DONALD Trump’s European travel ban caused chaos on Thursday – as scrambling passengers paid as much as £16,000 for plane tickets to the US.
Airports were hit with “bedlam” after the US President announced a 30-day ban on travellers from 26 European countries – with the exception of the UK.
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US health chiefs have branded Europe the “new China” after 22,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed across the continent.
And the US president yesterday took the unprecedented step of suspending all flights from 26 European countries for next 30 days to try to stem the spread.
Trump said the EU “failed to take the same precautions” as the US before revealing the travel restrictions – which will go into effect on Friday at 12am.
And the announcement sparked travel chaos as travellers rushed on airports across Europe today to try to beat the ban.
Pictures show huge lines of masked passengers in Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.
It caused a mass panic.”
US student Anna Grace, 20
And the mayhem was fuelled by widespread confusion over when the ban will start, and who it will apply to.
Many were unsure what time zone the midnight deadline would be applied in.
Officials later clarified the ban would not apply to US citizens travelling home after visiting Europe – but many panicking Americans still appear to have descended on airports.
One traveller shared a clip of huge queues in Barcelona’s El Prat, writing: “Literally all American tourists and students in here fleeing Barcelona after Trump’s travel ban.”
“It caused a mass panic,” said 20-year-old Anna Grace, a US student at Suffolk University who was on her first trip to Europe and swiftly changed her booking to fly back home from Madrid Airport instead of going on to France.
The four friends travelling with her were not so lucky and could not re-book.
Grace added: “All our friends and family told us we had to come to the United States. We’ve been in the airport since 5am.”
And there are also concerns the ban could spark mayhem in British airports after the UK and Ireland were exempted.
Passengers hoping to dodge the restrictions could try to switch their flights to travel back via Britain, it is feared.
This approach would not work as the ban applies to all non-US citizens who have travelled to the 26 Schengen Area countries in the two weeks before their arrival.
But amid the confusion, it is feared many could still try their luck.
There has already been panic at UK airports as passengers arriving from the US before travelling on to European destinations landed to hear about the ban and simply flew home.
A source at one London airport told Sun Online: “It’s unprecedented. No one knows how it’s going to work. We have no idea and it’s unclear whose responsibility it is.
“We are starting to see Europeans travelling from the US with onward travel to banned areas landing in the UK and re-booking flights straight back.”
And there was mayhem in the US, where American travellers arriving to fly to Europe were left baffled about whether they should travel.