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British Airways Sent a Convoy of Planes Across The Atlantic to Beat Mexico ‘Red List’ Deadline By Just One Hour

British Airways Sent a Convoy of Planes Across The Atlantic to Beat Mexico ‘Red List’ Deadline By Just One Hour

Celebrations erupted in British Airways’ global operations control room close to Heathrow Airport early on Sunday morning after a convoy of planes successfully made their way back across the Atlantic from Mexico just before the ‘Red List’ travel ban came into force at 4 am.

Staff in the control room, which oversees BA’s worldwide operations around the clock all year long, were looking on nervously as the trio of planes made their way to London from Cancun and Mexico City with little time to spare.

The last flight to arrive, BA2202 from Cancun, landed at around 2:40 am – just over an hour before the travel ban came into force. If there had been any delay, all the passengers would have been thrown into hotel quarantine for 10-days and non-British citizens and residents could have been deported.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced he would be throwing Mexico onto the Red List late on Tuesday night, giving thousands of Brits just four days to scramble home or face a quarantine bill of £1,750 per person.

Some holidaymakers who had just set off on their dream trips found out their vacations had been ruined mid-flight. Shapps told them they would have to find their own way home using the few commercial flights that were still scheduled.

Brits who were caught up in the fiasco say there was zero indication that Mexico might be put on the Red List. The decision took holidaymakers and the travel industry by surprise.

Thankfully, British Airways decided to lay on extra flights to get customers home just in the nick of time. The last three flights to arrive before the travel ban came into force joined up in a convoy over the North Atlantic.

After accounting for British Airways Holidays customers, the airline advertised heavily discounted rescue fares. Seats on the last two flights were being sold for just £95 before tax.

In the run-up to the Sunday morning, British Airways said it had been “working through the night to arrange as many additional seats out of Mexico as possible to help get Britons home”.

“We would like to now help as many Britons as possible to get home to the UK, so we have introduced an emergency ‘rescue fare’ dropped to the lowest possible price to cover our costs,” a spokesperson for the airline explained.

British Airways flight BA2202 was originally scheduled to land at 9 am on Sunday but the departure was brought forward to escape the Red List rules. A flight from Mexico City had to be diverted from Heathrow to Gatwick in order to comply with a nighttime landing ban at the West London airport.

In a statement, the Department of Transport justified moving Mexico to the Red List saying that the so-called Lambda COVID-19 variant which was first described in Peru presented a “high public health risk to the UK”.

The Lambda variant is currently designated a ‘variant of interest’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). There is still much to learn about the Lambda variant but experts fear it could prove resistant to existing COVID-19 vaccines.

Photo Credit: Fasttailwind /

View Comments (5)
  • I was crew on the Mexico City – Gatwick flight. This flight was scheduled from the outset to land at Gatwick, rather than Heathrow.

    It was a pleasure to bring passengers back just before the deadline – as tiring as a minimum rest Mexico is 😂

  • Obviously not an airline from the US. It’d be a cold day in he11 before one of ours would offer rescue rates that low. More like added ” saving your @&&” , or a “haha Mexico is going on the red list, now we’re gonna rob you blind, and there ain’t s$#@ you can do about it” fee. Bunch of creeps.

  • Yet ba left me stranded with young children in jamaica?? Left me to sleep in departures with my kids for 8 days.. i was robbed and they knew yet i had to beg friends and family to raise 1800 so that i could fly home.. disgusting..

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