What you can expect from your first flight after lockdown
My row on the plane was full, as was most of the flight. Wearing a mask is compulsory: one passenger said he was exempt. A cabin crew member said they were carrying a list of passengers exempted from the requirement and that there was no one on the flight. He agreed to wear his mask. His group of travelers prepared for their trip by ordering mini-spirits.
These last two flights were quite different from my trip to Jersey from Southampton airport, before the ban on overseas travel was relaxed. I took off the last flight that day at 5:50 p.m.
As for returns: on return from outside the common travel area, passport control was relatively quick in both cases. It only took 10 minutes to cross on the way back to Gibraltar, with all the right documents at hand. Coming from Ibiza on Monday, a longer queue resulted in a wait of around 30 minutes. Again, when I reached the border force officer, the check – as well as going through the electronic gates – was complete in a minute. I noticed, however, that a man in front of me was filling out his form to locate passengers in the queue.
This is my experience, but what are the general rules you can expect, and will they change on July 19, when legal restrictions such as mask wearing and social distancing should be removed? Here we answer some of the most pressing questions.
Will the registration be different?
Yes, most destinations now require additional documents beyond your passport. Airlines will ask you to confirm that you have met these requirements when checking in (online or in person) and when you drop off your carry-on baggage, if you do so separately. As it is, you will also need to wear a face mask throughout the airport. The face covering rule applies to passengers aged 11 or over. You will probably be asked to lower it for security checks.
Social distancing measures are also in place at UK airports. You will be asked to follow the markings and may need to increase the space between you and other passengers.
However, at airports in England, rules could change at terminals after July 19, in line with government guidelines and restrictions.
The UK government is expected to give the final green light to replace legal restrictions with a personal judgment from July 19. This could relax the rules at British airports. However, transport operators and stores will be able to decide their own policies on the use of face masks, for example.
A Gatwick Airport spokesperson said: ‘We will ask passengers to follow the latest government guidelines, which we plan to release in the coming days. On board airplanes, it will be up to each airline to determine its own rules and restrictions. “
The decentralized British nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following their own plans to reduce restrictions.
Has the end of the Brexit transition period made a difference?
Yes, you may notice changes if you haven’t traveled to the EU since before December 31, 2021. The EU, for example, requires UK travelers to have at least three months of validity remaining on tickets. passports after the expected date of return home. (some UK government advice incorrectly suggests that it is six months).
Upon arrival in a UK member state with a UK passport, you will be directed to a separate queue for EU travelers’ passports. UK passports will likely be stamped upon arrival in an EU country.
What about security?
Aside from using face coverings and respecting social distancing, it’s really the same as it was before the pandemic.