‘It is what it is’: Northamptonshire stag do fly to Portugal day after it joins Government’s amber list

The group has accepted the need for quarantine and are happy to continue with their plans. They are, however, shocked at the price of tests

A Northamptonshire stag do will jet off to Portugal today (June 9) despite the country being moved onto the Government’s amber list from yesterday (June 8).

The travel party, from Corby and Northampton, will fly to Lisbon from Luton at lunchtime, where they have an Airbnb booked just outside the capital city until Saturday (June 11).

Booked in August last year, the pals knew they were taking a risk, but hoped the celebrations would go off without a glitch, which was looking promising as the country was on the Government’s green list - whereby quarantine on return to the UK is not required - until very recently.

The stags will fly from Luton to Lisbon today (June 9).

Eleven stags were supposed to be on the trip, however five had to drop out when Portugal was moved to the amber list due to work commitments and not being able to quarantine on return.

The remaining six - including the groom who is due to get married in August - are all fortunate enough to be able to work from home and have the attitude of ‘it is what it is’, so have decided to go ahead with the trip despite the added financial hit due to the price of tests.

Sam Ando, one of the stag do guests, said: “We booked it back in August last year when we thought things were getting back to normal.

“As soon as it was announced that Portugal was to go on the amber list, we lost half the group as they can’t quarantine when we get back because of work.

“We have flights and accommodation booked separately and we were literally 24 hours too late to be able to get a refund on the accommodation.

“EasyJet has refunded those who can’t go so they haven’t lost all their money.

“The other half of the group have accepted they can’t quarantine and are keen for us guys to go so we don’t lose all our money.

“They would rather some people enjoy it and get away than none at all.

“We’re disappointed the rest of the group can’t join us, but it is what it is and we’ve had to do what we’ve had to do.”

The group had to pay for a test prior to departure and have also all opted for the more expensive ‘rapid release’ test on arrival back to the UK.

The ‘rapid release’ scheme means the stags will quarantine for five days on return and then take a test. If the test comes back negative, quarantine can end earlier than the ten day requirement.

Although the party were aware that there would be financial add-ons because of travelling at this time, Sam says the price jump is ‘ridiculous’ considering ‘the tests are basically the same as the NHS ones’, which everyone is allowed to order, for twice weekly testing, for free.

To begin with, the three-night trip cost only £300 including flights and accommodation. That price has now nearly doubled as the tests are costing each stag £240.

The 27-year-old added: “The prices are ridiculous and we feel ripped off by them.

“But it is what it is and after a stressful year the lads just want to get out there.

“If we can’t go anywhere while we’re there, we will just chill at the villa we have got.

“We will deal with it the best we can.”

The party’s return flight on Saturday (June 12) was also cancelled due to lower demand. They have, however, managed to book onto another flight home on the same day.

For the most part, they are relaxed and know what to expect, although Sam is conscious about the protocol once they arrive in Lisbon as they have not had much information about that.