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Couple’s £16,000 wedding in South Africa at risk after flights canceled without warning

A couple’s £16,000 wedding in South Africa hangs in the balance after their return flights were canceled without warning.

Jake Astley, 27, and his fiancee Jennifer Smith have had to rescheduled their wedding three times over two years due to the pandemic.

The couple are anxiously awaiting any update on lockdown and travel restrictions brought in because of the Omicron variant.

But with their outgoing flights still safe so far, the couple are confused why their return has suddenly been cancelled.

They have paid £16,000 in advance to their venue and are hoping it will reschedule the nuptials again if they cannot resolve the flight issue – but are concerned they may lose all the cash.

Just under 20 of their friends and family are also flying out, and many are booked onto the same flight and are yet to receive this update.

It comes after the Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, is spreading across the world, pushing countries such as the Netherlands to lockdown once again.

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Mr Astley told i: “Our wedding chaos all began in March 2020. I was going to fly a few days ahead of my fiancee to set things up for the wedding and was six days or so away from flying down to South Africa.”

He used to live in South Africa which is why the pair wanted to return back to the country for their big day.

“Shortly after, South Africa closed its borders and then we went into lockdown,” he explained.

The couple were “heartbroken” but rescheduled their wedding for the following April – exactly one year on from their original date.

Luck was not on their side and in December of that year the Delta variant – a highly transmissible strain of Covid-19 – spread rapidly throughout the UK and led to South Africa being put on the red list.

Many of their guests naturally could not deal with the 10-day hotel quarantine requirements needed to travel to South Africa for the event so they had to reschedule again.

“We spoke to our venue, once again, and they kindly let us move it to April 2022, which is still on the cards to happen.

“So far we can now get out to the wedding, but need to figure out a plan for getting back after this new set-back.”

It appears that some airlines have resumed flights to and from South Africa after a brief ban due to Omicron, making him feel that airlines are deciding to implement their own measures following a lack of guidance from the Government.

“It’s once again poor messaging from the Government and airlines responding with nervousness.”

What should have been a two-year engagement has now become four-years.

He added: “Every day, it seems to be moving goalposts and something else is thrown into the mix once we’ve got everything sorted. And that’s been the story for the last two years.”

Some names have been changed.


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