DC woman held in cell while traveling abroad amid COVID-19 crisis

Coronavirus has impacted travel well beyond the Fourth of July holiday especially for those looking to travel overseas. In fact, with travel restrictions in place some Americans are finding themselves not welcome in other countries.

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One woman shares her nightmare travel story exclusively with FOX 5.

"I don't know... they have me in a holding cell, they took all my (stuff), no one's speaking English and no one's telling me anything," said Alicia Lewis who is a resident of D.C. and Dubai.

Lewis posted images of the holding cell she was placed in in France at Charles De Gaulle airport June 21st. It was her layover as she was trying to get from Dubai to Greece.


"It was absolutely disgusting, there appeared to be feces on the wall, trash everywhere, dirty blankets...the irony is that I wasn't able to go through the airport cause of COVID, but they put me in this jail cell, with another person, that was close to me," said Lewis.

Lewis, a U.S. Citizen, says she was aware of the Europe travel restrictions for Americans, but had called the embassies, and checked with Air France several times about her layover.

"There's so much confusion with travel, airlines telling you one thing...different countries have different rules and regulations," said Lewis.

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After six hours in the holding cell, Lewis said they finally put her on the first plane to the U.S. which was NOT her destination.

"They didn't give me my passport back until I was off the plane, it made me feel like a criminal. The entire time, I felt like I was a criminal and I wasn't," said Lewis.

"If you're going through Europe to get to somewhere else, they are gonna put you in a holding area and that can happen in any country," said Illinois travel agent Carol Lekki with Carol Travel Service/ Frosch Company.

Lekki says traveling non-stop is the best option for going abroad. Destinations are limited though and restrictions vary she adds.

"Some of the destinations do have protocols in place such as you must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of your arrival to that destination," said Lekki.

Meanwhile, Lewis is back in Washington D.C. but she cannot return to Dubai. She now has a warning for other travelers:

"If you are going to travel, make sure that whatever country your connecting flight is, that you can actually get into that country, unless you'll have the same fate as myself," said Lewis.


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