UK flight restrictions have been in place to protect British nationals against the risks of international travel during a pandemic. However, these are now being eased. The hope is that travel will soon begin to return to normal and we can all enjoy trips overseas again.
For up to date information about your trip, your travel provider should contact you to state if/when your flight can depart. They will also explain any alternative arrangements which need to be made.
Despite the coronavirus restrictions beginning to lift and international travel reopening, the situation will continue to evolve. You can make an informed decision to fly but make sure you base it upon advice from The Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
Whether travel is essential or not is down to your personal circumstances and if you do travel, Free Spirit can provide you with COVID-19 cover to do so.
When will flights restart?
The information below is correct at the time of publishing. However, always check in advance with your airline because this could change quickly.
- British Airways: Some are running already but no date is available for when more can resume.
- Easyjet: Some (mainly within the UK) are already running.
- Emirates: Some are already running.
- Jet2: Will restart from Wednesday 15th July.
- KLM: Will restart from Wednesday 15th July.
- Norwegian: Some European flights resumed on Wednesday 1st July.
- Qatar Airways: Some are already running, more will restart in July.
- Ryanair: Some are already running. 40% of flights resumed on Wednesday 1st July.
- Tui: Selected routes will restart from Saturday 11th July.
- Virgin Atlantic: Some long-haul flights from Heathrow will resume from Monday 20th July and 17 destinations will be added from August, which will fly from Heathrow or Manchester.
- Wizz Air: Has been gradually restarting selected routes since May.
Will I need to wear a mask when I fly?
Most airlines will stipulate that a face covering of some description will need to be worn. As for the particulars, please check with your airline well in advance. We have gathered the most recent advice from the main brands below as a starting point:
Are Face Masks Mandatory?
|British Airways||Yes - you must bring masks - one for every 4 hours of the journey|
|Easyjet||Yes - you must bring your own. If you do not have one, you will be unable to board.|
|Emirates||Yes - you must bring your own, although a hygiene kit will be provided on-board containing a spare one.|
|Jet2||Yes - you must bring masks - one for every 4 hours of the journey|
|KLM||Yes - you must bring your own|
|Norwegian||Yes - you must bring your own|
|Qatar Airways||Yes - you must bring your own, face shield will be provided and must be worn if travelling in economy class.|
|Ryanair||Yes - you must bring your own|
|Tui||Yes - you must bring your own - one for every 4 hours of the journey|
|Virgin Atlantic||Yes - masks provided by the crew as part of a health pack
|Wizz Air||Yes - you must bring your own|
UK Flight restrictions during the pandemic
What do I need to consider when flying during the coronavirus pandemic?
- Always plan ahead. Prepare for the possibility that flights will be disrupted, and read the travel restrictions of the country you intend to visit.
- Visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre – TravelHealthPro website – to research and keep up to date with the health risks of your chosen destination.
- Check the Gov UK foreign travel advice website, to see if your chosen destination has lifted its flight restrictions, which can be changed at any time and without warning. For real-time updates, follow the Worldwide Foreign Office social media account of the country you are going to.
- Check the validity of your travel insurance. You can download and read our policy in full here. However, cover will not be provided if you choose to travel to a country that the FCO advises against travelling to.
- While away, always follow the coronavirus travel rules. For instance, in Spain flight restrictions have been lifted for tourists. So if you do travel there, you will not have to go into quarantine on arrival but you will need to observe social distancing and obey hygiene regulations.
Are there international flight restrictions?
Restrictive measures have also been put in place to protect everyone at airports around the world.
What restrictive measures have been put in place at airports?
- Enhanced health screening at arrival and departure areas.
- Entry restrictions for people travelling from certain countries. For example, arrivals to some airports may be subject to a period of mandatory quarantine, depending on where they have travelled from.
- Stringent health, safety, hygiene and security measures at every step of the journey to protect everyone’s health (members of ABTA).
- The majority of airports will undergo enhanced cleaning and many may limit terminal access exclusively to those who have a ticket.
- The wearing of masks could be mandatory in many airports. Read our blog entitled: Will face masks be compulsory? For more detailed information.
On balance, there are some countries that have not been hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, all countries will be taking precautions at airports to ensure people keep safe and healthy. What is more, every country will be rightfully cautious against bringing in more cases of the disease for fear it will cause an outbreak.
COVID- Free Countries
At present, some countries have remained free from the coronavirus pandemic. In the future, some of these could be a perfect – and safe – holiday destination to bear in mind.
10 COVID-free countries:
- Kiribati, which sits 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii.
- The Marshall Islands, found in the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines.
- Micronesia, a country that compromises of more than 600 islands, spread across the Pacific Ocean.
- Nauru, a tiny island, 33 miles south of the Equator.
- Palau, an archipelago of 500 islands, in the western Pacific Ocean.
- Samoa, a country made up of two islands in Polynesia.
- The Solomon Islands, which are a member of the Commonwealth and found in the Pacific Ocean.
- Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom in the South Pacific.
- Tuvalu, in the South Pacific. An independent nation within the British Commonwealth.
- Vanuatu, which is found in the South Pacific Ocean.
Safe Tourism Certification Program
Turkey, another popular destination, has taken steps to make visitors feel safer by introducing a Safe Tourism Certification Program.
“Our new certification…covers preventive and protective steps for all aspects of the holiday experience. In order to obtain the certificate, all transportation and accommodation facilities must … take all precautions to provide a healthy holiday to guests.”
This is an example likely to be followed by other countries in the coming weeks.
In the UK, the government has suggested air bridges…
What is an air bridge?
Air bridges or travel corridors give people the opportunity to travel between two countries, without the need to go into quarantine on arrival or when returning to the UK.
However, the countries that the UK government will decide to link with are dependent upon the rate of cases per 100,000 in a country’s population. The Government also wants to link with countries, which have an active coronavirus test and trace system comparable to Britain’s.
Where are air bridges likely to be?
Remember that the usual UK flight restrictions regarding liquids, medications, and baggage allowance will still be in place.
If you do become ill overseas, in the first instance, seek care and support from the country you are in. Then when you are well, follow the countries flight restrictions with Covid-19 and travel rules to board your homeward journey safely.
On the other hand, if you want to holiday in the UK due to concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic, find out what you are covered for with our UK Holiday Insurance.
Please note that the information in this post relates to English regulations. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland there may be some differences to the details given above.