Iberia refused to let me on the plane

So yesterday I should have been travelling from London, via Madrid to Mexico City. The trip has been ill fated from the start and I am sure I should just have given up several months ago.

  • After booking BA decided not to run flights on the day I was due to fly and rebooked me on to Iberia, via Madrid.
  • Earlier in the week Amsterdam closed to flights from the UK and as I should have started from there, I had to persuade BA to drop the segment from Amsterdam.

Fast forward to the day of travel. I checked the Iberia web site and citing IATA it confirmed that I could connect in Madrid. I made a quick call to Iberia who confirmed that ‘of course’ I could connect in Madrid.

Well, it appears that on the way to the airport the Spanish Government changed its mind. Despite knowing that I had a British Passport, Iberia made no effort to tell passengers before boarding started. We – those without Spanish passports or residency papers – were just told to queue until the end of boarding. Only after a bit did the staff tell us that this was because we were to be denied boarding. There were 15-20 people impacted by this, most with mobile boarding passes and trying to get to Mexico or Brazil.

The staff then had to be persuaded to off-load us from the flight so we could keep the value of our tickets. I spoke to Gold Guest List reservations and they confirmed that they could do nothing until IB changed the status of our bookings.

Navigating my way back to the Transfer Desk at T5, a helpful member of staff spoke to someone at reservations who kindly waived the change fee and rebooked me. I luckily had a BA (125) ticket.

Just for clarity, this is what Iberia’s web site says – at least for now:

a screenshot of a test results

So, looks like the rules remain in flux and that even the best laid checks don’t mean that you can actually fly.



  1. HOW annoying is that!!! So finally you did not travel? I am in Italy, made it just before all this mess. Now I am not sure how my return through France and the Eurotunnel will be on the 3rd January.

  2. I have no sympathy for this matter. Brits have been pretty much oblivious to COVID-19 and travelling as if nothing has changed and may well have triggered the return that started in Spain after it reopened to travelers in the summer. Was this trip urgent? Were you delivering special medical knowledge to actually work at a Mexican health centre? What purpose other than status points and a warm weather vacation was there to this trip. We should all be acting as if we are infected and could pass the virus to others until this is beaten down, even after getting the vaccine. STAY AT HOME!

    We know negative tests are often faulty and only measure active cases and not gestating ones. Stay home and defeat the virus on your island as other island nations have managed to do. The UK could have been like NZ, Australia, Taiwan or Singapore, among the many island nations that have kept COVID-19 at bay. Instead you Brits have been flying around the world while your own country has become a breeding ground for even more virulent strains of the virus.

    No county should let any UK resident in, even with quarantines or negative tests, until the virus is gone from your island!

  3. I have trouble summoning up any sympathy for anyone that chooses to travel during the time of Covid.

  4. So why the Spanish airlines like iberia still selling tickets if they are not going to allow to take the plane. Iberia is well know to break the low any time when they please..covid or not covid. Nothing to do with Brexit…covid and Brexit are excuses of Iberia.. thanks..

  5. The opinions expressed here show just how the complacency of people and bad governments go hand-in-hand to make a bad situation worse

    Look at what the Australian government did – they force their own citizens and residents to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when returning from abroad. Net effect? People don’t travel unless they absolutely need to, and life in Oz is pretty much back to the pre-covid normal

    Meanwhile in the UK, the government is giving their citizens/residents a free pass to go and spread their mutated strains of virus wherever they choose with nary a consequence once they return. Combine this with a Mexican government that puts the tourism business ahead of people’s lives by letting people from the UK in with no test or quarantine and what do you get? Mutation spreading between continents

    I only feel sorry for the people from other countries that could also get infected just by being in the same place at the wrong time, but hopefully the quarantine and test protocols of their governments will prevent a spread in those countries, and hopefully they show more decorum than the brexshiteers by putting off travel until it’s safe

  6. Exactly the same thing happened to me and they charged me a lot to book a new flight and refused to refund me.

  7. The rules change constantly so if you travel be prepared for anything. I booked a BA flight to Dublin from Zurich via Heathrow while I was in tje Airport with only two hours to go before the flight and it was still cancelled. The BA staff at the boarding gate said governments are changing the rules ever 10 minutes. That was back in April at the start of it. I lost about 6 flights so far this year but I book them knowing things can change. Right now I am in Catania Sicily. I wanted to go back to Ireland for Christmas but decided it wasn’t worth the risk plus I’d have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. I have stated using ferries to get around the Mediterranean between countries.

  8. If all you angry ” Stay at Home” people didn’t have a proper home or job in the UK but had just enough to escape to sunny, friendly, cheap, welcoming Mexico ——— do you mean to tell me that you would choose to stay and suffer in cold, dark, damp, miserable BREXITLAND?
    Do us all a favour and put a sock in it!
    Now, off to the beach, 28°, white squeaky sand, warm turquoise blue water, blue sky, full

  9. this is totally irresponsible to travel at this time. you have nerves to blame Iberia? I have no sympathy for you

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