Some tourists from the United Kingdom are reportedly spending hundreds of pounds on tickets in an effort to leave Israel, calling the current situation as “horrific.”
Following Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes, a number of commercial airlines have temporarily halted their operations.
Several nations, including France and Germany, have booked their own flights in order to evacuate their citizens.
The government of the United Kingdom announced on Thursday afternoon that it will also organize flights to get British nationals out of Israel.
The first flight is scheduled to take off later today from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv; vulnerable British nationals will be given priority for seating on these planes.
Despite being coordinated by the Foreign Office, these services are provided for commercial gain. There will be a charge of £300 for each traveler.
Prior to this, the United Kingdom had stated that it would not organise evacuation flights because there were still commercial routes available. Instead, the United Kingdom was exclusively flying out the families of British diplomats who were working in Israel.
There has been a significant increase in the difficulty of acquiring travel bookings ever since the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an onslaught against Israel on Saturday. Many foreign airlines have canceled their flights to and from Tel Aviv.
After receiving assurance from their airline that it was okay for them to fly, Lisa Tsang and her cousin Deborah traveled to Tel Aviv on Saturday to take part in an organized tour of the city.
They had a reservation at a hotel that was close to the British Embassy, but as soon as they got off the airport, they heard sirens, and they were forced to take cover at the hotel as soon as they got there.
Mike, Lisa’s husband, attempted to make arrangements for their departure from the United Kingdom. In the end, he spent approximately $5,000 on flights, with approximately $1,500 of that amount going toward the flights that Lisa and Deborah ultimately took.
Lisa referred to the flying situation as “horrendous” and added that airlines received the clients’ money but failed to inform them that their flights had been canceled.
“It will be two to three weeks for a refund,” according to her. “I am astounded by this. It is a blessing for me that Mike is able to continue arranging an infinite number of tickets.
“The price of some of these tickets might reach thousands of pounds. How can something like this be justified?
After flying from Israel to Egypt and then taking a separate flight to Manchester, Lisa and Deborah were finally able to make it back to Gateshead early Thursday morning. Their journey began in Israel and continued on to Manchester.
“I’m just dazed,” stated Lisa after the incident. “It was a dangerous situation.”
Ben Hardcastle, age 31, and his buddy Shannon Burke embarked on a vacation to Tel Aviv on Saturday after boarding a flight at Luton.
When the two travelers arrived at their destination, they learned that Israel was at war.
He stated that he believed that might result in them being evacuated along with other British nationals. He indicated that he thought that was a possibility.
The very first night they were there, they heard sirens and were forced to take refuge in the hotel’s stairway.
“It was quite traumatising be down there,” according to him.
“Each time the alarm went off, we were required to remain in that room for a full ten minutes.” It’s just one of those circumstances that you swear to yourself you’ll never find yourself in.
After failing to make contact with the British embassy in Tel Aviv and being informed by a consulate in London that Tel Aviv was “a safe place to be,” the two individuals made the decision to travel to the airport in an effort to return to their native country.
Ben was able to acquire a trip to Istanbul, which he described as a “nerve-wracking experience,” after booking four flights, none of which took off, and seeing airfares balloon to 1,500 GBP per person.
Since then, they have been successful in making it to Antalya, and they are planning to return to Luton on Monday.
“I am aware that money is of no consequence in this circumstance; however, we have lost thousands of dollars due to cancelled flights. We should count ourselves fortunate that we have the resources to do so.
Ben, who lives close to Coventry and Birmingham, mentioned that he had also seen the news that there had been a massive fire in the car lot of Luton airport, and he was unsure as to whether or not his vehicle had been damaged in the blaze.
“You cannot make it up,” he stated further. “[But] it makes no difference at all. Just thinking about the folks who are stuck there [in Tel Aviv] makes my heart hurt.
“That is really unbelievable. It’s beyond my comprehension.
Disarray in flight
At the moment, Israeli carrier El Al is the only airline that operates direct flights to the United Kingdom.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Air France, Lufthansa, and Emirates are among the airlines that have suspended commercial flights to and from Tel Aviv owing to security concerns.
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland are among the nations that have begun the process of chartering flights in order to evacuate their population.
The government of the United Kingdom has not published an estimate of the number of British residents now living in Israel.
The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), on the other hand, has urged residents to register their presence in order to facilitate the exchange of information, “including information to support you to leave the country.”
Travel to Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, and any other parts of the region is discouraged by the department of the federal government unless it is absolutely necessary.
If individuals go against the recommendation of the FCDO, their travel insurance policies could not be valid.
According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO), the British embassy in Tel Aviv will stay open and will continue to provide consular services to anyone who require assistance.