COVID-19 has reached the far corners of the globe, meaning that travel is a very precarious subject right now.
However, there are a lot of things you can do to keep both yourself and others safe when you are flying to another country. Read our below travel guide to stay up to date.
1) Ensure You are Not Deemed a High Risk Passenger
Some people are considered at an increased risk for severe symptoms of the disease, and so this should be the first thing to investigate if you are planning to fly to another country.
The NHS Inform website has detailed information about shielding, including children and young people, and what you should do if you live with someone considered high risk.
2) Get the Latest Travel Advice Updates
Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for information on the country you are travelling to.
The FCO website is updated daily for travellers with the latest notices for each country regarding information on Coronavirus.
It is also advised that you subscribe to their mailing list, as they include a weekly bulletin with the country specific Travel Advisory Notices, meaning you are constantly in the loop with information on the country you are travelling to.
Travel Corridors between the UK and other Countries
The Coronavirus information page on the gov website lists all countries currently exempt from quarantine restrictions upon your return. This is updated regularly and is the best site to visit if you need to know more about countries that are currently included.
Due to national lockdown restrictions in parts of England, especially Tier 4 areas, travel out of the country will be restricted for genuine reasons only. These include travelling for work or medical emergencies.
Parts of Europe are also restricting travel from the UK due to the new strain that has been identified within the UK, meaning some holidays will now be cancelled until further notice.
New Coronavirus Airport Testing
A new Coronavirus test being offered at Heathrow Airport can guarantee results within an hour.
This test will be offered to passengers flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy and will be available in Terminals 2 and 5.
The test is known as a Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (Lamp) test. The airlines that are included in this new airport testing are Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
The test costs £80 and is one of the quickest ways to test in the UK at present. It is expected that this health screening will become another part of the airport experience and is beginning to make travelling abroad desirable once again.
From December 2020, Manchester Airport also introduced a new testing procedure. The main purpose of this test is to assist travellers in getting a negative test before travelling to their destination, as it is now commonplace for a negative test to be needed to enter certain countries.
This testing procedure should also decrease quarantine times, meaning you can make the most of your holiday now should you get a negative test.
The RT Lamp test is also available at Manchester Airport, meaning you can get your results as quickly as within 90 minutes. The Rapid Antigen test which takes around an hour is also available, but these quick result tests are strictly if you are travelling to certain countries.
It has recently been reported that France are banning the use of reusable face coverings and only disposable masks will be permitted for use when travelling. This is despite the majority of airlines deeming them safe. It is important that you only use disposable surgical masks if you are travelling to/from France.
The new rules in France are applicable to any persons over the age of 11 and MUST be worn on board an aircraft travelling to, from or within the national territory. Standard, single-use surgical masks are known as EN 14683. It is imperative that you use these types of face masks, instead of high protection white hospital masks or reusable cotton coverings, or you will be denied boarding.
3) Use the NHS Track & Trace System
At the end of September, the NHS Track & Trace System was introduced as a way of alerting customers that they may have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Units that are required to display Track and Trace posters have attached these to windows and doors which you MUST scan before entering. Using the app, you simply ‘check in’ to the shop you are entering and scan the barcode that is present.
This is a quick and easy way for customers to use this service and this is now mandatory under new government regulations so you must ensure you are checking in via the app.
In order to curtail the spread of COVID-19 further, some establishments within airports are offering food via WHSmiths and Boots only, and this won’t include alcohol, hot drinks or hot food.
There is also a curfew on certain shops within airports, wherein they have to abide by the 10pm and 5am closing period.
4) Invest in Essential Travel Insurance With Appropriate Cover
It is advised to take into account any hospital admission costs and check if they are factored into the policy, along with any equipment that may need to be used in the event you contract COVID-19.
Please bear in mind that different countries will have different ways of dealing with Coronavirus, and your travel insurance policy should be fully understood before you purchase.
Using Airport Parking Facilities
Manchester airport has recently increased the prices for an hour’s drop off parking to £12 in order to try and help them recover from the pandemic.
The new charges are as follows:
Up to five minutes: £5 (increased from £3)
Up to ten minutes: £6 (increased from £4)
Over ten minutes: £25 (no changes)
Up to 30 minutes: £6 (increased from £4.50)
Up to one hour: £12 (increased from £7)
Up to two hours: £15 (increased from £10)
Up to four hours: £20 (increased from £18)
Up to 24 hours and every 24 hours after: £55 (increased from £45)
Along with making sure you have essential travel insurance, you must ensure that any facilities you use at the airport are COVID secure.
Luckily, here at SkyparkSecure we have worked with a lot of our parking supplies to ensure all customers are safe when travelling.
