The Daily Mail have been forced to retract claims made about flights and buses being “fully booked” with economic migrants from Romania and Bulgaria. As restrictions on workers from the EU accession countries were set to expire on 1 January, the paper ran a story headlined “Sold out! Flights and buses full as Romanians and Bulgarians head for the UK”.
The piece claimed:
- “Almost all flights from Romania to England are full”
- “one airline doubled the number [of flights] to meet demand”
- “one-way tickets are selling for up to £3,000”
But the paper has now been forced to issue a correction after readers were able to find plenty of tickets for flights and buses — using a little-known tool called “the internet”. Attempting to shift the blame to “local travel agents”, the paper states:
“We have since been made aware that some reasonably priced flights and seats on buses were available from Bucharest and Sofia at that time.”
An addendum to the original piece is even more fulsome, stating that “some readers were able to find a larger number of flights leaving Bucharest and Sofia at the beginning of January”.
And that airline “doubling” the number of flights to the UK?
“We are also happy to clarify that some of the additional flights were put in place before January 1.”
Trying to use business/first class tickets to suggest that economic migrants were paying “up to £3,000” to get to Britain was a particularly nice touch.
UPDATE: This was the leader column in their Sunday sister paper two days prior. “The truth”, eh?