How to fly during a global pandemic
The summer holiday season is finally here – time for sun, sea, and sand! Even though we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, with many countries firmly shutting their borders to UK tourists, some popular destinations abroad remain open for business. Nevertheless, as you can probably guess, flying won’t be the same. From increased social distancing to hygiene measures, this Pacific Prime UK article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to fly during a global pandemic.
Step 1: Planning your trip abroad
Remember to check reputable sources for the most up-to-date information regarding entry requirements. It’s best to contact the embassy or consulate of the intended destination country, as you don’t want to end up booking a holiday only to find out you’ve got the wrong information!
Don’t overlook travel insurance either – in a time of great uncertainty, they can be a life-saver to have. In fact, some countries may even require that you have one. When choosing a suitable plan, do consider insurance coverage during COVID-19.
Step 2: Head to the airport on the day
If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms within the last week or if a close contact has symptoms, then you should cancel your trip. For information regarding symptoms and what to do next, check the NHS website.
While this is less than ideal circumstances, travelling with symptoms puts everyone else at risk and can result in a super-spreader situation. That’s essentially when one patient infects significantly more people than usual.
Step 3: At the airport and on the plane
Airports are a breeding ground for viruses – even when there isn’t a global pandemic to worry about. So you should live by the golden rule of avoiding as much contact with other people or things as possible.
Here are some things you can do at the airport:
- Check-in online so you don’t have to wait in long queues or interact with check-in staff.
- Travel to the airport alone, without anyone dropping you off. If they do come along, make sure they don’t go inside the airport building.
- Put all baggage in the hold, rather than bring it on the plane, to avoid crowding on the plane during boarding and disembarking.
- Follow the social distancing markers at the airport when it comes to seating, queuing, as well as entering shops.
- If possible, try not to wander around the airport.
- Avoid touching surfaces and use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Wear a face mask at all times – unless being asked to show your face for ID purposes by airport staff or immigration officers.
A note about face masks: Some people might be wary of them due to confusing messages from WHO, but the latest advice is that masks help curb the spread of the virus. Therefore, all individuals, including those without symptoms, are strongly urged to wear a face mask.
When on the plane, consider the following tips:
- Wear a face mask at all times. In fact, some airlines may not let you board without one.
- Sit at your seat as much as possible.
- Inform the cabin crew if you’re feeling ill or develop COVID-19 related symptoms. Agree to social distance on the plane, if they have such measures in place.
- Be prepared for some in-flight services like hot meals to be suspended, so make sure you eat before getting on the plane.
Step 4: Landing at your destination and during your trip
When you land in your destination country, you should follow all the advice and guidance of the local health authorities. If you’re visiting for a short trip, then chances are you picked a country that doesn’t require you to quarantine.
Furthermore, it’s always good to familiarise yourself with the healthcare system in the country and how to seek medical help in case you do get COVID-19 symptoms while abroad. You might also want to learn about the claims process if you have travel insurance. More on this below.
Step 5: Returning home to the UK
Unless you are flying in from somewhere other than the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or Ireland, you will need to fill out a form providing your journey and contact details. If you don’t comply, you may be fined up to GBP £100 or even more for repeat rule breakers.
There also may be quarantine requirements depending on where you’ve flown in from. This means staying at home or in your hotel room for 2 weeks. Get everything delivered to you and do not entertain visitors. Again, if you don’t comply you could be fined up to GBP £1,000.
Need travel insurance? Contact Pacific Prime
In the past, you might’ve got away with simply choosing the cheapest travel insurance policy. But with a global pandemic to deal with, this can no longer be your approach. When choosing a policy, you need to be clear about the terms.
Does it cover pandemics such as COVID-19? What are the exclusions? How easy is the claims process? Will the policy cover medical evacuations? These are just some of the things you should be considering.
The world of health insurance is often filled with jargon, so you can get in touch with Pacific Prime UK for clarification. As a global health insurance broker, with over two decades of experience, we know what we’re talking about.
Whether it’s travel insurance, or even international expat health insurance, we can assist you in securing a policy that suits your needs and budgets. Contact one of our friendly and helpful advisors today!
Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys travelling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
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