Flying after Coronavirus Lockdown: What You Need to Know Worried about Coronavirus and travel insurance? Find out more

Flying after coronavirus lockdown: What do you need to know?

Posted on July 2, 2020 by Kelly Edwards
Woman walking through airport wearing face mask

For the next few months, travel is likely to look a little different from what we’re used to. We’ll soon be able to go on holiday to some places, whereas other destinations will still be out of bounds.

Airports and airlines will also change the way they work to help keep us and their staff as safe as possible.

With the help of celebrity TV doctor, Dr Dawn Harper, we’ve explained some of these changes in this video:

It’s important that you’re aware of the changes to air travel before you set off so you’re prepared for your journey.

Where can you travel to?

Newspapers report that from 6 July 2020, the government is set to release the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice to allow travel to certain destinations.

Some countries will be announced as having an ‘air bridge’. This will mean that travel will be allowed between these countries without having to quarantine yourself for 14-days after travel.

A traffic light system is set to be introduced to help make it easier to understand the level of risk to travel to specific destinations.

Green: These are areas that will have air bridges, allowing travel without quarantine on return. These are areas where the FCO will have lifted travel restrictions where the risk is no greater than the UK.

Amber: Countries that are amber are set to have a greater number of COVID-19 cases than the UK, meaning that there could be a greater risk to travel to that place. But travel may still be possible. Here the FCO may have lifted travel restrictions, but you will still have to check these before travelling.

When arriving back to a place that is rated as ‘amber’ you will need to quarantine for 14-days on your return.

Red: Red countries will be those where FCO still advises against all or all but essential travel. This means that if you were to travel to these countries, your travel insurance policy would be invalid.

Follow government guidelines

The place you’re travelling to might be dealing with the coronavirus in a different way to the UK. It’s important to check with your destination’s government guidelines to understand what the restrictions are before you travel.

This might involve things like wearing a face mask when in public places. Some countries have introduced fines if this guidance is not followed.

Health declaration forms

Before you head off to the airport, you might need to complete a health declaration form that you’ll need to hand over either during boarding or on arrival at your destination.

It will be your responsibility to check the latest government policies and entry requirements for your destination before you travel or your might not be permitted entry.

Entering the airport

For the time being, only those that are travelling will be allowed to enter the airport. This is to reduce the number of people in the airport. So if you’re looking to wave somebody off, or pick them up on arrival, you won’t be able to do this for now.

The only exception to this is if you’re helping somebody to reach special assistance. In this case, only one extra person can enter the airport to help.

Going through security

Restrictions on liquids remain the same with the 100ml limit, so it’s still advised to have pre-sorted your items before you go through security.

The trays used for your baggage during security checks will be thoroughly cleaned and clear screens will be used during bag searches to protect passengers and staff.

Some airports, such as Manchester Airport have introduced free pre-booked security slots. Here you’ll enter a dedicated lane to help manage the flow of people through security, as it can cause a bottleneck of people at the best of times.

Special assistance

Special assistance in airports will still be available for those that need it. Wheelchairs will be thoroughly cleaned after each use and those assisting will be wearing protective clothing.

This will still need to be pre-booked through your airport.

Temperature checks

Most UK airports are trialling body screening temperature technology to check people’s temperate automatically.

If you have a temperature or symptoms of COVID-19, then you will be refused entry to the airport and won’t be able to fly. Even if you think you only have a cold, you won’t be able to fly if you have a temperature. Airports are advising that you check your temperature before you get to the airport to avoid disappointment.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, then government advice is to stay at home and self-isolate.

Face coverings

Anyone aged six or over will need to wear a face covering in the airport and on the aeroplane. You will likely be advised to take your own, but airports will have some available if you forget. As you’ll need to wear your face covering for an extended amount of time, it may be worthwhile buying your own to make sure it’s comfortable.

Airlines are advising that you change your face mask every four hours, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough for your complete journey.

You will be asked to remove your face mask for security checks but should only do so when asked.

If you can’t wear a face covering for medical reasons, then you should discuss this with your doctor and airline. They will be able to give you specific advice as to your next steps and any paperwork that you might need to take with you.

Keeping things clean

Airports will have installed hand sanitiser stations throughout the building to keep your hands clean. You may also wish to take your own hand sanitiser to use during your flight.

It’s advised that you use these hand sanitiser stations often as well as thoroughly washing your hands when you can.

As well as keeping your hands clean, airport staff will be regularly cleaning communal areas using advanced cleaning technology.

Touchless experience

Where possible, you might be asked to use airline apps and contactless payments to minimise contact between people.

If you take a water bottle with you to refill with water, then some airports like London Heathrow have also introduced hands free water stations to replace water fountains.

Airports are reporting that although most of their shops are currently closed, that they expect some of these to re-open for the summer months with protective screens and other social distancing measures in place. Check with your airport to see what shops and eateries will be open.

Social distancing

Where possible you’ll be asked to continue to social distance around the airport. To help, airports should have clear signage and may have introduced one way systems and changed their seating to help people distance while allowing families to still sit together.

Baggage

Carry on luggage restrictions may change depending on your airline and where you’re travelling to.

Airlines such as easyJet have said that you will need to stow your own cabin baggage and close the overhead lockers yourself. If you are travelling with larger luggage where you might struggle to do this, you might be encouraged by your airline to check these into the hold instead.

When it comes to reuniting with your luggage from the hold you’ll be asked again to maintain social distancing and to only remove your own luggage from the conveyor belt.

Air quality and cleanliness on the aircraft

Most aircrafts, including those used by Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2 and BA are fitted with advanced air filtration technology. This technology is also used in hospitals and filters the air for impurities throughout your journey.

Planes will be thoroughly disinfected every day and cleaned between flights. Most airlines have released information on their cleaning processes to help give you peace of mind over the cleanliness of the plane. If you’re concerned, you might feel more comfortable taking some disinfectant wipes with you to clean the area you’re using and the toilet before you use it.

Passports

If your passport is due to expire soon then Martin Lewis advises that you should renew it as soon as possible. This is because renewals may take longer at this time.

Also, with the current open travel rules between EU and the UK due to stop in 2021, then you might need at least six months remaining on your passport to gain entry to an EU destination in 2021.

When presenting your passport, it will need to be open on the correct page ready for airline staff to check.

You’ll also be asked to scan your own boarding pass to minimise contact.

In-flight services

Some in-flight services will be reduced from their usual offering and only contactless payment will be taken for these.

Where some in-flight menus are not currently available for short-haul flights, they will still be offering water.

The same restrictions on taking food with you apply, so you might be able to take your own food with you for the flight.

Toilets on planes

Queuing for the toilet on planes will not be allowed as there isn’t enough space to socially distance.

Instead, you might be asked to call your flight attendant who will let you know when you can leave your seat.

If you have medical problems and need to go to the toilet as a priority then you’ll need to make your flight attendants aware of this.

Will my holiday be covered by travel insurance?

In order for your travel insurance to protect you, you’ll need to be travelling to a place that the FCO have not advised against travel to. Your policy will only be valid if it’s safe for you to go.

For more information, see our latest guidance on how we’re helping people if their holiday is affected by coronavirus or find out more about buying a travel insurance policy that can cover coronavirus for medical emergencies and repatriation.

Kelly Edwards

by Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards is Staysure’s Content and SEO Manager. She’s known for a love of tea and shares data-driven and breaking travel news.