours of waiting at the airport
easyJet said customers have been notified of flight changes and have the option to switch to another flight for free.
Although Laura said she was not made aware of the latest cancellation, she was offered a flight from Lisbon, but said it would have involved two flights and a 25-hour wait at the airport in between.
“When you have a one year old, you don’t really want to sit at the airport for 25 hours,” she added.
A statement from easyJet said the team had not been made aware of his situation.
‘I am petrified’
The mother said, “I have nothing for the baby. Nothing. Everything is at home. You don’t know who to go to for help, who to ask.”
Her partner has a support worker in Madeira, who said they could only do this after the baby was born and resided in Portugal.
“But you need all of this before the baby is born,” Laura said.
Speaking of giving birth outside the home, the mother said, “I am petrified.”
Laura is due to have a Caesarean and will not be able to see her baby girl for four to five days.
“And then of course after you have a cesarean you can’t travel for a few weeks or months afterwards,” she said, “I’m going to have to register the baby and the baby’s passport.
“Honestly, I don’t know when I’m going to come home. It’s just a nightmare.”
Risk of stealing
Madeira was taken off the red list on Friday March 19, meaning arrivals in the UK will no longer have to be quarantined in a hotel. But when Laura spoke with a midwife in Madeira on Tuesday March 16, she was told it was not safe for her to return home now that she is 34 weeks pregnant.
“There are no flights until May,” she said, “but it’s not good for me now anyway.”
Thinking about her pregnancy in the next few weeks, Laura said, “I think I just take each day as it comes. I can’t really do much now. I’m sure there are other people out there. in my place. They seem to forget those who are stuck. “
What did easyJet say?
An easyJet statement said: ‘Following the implementation by the UK government of a flight ban on international travel followed by a ban on flights between the UK and Portugal, including Madeira from from January 15th, we were unable to operate and therefore implemented a continuous cancellation program.
“We have informed all affected customers and offered them their options. Due to the flight cancellations, Ms. Coppard was offered the option of transferring free of charge to an alternative flight that she opted for twice and she has by the suite opted for a refund for his flight to the UK.
“Unfortunately, at no time did she inform us of her situation or the reason for her trip to the UK.
“Once we were made aware and given her situation, we explored options of flights with other airlines, but unfortunately we could not find alternative flights for her, however, we have been in contact with her and if she is able to make alternative arrangements. to travel to the UK in the next few days, we offered to reimburse her as a sign of goodwill.
“We also suggested that Miss Coppard contact the British Embassy in Portugal who may be able to assist her further, which she did.”
easyJet also said a passenger can travel until the end of their 35th week (32nd week for multiple pregnancies) and that no medical documentation is required.
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