Tourists ‘caught out’ by long queues for Covid tests at Faro airport

Advice this week for any holidaymakers preparing for homeward journeys is ‘leave plenty of time for those return Covid tests required.’

People who don’t take up the RTA (Algarve tourism association) suggestion of using local labs ahead of their flights (click here) have been finding very long queues at Faro airport. These principally affect everyone from non-Schengen countries (ie UK).

SIC television news carried a report on Sunday evening describing queues of up to three hours long.

There were even accounts of some travellers missing homeward flights because the combination of queueing and waiting for the results of the tests meant they were not cleared for boarding in time.

Said SIC, it seems “many tourists” have missed the information put out by RTA giving the names, addresses and telephone numbers of testing laboratories all over the Algarve.

That lapse, combined with a heavy number of outgoing flights over the weekend meant that SEF inspectors “couldn’t cope” even though their own numbers had been increased just to be able to do so.

The message from this story is ‘contact a laboratory on the list of approved testing locations’ in good time (preferably when you first arrive for your holiday), and make an appointment for your test up to three days before departure. It could save a huge amount of bother.

UPDATE: We have since been contacted by a holidaymaker going back home on Saturday who tells us he “hasn’t been able to get a slot” at any of the testing centres close to where he is staying because they are all booked up. He is now having to try testing centres in different areas, and “is now really stressed”. This reinforces the message: tests need to be booked well in advance