Travellers’ Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs) are being checked on arrival in the UK, transport secretary Grant Shapps insisted last week – despite several claims from the trade the system is not being enforced effectively.
In response to a question sent in to BBC Breakfast on Friday (21 August) by Sunvil managing director Chris Wright, Shapps said it was “not the case that nobody’s checking”.
He also said those failing to fill out the form could face criminal sanctions, adding fines had been issued – although he declined to say how many.
Thank you @TVNaga01 - Pushing for answers from Grant Shapps on the detail behind the Governments travel restrictions. Perhaps the home office can give you the information on how many have been checked. #SaveTravel https://t.co/UGa4fHhyb4 pic.twitter.com/YItU0DiF5L— Chris Wright (@ChrisStosWright) August 21, 2020
According to government guidelines, upon their arrival into the UK, passengers will be asked to show their form by Border Force officers scanning a QR code at the top of the document to check it has been filled out successfully.
Wright returned to the UK for a fifth time since lockdown eased last Thursday (20 August), telling TTG it was only on this occasion he was asked – for the first time – to show his PLF.
“The system is pointless and open to abuse,” he said. “The quarantine restrictions are having a devastating effect on our industry. If they are to continue, let’s at least ensure they are being done for a reason.”
TravelTime World agent Ashley Quint agreed, describing how “nobody was interested” in checking owner Jackie Steadman’s PLF when she recently returned from Portugal - and recalling similar instances when clients returned to the UK from Ireland, Turkey and Spain.
Kuoni boss Derek Jones also highlighted the issue on Twitter having returned last week from France with his family.
OK so we’ve all diligently filled out out our online quarantine forms and we’ve just passed through customs. Quick poll... who thinks we were asked to show them?— Derek Jones (@Degsy_DJ) August 19, 2020
CLUE: If you work in travel you probably already know the answer!