With travel bans left, right and centre, it can be hard keeping up with the latest guidelines. The UK has currently shut its doors to many countries, but that doesn’t completely rule you out of flying. Boarding a plane is permitted if you have legal reasons to do so, such as work.
And while we’re not advocating that you jet off for any type of leisure – at least until the government gives the green light. Those who do need to travel for legal reasons might wonder how they can fly safely during Covid.
We’ve put this guide together detailing everything there is to know about travelling during Covid. Some of these stipulations will likely stay in place when travel opens up to everyone, too, so they will be valuable even if you’re stuck indoors like the rest of at the moment.
Plan well ahead of time time ⏱️
There isn’t one set worldwide rule for Covid, and each country has different regulations in place regarding international travel. Many countries have closed their borders to the UK, especially in the wake of new variants found on these shores.
Therefore, you should check your country of travel’s relationship with the UK as far as Covid is concerned. It’s also vital to understand the country’s rules around Covid, and whether you need to quarantine upon arrival. The UK did have travel corridors, but the government recently scrapped these.
Most countries also require a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours before travel. You’ll be able to find each country’s specific regulations using the Government’s official travel advice, which is frequently updated.
Staying safe at the airport 🛃
Regardless of specific regulations in each country, it’s worth taking a few general precautions to mitigate the risk of spreading Covid when at the airport. Below, we’ve compiled a list of handy things you can do while travelling during a pandemic.
Online check-ins 🌐
We’ve become a nation accustomed to online check-ins, and many airports were going down the do-it-yourself route of checking in for a holiday long before the pandemic. However, the importance of online check-ins has only heightened as a result of Covid. It’s a contactless and convenient method, meaning you can avoid dealing with other people directly.
Minimise your on-board luggage 🧳
Travelling light is the best option during Covid, as it minimises the risk of transmission. This is especially true for baggage, which you’re encouraged to check-in rather than take on the plane. It will also speed up boarding processes which are taking slightly longer as a result of social distancing.
Social contact rules 👋
Only the people flying should enter the airport where possible. If you’re travelling by yourself, that means entering alone or staying with other members of your household or support bubble if they’re flying with you.
Avoid surfaces 🚶♀️♀️
Avoid touching surfaces where possible while you’re in the airport. Of course, there will be times where it’s impossible to avoid contact altogether, so you should make a habit of regularly washing your hands and using hand sanitiser provided at the airports.
Waiting for your flight 🛫
While waiting for your flight, try and keep to one area, be it the airport lounge or general waiting sections. Doing so will help to avoid coming into contact with passengers on a different flight from yourself.
Face coverings at the airport 😷
All UK airports have made face masks mandatory while on their premises. That means you need to keep your mask on when checking in and boarding the plane, as well as throughout the entire flight unless you have a medical exemption.
On the plane ✈️
Planes are well ventilated to help spread the risk of transmission. Each airline also adheres to strict rules for passengers while you’re on board and in the sky. Before flying, check with the airline for their flying standards during Covid and expect some rules to align no matter who you’re flying with.
Face coverings during flight 😷
You will also be required to wear a mask while flying. There are, however, a few circumstances where it’s ok to remove your face covering, such as during food services (though some airlines on shorter trips may decide against offering a food menu). You can also remove your mask if you need to take medication or communicate with someone who relies on lip-reading.
Remain seated 💺
Not that you’ve got anywhere to go on the plane, but you should try and remain seated throughout the duration of the flight. Unless you need to use the bathroom or there is an urgent matter, staying seated while in the air is the safest way to fly.
Using the bathroom 🚽
Exercise caution when using the bathroom and wash your hands thoroughly. Airlines use rigorous cleaning methods and are ultra-hygienic when cleaning down planes, but you should still be mindful and wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds after using the bathroom.
Reaching your destination 🏝️
Upon arrival at your destination, you may be asked to fill out a travel form stating where you came from, how long you plan to stay for, and the reason for your visit. Some countries may also require you to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks before getting on with your daily activities.
Again, you should keep up to date with regulations in the country you’re visiting. Each one has its own set of stipulations for dealing with Covid and, while they’re all quite similar, there are small differences that may leave you confused if you’re unaware of them. For example, Italy requires you to wear a facemask outdoors, as well as inside.
Happy and safe travels 🗺️
Unless it’s essential, there’s no reason to travel right now. But if you do need to fly, make sure that you have all the relevant information to hand. And once we get the green light to jet away again, most of these provisions will be in place and you can ensure a safe and exciting trip the next time you venture abroad.