With the threatening rise of the Omicron variant, the British government decided to take action by reinstating mandatory PCR tests for travellers coming into the country. Unfortunately, several sources have found that holidaymakers have not been taking the new measure very seriously.
In fact, some have found a sneaky loophole that would help them save time and money.
Recycling booking codes
Before entering the country, vaccinated travellers must book and pay for a PCR test which is to be taken before day two of arrival. The booking reference number of the test is required to complete the mandatory passenger locator form. The whole process is not only considered to be cumbersome for holidaymakers, but can also be very expensive as PCR tests are currently priced between £45 to £120.
To skip out testing, travellers have discovered that they can use old booking reference codes on their locator forms. Not only can they use them multiple times, they can also give them to other people who need a code while travelling.
Taking advantage of the glitch
The i spoke to a British holidaymaker who admitted to using the loophole herself. She said that her decision was prompted by the poor service she received when she paid £150 for two PCR testson an earlier trip. She told the news agency:
The day two PCR test I paid for to fly back to the UK was farcical. It arrived in the post about two weeks after I got back and I got the results about another two weeks later.
While it is unclear how many people have been taking advantage of the bug in the system, BioGrad Diagnostics, who is in charge of distributing PCR tests, has confirmed that it is a problem and has already reported it to the government. Natalie Kenny, CEO of the company, said:
These people are about to get on airplane with loads of other people and have no intention of doing any testing.
In the UK, forging details on a passenger locator form is considered a criminal offence which could result in imprisonment.