Portugal was formally removed from the UK government’s quarantine-free green list at 4am on Tuesday morning (8 June).
The decision to place Portugal on the green list, first announced on 7 May, was hailed by travel as the first true sign of their being some light on the horizon after 15 dark months for the industry.
Portugal was added to the green list 10 days later on 17 May when the government lifted its restrictions on non-essential international travel, prompting the first significant round of holiday departures of the year.
TTG’s special projects editor Madeleine Barber took one of the first flights out of the country on 17 May, heading to the Portuguese island of Madeira with Tui to become one of the first to experience a Covid-era break.
She documented the new-look passenger journey, from home Covid test kit to making it through security and boarding before learning about the new safety measures in place in-resort. Additionally, she caught up with some of the first British holidaymakers to get away to assess whether holidays were worth the hassle.
However, less than three weeks after it was added to the green list, Grant Shapps last Thursday (3 June) confirmed Portugal would now be removed from the list, citing the increased threat posed to the UK’s vaccination programme and domestic unlock by new Covid-19 variants detected in Portugal.
The move prompted despair throughout the travel and aviation sectors; easyJet chief Johan Lundgren said it would effectively cut the UK off from the rest of the world, adding the government had torn up its own rule book.
Tui UK boss Andrew Flintham, meanwhile, accused the government of breaking its promise to the travel industry and consumers. British Airways said the decision was "incredibly disappointing and confusing".
From 4am on Tuesday (8 June), arrivals from Portugal will once again have to self-isolate at home for 10 days upon their return, and take PCR tests on days two and eight of their return.