Officials working on bringing nearly 20,000 Britons home.
The British government, on Wednesday, made the decision to freeze all flights to and from Sharm el Sheikh, the resort town in which Saturday’s deadly Russian airliner crash originated. The decision comes as new reports point to an explosion and potential “terrorist bomb” as the cause, leaving nearly 20,00 Britons stranded in Egypt.
Rescue flights are planned to begin on Friday and according to the BBC, British Airways has confirmed they will be operating two. Prime Minister David Cameron is also holding talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at Downing Street. In the meantime, stranded travelers are left frustrated with little information on the ground and the fear of extra costs creeping in.
This morning, travel operator Thompson Holidays issued a statement clarifying what precautions will be taken in bringing customers back to the UK. "These flights will operate under special security measures mandated by the UK Government,” read the statement.
“Customers will not be able to bring any hold luggage with them on these flights. Only hand luggage can be brought on board and normal Thomson cabin baggage restrictions apply. All hold luggage will be returned to customers under separate secure cover arranged by the UK Government."
Some airlines like British Airways have stated that they will cover hotel accommodations for those who had planned on traveling with them, but others are left wondering whether their travel insurance will cover extra costs. Those looking to make it to the UK via alternative routes invalidate any travel coverage they may have as the Foreign Office is advising against all travel by air from the city.
Not only is the halt affecting those trying to get home. Egyptians are also left concerned, as tourism is a main stimulus of their economy. In response, Prime Minister Cameron and the government have issued their sympathy, but urge that they must put the safety of the British people fist.
John Scarpinato is the editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @jtscarpinato.