All you have to do is look out for the COVID secure logo that is now included on each car park that is verified as having COVID secure procedures in place.
Here’s an example of what it looks like on our site in case you are still unsure! We have highlighted the COVID Secure logo with the red box.
5) Book a Low Contraction Risk Holiday
Ensure that the country you are travelling to has a low risk of COVID-19 contraction before you book.
The fitfortravel NHS website is an informative source and allows you to filter by country. To check your risk of exposure, click ‘alerts’ from the bulleted list.
The risks range from low to high.
If there is a low risk to exposure, you are free to proceed with your travel arrangements as planned.
If there is a moderate or high risk, you are advised to avoid non-essential travel to this country altogether.
6) Check Quarantine Procedures and Entry Restrictions
It is important that you understand the quarantine procedures and entry restrictions that are currently in place in the country you are planning to visit.
It is also important that you take into account any quarantine procedures you may have to comply with upon your return to the UK.
At the moment, there is a standard 14 day quarantine policy upon your return from certain countries and it is important that you adhere to these rules and regulations.
The FCO website has details of when and where quarantine measures should be adhered to, and a list of countries that are exempt from the 14 day quarantine rules upon your return to the UK.
If you are due to travel via taxi at your chosen destination, you should also consider any restrictions and rules regarding face coverings. Make sure to check before you travel, as you don’t want to be stuck at the airport without a way of getting to your hotel!
7) Physical Distancing and Hygiene Measures
It is important that you practice good hygiene when travelling abroad through the rest of 2020.
It has recently come to light that a few airlines are requiring passengers to be wearing surgical masks only. Therefore if you have a cotton mask, you could be denied boarding. This may vary from airline to airline and even country to country, so it is best to either check before travel, or invest in surgical masks when travelling.
Here are a few regular questions from customers:
A: Yes, hand sanitiser under 100ml can be taken through airport security within hand luggage as per usual security restrictions. Bottles containing hand sanitiser must be sealed, in a clear plastic bag, removed from your hand luggage and placed in a separate tray for screening.
Q. Can I take anti-bacterial wipes through security in hand luggage?
A: Yes. Anti-bacterial wipes are not classified as a liquid and therefore can be taken through airport security without having to be removed from the rest of your hand luggage.
Many flight operators now require travellers to wear a face covering during their flight.
A few examples of airline requirements also are:
Temperature checks after check-in and wearing a face mask is a requirement for you to board your flight.
They also ask you to keep your mask on after landing and until you have left the airport depending on the country you have travelled to and their requirements.
It is mandatory to wear a mask if you are flying with EasyJet.
You will be refused to board if you are not wearing a face covering.
This applies to children over 6 years of age.
The mask must also be worn at the boarding gate and throughout the entire flight.
EasyJet have also made customers aware of the 4-hour life span of a mask and encourages customers to bring enough replacements for the whole party who are travelling.
Any person who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons is exempt from wearing a mask but will have to bring a letter from a doctor stating this.
This airline has taken similar precautions as both EasyJet and Ryanair regarding face coverings.
The crew also favour any protective gear that customers may bring aboard the aircraft as extra measures along with a face covering.
TUI have ensured all of their procedures before, during and after flying are in line with new government measures.
They advise passengers replace face coverings every 4 hours. The airline also recommends that hand sanitiser is used before and after removing and replacing a face covering.
Again, passengers should bring spares for longer journeys.
The airline requires each passenger to adhere to the multiple safety requirements they have put in place for travel.
Enough masks to cover the journey should be brought for each person travelling in the party.
Masks are required at all times on BA flights and to assist customers, BA have invested in a personal protection pack. This contains hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes.
Any further enquiries, regarding meal service and the wearing of a face covering should be directed to your airline before you travel.
Other Hygiene Tips to Consider
Of course, two of the most important hygiene measures that should be taken are regularly washing hands and keeping at a 1-2 meter distance from others outside your household.
This includes after eating/drinking, after using the bathroom and after coughing/sneezing. It is important to note that you MUST NOT travel if you display any symptoms, including:
– Loss/change in taste or smell
– High temperature
– A new continuous cough
You must immediately isolate yourself and other members of your household. This also applies if you become unwell on your trip.
8) Returning Home
Any self-isolation measures that are currently in place by the UK government after travel to certain countries should be adhered to when you return home.
When you arrive back into the UK, you should avoid any public transport.
It is a good idea to pre-book your airport parking in order to make your journey as stress-free as possible.
However, if you do not drive, it is recommended that only members of your household should collect you from the airport.
You should also discuss with your employer if you are due to return back to work after travelling.
This may include you working from home where possible.
If you adhere to these rules whilst travelling, you should be good to go. Remember to stay safe and stay clean!