Since the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe, many countries closed their borders to general travel. With the current wave of infection decreasing in most countries, the possibility of air travel is returning, and the UK Government has indicated that air bridges will soon be opening to countries with low levels of risk of infection. These countries include some of the regular holiday destinations abroad. The introduction of these air bridges has left many people wondering what to expect when flying during COVID-19 restrictions?

There is a need for the traveler to understand that the aviation industry has had to react in a similar way to other agencies and new ways of operating are in place. For European travelers these have recently advised in an industry document. As expected, there are some significant changes suggested in this document that will affect the traveller and some expectations to be made before arrival at the airport, whilst in-flight and upon arrival or in transit.  Read on to find out what to expect when flying during COVID-19 restrictions…

Before Departure

  • Travelers with symptoms are now discouraged not to attend the airport or attempt to fly
  • Social distancing is in place, at a distance of least 1.5 metres
  • Face masks are recommended to be worn at the airport by all travelers
  • More hand washing and santiser stations will be available
  • Thermal screening maybe used at entry into the terminal. This is a skin temperature check to be less than 38 degrees. This is not a positive test for COVID-19 but will result in a delay whilst a healthcare professional completes a further assessment
  • Only those who are travelling will be allowed to enter the terminal
  • It will be encouraged for passengers to check in before entry to the airport using online, mobile, or pre-printed boarding passes
  • Travelers should expect more self-service opportunities such as printing boarding passes, baggage tag kiosks, baggage drop, automatic scanners, and passport control
  • To reduce the amount of cabin luggage, travelers will be asked to place more luggage in the hold
  • Heating and ventilation will be adjusted to provide higher rates of air change in the terminal building
  • Specific information has been sent to each airline regarding minimum standards of cleaning and disinfection of aircraft for each flight
  • Each traveler will be required to make a declaration of acknowledgement and compliance to COVID-19 airline policy.

During Flight

  • COVID-19 infection material will be part of the inflight video and audio announcements
  • Policies will be designed by each airline to stop queuing in the aisles for toilets etc.
  • High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filters are to be used; these filters and retain the virus particles when cabin air is re-circulated
  • Airlines are advised there should be no duty free, and reduced sales of food and beverages
  • Airline food is likely to be prepacked and drinks will be supplied in cans
  • Cash payments are to be avoided


Upon Arrival or in Transit

  • At arrival or in transit, travelers will be expected to complete a Patient Locator Card to assist with contact tracing issued by public health.
  • For some countries, a 14-day quarantine period will remain before entry or return to the UK
  • The use of immunity certificates maybe required by some countries and these can include proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel. The Nomad Travel team have experienced of providing these at short notice.

Find out more about Nomad Travel’s PCR Test here.

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