Brit holidaymakers are detained for six days and DEPORTED from Tahiti under French travel ban on Brits… despite airline giving them green light to travel and official guidance that ‘didn’t make rules clear’
Steve Goode, 31, and his partner Charlotte, 29, said their holiday with their six-month old daughter turned into a nightmare when they landed on December 20 and were informed they were to be deported immediately from the island in French Polynesia.
Officials told them British travellers were not welcome in French colonies under France’s travel ban announced on December 16.
But Mr Goode has said he was not informed by the airline or French authorities, despite his family being issued with travel visas and allowed to board a flight to Tahiti from Los Angeles, where they stopped off on the way from London.
Speaking to the MailOnline after their ordeal, Mr Goode said he believes his family was caught up in a political row between Britain and France, with relations between the two nations deteriorating in recent months.
‘It was a complete and utter surprise when we landed,’ he said. ‘We made all reasonable steps. We got an ETIS (Visa) from the French, we got a negative PCR Covid-19 test, we got all of the necessary documents, we were approved to travel, the airline boarded us.
‘It’s the French-English situation – the French and British argument. We got stuck in the middle of this whole political (travel) ban that they’ve done,’ he said.
Mr Goode said after going through passport control, they were held in a small room for almost six hours with no air conditioning, and were allegedly refused food.
Despite having their six-month-old daughter Penelope with them, Mr Goode said there were no concessions given by the border guards that held them.
‘They were just horrendous,’ he said. ‘Awful. Especially as we’ve got a child as well, we thought there would be some form of concession.
‘We asked for food, they said no. A couple of other British nationals were with us and they asked as well – “no”. Then we asked for water and we got given this tiny cup with dirt at the bottom of it. It was tragic.’
The family had undergone a long journey to get to Tahiti – a Pacific island in French Polynesia that is one of France’s overseas territories, and 9,500 miles from London.
They flew 11 hours from London to Los Angeles on December 17, where they stayed for three days. A few days later, they then flew a further nine hours from Los Angeles to Tahiti, where they landed on December 20.