‘Some Americans are paying up to $20,000 for last-minute flights out of France’

'Some Americans are paying up to $20,000 for last-minute flights out of France'
Photo: AFP
There have been reports of chaotic scenes at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport as Americans scramble to get back to the USA ahead of the planned travel ban from Europe.

US president Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that all travel from Schengen zone countries – including France – would be banned from 11.59pm on Friday, in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The ban as announced has a lot of exemptions and loopholes, but the uncertainty over what happens next has caused panic among many Americans who were in France for holidays, work or visiting relatives.

READ ALSO What you need to know about Trump's Europe travel ban

With the announcement that the ban would come in to force on Friday night, many entered a desperate last-minute scramble to get home.

You can stay up to sate with the latest on the situation in France here.

From what we know at the moment it appears that the ban does not cover US citizens or their close family (which includes parents, children and spouses but not partners).

There are also no restrictions on flights from the UK and Ireland and airline or boat crew are exempt.

However with vast numbers of people cancelling their trips, many fear that airlines will soon begin to scrap flights rather than fly virtually empty planes.

The US Department of Homeland Security says it will give more detail over the next two days, so it's possible that some of the loopholes mentioned above could be tightened up.

And all the uncertainty has caused a great deal of concern, with many people scrambling to get back before the ban comes in to force.

Below are the experiences of New York Times journalist Mike McIntire, who was in Paris when he heard the news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were similar scenes at airports around Europe, including London Heathrow and Schipol.

“We were about an hour into our flight from Salt Lake City when we got news of the travel ban to the United States, so we are trying to get back home now,” an American who gave her name as Michelle told AFP as she waited at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

“Hopefully we can get a flight out tomorrow, I don't know. We are just trying to get in before we can't.”

Jennifer, who hails from Idaho, said she was in the air when the announcement came, “so we really have no information… We are told that we need to be back by Friday, and that's all I know.”

French travel agents estimate that about 100,000 people who have booked trips to the United States via agencies in France will be affected by the anti-virus measure.

“It is the worst news for airlines, and it is the worst situation for us,” Rene-Marc Chikli, president of a French tour operators' federation, told AFP.

Have you been affected by the travel ban? Share your experiences at [email protected]

 


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